Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wonder-Rachel has no office PC

I had to go into work today. My laptop got infected a few days ago. So today I appeared in the back corner/dungeon area occupied by our awesome IT Department. Steve spied me and asked how I was doing.

"I caught a virus" I told him.

He groaned but dutifully jumped right on my laptop and cleaned it right up - with all the typical IT awesomeness I mentioned before (Please don't confuse IT with GSD - they are both supposed to solve our technical difficulties here at work but the Global Service Desk doesn't do shit).

Anyway, still... I was just a teeny bit disappointed that when I said I caught a virus, he didn't make some crude joke about using protection. I would have - I'm so not PC.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Eight is Enough (not a smiley post)

I guess eight years is enough time to put a face on why I started hating Christmas. I could at least try to think about it in concrete terms for once. Especially since this year I've decided to stop hating it - today couldn't be a better day to say why I started.

First, in December of 2000 I moved to California. I had really stepped outside the church by this time - not just in little actions here & there, but in real thought and belief. Even after my affair, divorce, 2nd marriage & Dante's birth I still went to church pretty regularly I know, why the fuck would I bother at that point?. Maybe I was amazed & grateful that I hadn't been excommunicated after my affair with Michael. Maybe I felt some obligation to show that gratitude with further attendance. And for a long time I wasn't consciously aware yet how far off my beliefs were growing. When I went to California it was a severing. I didn't leave a forwarding address, I didn't contact my new ward, attend meetings, I was fully into my new job at that point and in CA the money was very different than in Seattle so I didn't need financial assistance from the church, even without Michael working - at all. So I very clearly walked away from the god of my girlhood days at that point. I've never taken to hypocrisy so it wouldn't be long before I started questioning the Christmas celebration & my place in it anyway.

And now the subconscious correlation of a seemingly unrelated event: Scotty, my step-dad, died eight years ago today. Which is probably the second reason I don't like Christmas much. To add to it, he loved Christmas like no one I know. He was the only parent I knew who was awake before his kids on Christmas morning & wanting to get us to the presents ASAP.

In the late 90s my family (Mom, Scotty, Jesse & I) lived in Seattle, but eventually everyone moved away: Mom was in Indiana. Jesse was in Missouri. Dad, Ramona & Kristiina were still here in Utah where I was NOT returning. Then Scotty went to California to help his sister with Betty-Grandma in 98 and I was the last one left in WA for two years. Michael, Dante & I moved to Ventura, CA on December 12, 2000 where his parents lived - 100 miles from where Scotty had moved to Westminster - just 17 days before he died.

It was unreal. I dropped the phone and walked away after my mom told me he was dead and locked myself in the bathroom. I didn't even hang up the call. I think I didn't want to acknowledge the call had even happened. It still doesn't seem real sometimes. Even a little over two years ago when I found out I was pregnant with Noah - there was a moment where my impulse was - call Scotty. He'll be so excited. It's happened a lot over the years. You get the impulse to call. Then - a couple seconds delay - then Oh yes, he's dead. And it hurts all over again. And no amount of better-place or see-him-again or he's-with-us-in-spirit or remember-the-good-times bullshit can make the pain of loss of a parent feel any better. Even eight years later. So maybe that's part of why I don't get super-excited at Christmas time.

But I'm done hating Christmas, and I'll celebrate along with everyone else. It may not be on December 25th, since Dante is always with his dad that day, but at least I promise not to try to kill Santa anymore. Maybe now that I know why I hate it so much , I'll be able to separate that event from the holiday that falls so close.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Red & Green Xmas Survey

A few weeks ago I had begun to author an entertaining post about my decision to finally murder Santa. It went along the lines of my usual Christmas rant: I'm not Christian, I certainly don't want to celebrate the commercial aspect of the holiday... thus, exactly what am I celebrating? Anyone who knows me has heard me complain about my personal/religious/family/community conflicts surrounding the holidays. Well Anthony and I had a very intellectual and enlightened discussion about the whole thing and decided we wouldn't teach Noah about Santa. Dante is so close to figuring it all out anyway I figure now was the perfect year to murder Santa.

Then Noah learned two new words this week: Claus and Ho-Ho-Ho-Ho!

Fuck. Fine. So now I'm resigned to diving headlong into the Santa/baking/giving/celebrating aspect of the holidays foreverafter. And in my attempts to resurrect Santa and the spirit of xmas in my life, I have set a few tasks for myself. The first two are the obvious ones...

PUT UP THE TREE We have little ones, this is a necessity - so we have a tree now and it's very pretty.

BUY & WRAP PRESENTS FOR THE KIDS. Okay so that's pretty much done.
DO SOME XMAS BAKING. This helps me feel like there are some redeeming aspects of the holidays that even I, the heathen, can celebrate. I've done a bit. Hubby has been a big help. And likely I'll crank out a billion cookies after Dante leaves for CA. But this year I won't be able to send any baking with him. Not enough time. I wish I had pictures of the hot cran-apple tartlets I gave to family last night but oh well. Here are the apple-pie tartlets I made last week - good stuff!


If you feel so inclined, gimme your own responses to any of the questions below, or paste the whole damn thing into the comments section & tell me all about yourself! lol I got this from my mom and my husband so I guess it's my turn...

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. It takes longer, but I think it looks nicer.
2. Real tree or Artificial? We have an artificial tree we've set up each year, but I do like the smell of real trees.
3. When do you put up the tree? after December 1.
4. When do you take the tree down? A couple of days after we all open our presents. (That's never on Christmas for us - sometimes it's the first week of January. This year, December 22 but we'll likely leave the tree up till after Dante gets back on January 5!)
5. Do you like eggnog? Grocery store eggnog, yes.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Hands down it was the My Little Pony Dream Castle.
7. Hardest person to buy for? Anthony
8. Easiest person to buy for? Dante
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Nope. My own little babies mean more to me than that one, no offense.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Neither. I'm terrible. I'm considering a yearly card in March since xmas means nothing to me but March is when we have all our own birthdays.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Geez I've been trying to come up with an answer to this one for days! Finally I realized I don't really have any memorable least favorite gifts! If someone cares enough to give me a fucking present, I'm damn happy to get it! That's just me.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? A Christmas Story of course! "Fra-Gee-Lay! ...must be Italian!"
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? When the money comes in!
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Oh yeah. Gift exchanges are great for that!
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?Pot-roast, rolls & gravy!
16. Lights on your house/apartment? No lights! We've had enough broken bones thanks!
17. Favorite Christmas song? I know I know - I rail against all the CHRISTmas stuff and wonder why I celebrate since I'm not Christian, but I like Still, Still, Still and I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay at home!
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Let's see... You know Candy & Brandy & Lyric & Bunny... Destiny, Kendal & Dylan & Honey... Wait, sorry, those aren't the reindeer!
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star. Angels are kind of too over the top & fluffy-foo-foo.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Whenever the fuck I feel like it! Or whenever fits in with Dante's trip to see his dad.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? All the traffic, wasted ad newspaper & needless consumption.
23. 3 Favorite ornaments? The painted puzzle piece picture frame of Dante that he made in 1st grade, Two red eggs Anthony & I got at the Bennett Grown Grand-children's xmas party and all the bows I made myself.
24. Does your tree have a theme or color? Yes it has two and it alternates each year which one it wears. This year it's in orange & gold tones. Next year, like last year, it will be in Pink. It's beautiful.
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? A hand-steamer or a pole for the playroom!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Let the feats of strength begin!

Festivus is here and the feats of strength have begun. Lately Noah does this thing where he gets into the kitchen pantry & begins pulling all our large Costco size bottles off of the bottom shelf and bringing them to us somewhere else in the house, one by one. This is no small job for a toddler of not-yet-two-years! Anthony said several nights ago: "Yeah, start hauling the bottle of Canola Oil around and then I'll be impressed kid." That's why I snapped a picture of the Feats of Strength collection that took place the very next day while he was at work. Since this picture was taken he has added two more items to his Feats of Strength: Two full 3lb jars of Jif Super Chunk peanut butter. He's a little go-getter. HAPPY FESTIVUS!

Image Hosting by

Monday, December 15, 2008

Waiting at the Window

I come from a huge family of Utah Bennetts. When I was a little girl my great grandpa Bennett was still the head of the family and each year at Christmas time there was a huge family party held at McCune Mansion. My grandpa was one of several siblings - the third son of Harold & Emily Bennett. He and my grandma had 8 kids of their own, and his brothers and sisters all had similarly large families. At this time aunts & uncles were adding cousins to my family all the time. The party was huge every year. I remember running all over that mansion, hiding and playing games, causing mischief. We had fancy dinners & wonderful programs there each year. The whole family is very talented, very outspoken and very desirous of the limelight. It was always a boisterous event. And at the end of the night Great Grandpa would always sing a few songs. When Great-Grandpa went on his mission to England in 1919 he brought home 4 song books by A A Milne, all of which are now out of print. The songs were all about Christopher Robin (which I think was A A Milne's sons name) and Great Grandpa sang them to his children as they grew up. Grandpa sang them to my mom and sometimes she'd sing them to us. But really the memories I have are of Great Grandpa Bennett singing them to us at the Bennett family Christmas party. My favorite was Waiting at the Window - a song about two drops of rain. The direction at the beginning of the music isn't legato or andante etc, it tells the performer "fast or slow - depending on which drop is winning" lol
Saturday night me & my cousins gathered at my Grandpa Bennett's house for their third annual Grown Grand children's Christmas party. Grandpa calls himself an actor who sings, not a singer who acts. And each year he has prepared a reading. Last year it was The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (One of Seuss's few non-rhyming and oldest stories as well as Grandpas favorite). This year he had selected some poetry & I started thinking about Great Grandpa's Christopher Robin songs.
"Grandpa, can you sing?" I asked after he'd finished the poems. I told him I very much miss the song about the two drops of rain. A lot of my younger cousins looked at me like I was smoking crack. But the older ones all nodded smiling & Grandpa went to find the old tattered music book to be sure he got the words just right.
He sand Waiting at the Window and Vespers. I cried just a teeny bit. It was great. Then I kicked myself all the way home for not pulling out my camera and recording the little ditties for YouTube. I'm an idiot. But here is the poem by A A Milne for anyone interested. I wish I could post the song.


by A.A. Milne

These are my two drops of rain
Waiting on the window-pane.
I am waiting here to see
Which the winning one will be.

Both of them have different names.
One is John and one is James.
All the best and all the worst
Comes from which of them is first.

James has just begun to ooze.
He's the one I want to lose.
John is waiting to begin.
He's the one I want to win.

James is going slowly on.
Something sort of sticks to John.
John is moving off at last.
James is going pretty fast.

John is rushing down the pane.
James is going slow again.
James has met a sort of smear.
John is getting very near.

Is he going fast enough?
(James has found a piece of fluff.)
John has quickly hurried by.
(James was talking to a fly.)

John is there, and John has won!
Look! I told you! Here's the sun!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bitches go down

Real Instant Message sent into my team chat room tonight, by me:
I don't usually work tonight but I always get emails that system maintenance happens Thursdays and our work tools go down.

[10:22:00 PM] Rachel says: So is this bitch gonna go down on me tonight?
[10:22:13 PM] Rachel says: The tool I mean.
[10:22:19 PM] Jake says: haha
[10:22:36 PM] Rachel says: Oh! sorry, wrong window!
[10:22:52 PM] Jake says: (rofl)
[10:24:46 PM] Jane says: LMAO

Meanwhile in the next room (or rather the window I meant to say that in):

[10:23:16 PM] Rachel says: I'm laughing so fucking hard I'm crying.
[10:23:35 PM] Rachel says: wow that was... embarrassing.
[10:23:41 PM] Maximo says: lol, what?
[10:23:45 PM] Rachel says: look in team chat.
[10:24:07 PM] Maximo says: lmfao
[10:24:18 PM] Maximo says: that's the best ever
[10:25:03 PM] Maximo says: wow
[10:25:23 PM] Maximo says: that is so awesome
[10:25:46 PM] Maximo says: my head is hurting, Rachel
[10:26:41 PM] Rachel says: I hadn't noticed it was the wrong window yet. If Jake hadn't said haha, I probably would have cracked some joke about you asking yourself the same question.
[10:27:56 PM] Maximo says: I don't think I can work the rest of the night. I seriously think I might just sit here.

Wow. I don't know what more I could possibly say to top the genius that is spontaneous-me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Why I Hate The Snow - Episode 2

I'm one of the lucky ones. I get to work from home 9 out of every 10 shifts. Twice a month I have to go in to the office. And since I work a swing shift and my bosses are off and heading home by the time I've been there a while, I can usually drive home on my lunch break and finish the night here. So even then I still get to work the second half of my shift in PJs and then endure a ten second hallway commute to roll into bed. Ah, the good life. My window scraper has probably been used less than a dozen times since I started working from home over two years ago.

My wonderful husband is not so lucky. He gets up early every day and leaves at 7:30am to drive into the office. Then at 5pm he jumps into that commuter mess and heads home in time to see me already working and spend the rest of night playing Mr Mom while I watch & comment, confined to my office in the loft. Yep, he's an incredible man. And now that it's cold and snowy, he deserves to park his car in our garage. I mean, we've got one, why not use it for at least one of our cars? No one can fault a man for not wanting to leave his car out in this nasty weather to risk powder burial every night. But it does put me in mind of my second why I hate the snow experience of the year...

Why I Hate The Snow: The loud garage door directly under the boys' room wakes up Noah the minute his dad leaves for work in the morning and my sleep goes from seven hours down to six.

Why I Hate The Snow (the first)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Faithless Fuckers

Last week my husband and I were indulging in a little late night DVR. Our two favorite shows are Dexter & Californication: We record them on Sunday night & watch them on Thursday night. I look forward to 9:30pm all day long lemme tell ya.

So last week both my two favorite shows busted out my favorite word.


Yep. I know. Powerful huh? So powerful, sometimes it just needs it's own line.

When I was three or four years old I had picked up this new word and decided I was going to teach it to all the little kids in the area. It was fucker. Specifically fucker. Not fuck or fucked or fucking. Fucker. Specifically. It's one of those very few very early memories I can still see clearly in my mind. I remember creeping my tiny 2 foot something tall body quietly past the enormous bathroom door as my huge mommy curled her hair far away up in the air. I remember trying to be very quiet. I remember getting to the porch and feeling relief. I don't really remember gathering the neighborhood kids around me. That stuff wasn't nearly as exciting and tension filled as making it outside. Anyway of course my mom heard it all from her spot in front of the bathroom mirror. That tiny little house on Jefferson Street probably wasn't more than 750 square feet total. So no matter how long the hallway past my mom seemed in my short-legged little three-year-old memories, the bathroom could not have been very far from the porch.

So back to the television appearance of my favorite word...

Dexter is having a hell of a time trying to figure out what to do with the unwanted partner-in-crime he's found in ADA Miguel Prado. Meanwhile Miguel's wife has decided he must be cheating on her. So while he's trying to cover his tracks with Lieutenant LaGuerta, Sylvia shows up and assumes he's cheating with his old flame Maria. They confront on the lawn and Sylvia screams Fucker!! I agree. Even if he wasn't really cheating on you. I mean, come on people. Is his being there to cover up a murder any better?

And this week on Californication Hank walked in on a tender little tete-a-tete between his flame Karen & his slimy buddy Ashby. Fucker!! he shouts. And then proceeds to wreck the apartment as he chases the offender down.

All very entertaining. I was giddy to hear my specifically favorite swear word prominently showcased in both my favorite programs. I was also interested to observe that both uses were in love-triangle instances. I suppose love and sex bring out our most animalistic tendencies and words.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

And for a moment I shall beat a dead horse...

So if you've been reading a while you may remember a post I wrote, My Letter to Voters, back in October. It was inspired by a post a friend of mine sent around to pray every night at 6pm (pacific) about the presidential election. It wasn't directly about Prop 8 like some of my later posts were, but as time went on, my communication with my friend centered more & more around Prop 8 than around the election. I think she took a much more Gods-Will-Be-Done stance on the presidential race and didn't say much. But she was very clear about her support for Prop 8 for the duration (she lives in CA), and it was clear she assumed she KNEW Gods will and it was fully in favor of banning gay marriage, without question.

Her MySpace page was full of YouTube clips and anecdotes about the evils of Gay Marriage lessons in schools for weeks. I can understand where this was coming from. She's highly religious, faithful, a mother to small children... I get it. It bothered me that she was being so closed-minded and, I felt, actively discriminating. But at some point you have to agree to disagree. So it goes, if we can be reasonable people we can let go of differences and remain friends with people we have so little in common with. After the election she posted some praise god notes about how marriage was saved and god was victorious etc etc.

Two days ago she posted another story. It was titled "What do you mean WE?!" and went on to tell a story of her pastor. He was driving one evening and saw a remaining Prop 8 yard sign and said "Thank you God, we won." And God responded "What do you mean WE?! From my point of view, it was all you." He goes on to explain that God pointed out how everyone was so focused on protecting the children, no one considered the hate & pain they were spreading and all the Gays who were now hurting because of their actions. She wrapped it up by saying how this struck her and she wanted everyone to go out and listen and pray with and care for another fellow child of God, and let them know you care about their pain.

I wanted to light myself on fire.

What have I been trying to tell you for WEEKS?!?!?!

Two things come to mind:

1-How nice of you to say effectually "Okay, now that I've won and my own interests are safe, I can safely (& uselessly) sympathize with your plight."

2-You just thought of the pain you might be causing other people NOW?! YOUR OWN FUCKING BROTHER IS GAY! AND YOU JUST THOUGHT OF IT NOW?!"

Wow. I just can hardly believe the obliviousness of some people. After previous related posts I emailed my friend and let her know I had posted something, would like for her to read it and hoped she would understand my position as well. She even commented some, though I didn't change her mind obviously. Anyway, today I won't bother linking her to my blog. No sense in letting her know how asinine I think that whole post was, or how I'm seriously in danger of spontaneous combustion due to a lack of logic employed by some people these days.

Related Posts:
My Letter to Voters Posted Mid October
No on Prop 8 Posted late October
In the wake of Prop 8 Posted early November

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Well they've got us by the balls now

Quote me on that.

I thought the moment called for some profound words. I was perusing our take-home copy of my first-ever home purchase loan. Looking at my own loopy signature there on the pages so many pages, those were the profound words. If I hadn't been on the phone with my sister at the moment Anthony handed the packet to me, it likely would have gone more like this: Well those fuckers got us by the balls now.

Don't get me wrong, I'm very excited. Happy to have our house back - to have the house back in our names (and mine actually on it this time around)! Happy, despite the fact that with property values in UT finally dipping like the rest of the country, we'll likely be upside down on our loan soon enough. Happy despite the dripping water heater and the fridge that can't keep a bulb lit I should have RC Willey on speed dial with how many appliances have given out & will go out in the near future at our house. I'm happy that the threadbare carpet, dingy paint and bare wood stairs are mine. All our half-finished home improvement projects might actually find a bit more inspiration coming from me in the months ahead now that it all belongs to me again.

What a strange and mixed emotion is owning a home. But to be sure, the phrase applies: They've got us by the balls now.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Feast with the Beasts - our Thanksgiving day at Hogle Zoo

Thanksgiving day dawned gray and wet, but we had a date for a Feast with the Beasts so we bundled up and headed to Noah's favorite place: Hogle Zoo!
Image Hosting by
There, we met up with my Dad who delivered to us my cutie niece Meghan - we were without Dante (in CA again) and she was boarding with my parents for a week while my sister & her husband went on a cruise (poor suckers - Fun & sun... but no Pumpkin Stomp!) and my two other nieces stayed with a different grandma, so we thought we'd drag her along with us. I think she loved it.
Image Hosting by
So armed with umbellas, we headed for the elephant habitat, where they were said to be stomping pumkins at 10am sharp. And they were...
Image Hosting by
Apparently this is yummy stuff for elephants cuz they chowed down!
Image Hosting by
Next stop: the great apes - for yummy Thanksgiving pie (well, I didn't taste it but I'm sure it was delicious)!
Image Hosting by
And this curious little monkey got a paper mache turkey
Image Hosting by
He wasn't sure what to make of it at first. He snuck up, took a swing at the mysterious object and jumped back as it rolled off the pedestal.
Image Hosting by
Then he quickly reached inside and yanked out some chopped veggies to munch on.
Image Hosting by
Meghan was squeeling with delight over the little monkey while Noah was staring in awe of the huge orangutan in the next habitat. She was getting her own thanksgiving treats and impressing the crowd with her strength by shaking her climbing tree with all her might.
Image Hosting by
And on our way by, Meghan & I still got a peek at the orangutan.
Image Hosting by
The rhinos are always a favorite but they never seem to be close enough to get a good look at them (see Zebra shot below)!
Image Hosting by
But we got lucky on Thanksgiving and both Noah and Meghan were happy to see them munching hay so close to the observation window.
Image Hosting by
Noah even gave an excited squeely "why-wo!" to impress us.
Both mountain lions were up and pacing. I was sad Dante wasn't there to see them. They're his favorite.
Image Hosting by
Up at the Asian Highlands habitat the tigers were getting pumpkins too.
Image Hosting by
And it was SO crowded at this point, we didn't get any more pictures of the cats! But Noah managed to spend a fair amount of time with his favorite big cats:
Image Hosting by

Image Hosting by
The statues. Hehehee

Some other favorites we saw:
The giraffes,
Image Hosting by

Image Hosting by
a grassy-ass black bear,
Image Hosting by
and the aforementioned shy zebras.
Image Hosting by
A favorite we did NOT see: The Red Panda. My favorite and so shy! But it was getting cold & windy so we decided we'd had our fill. We hit the Conservation Carousel and then headed back to my parents for some turkey dinner of our own!
Image Hosting by

Image Hosting by

Happy Thanksgiving!
Image Hosting by