Dear Ethan: Happy Unniversary!

We’ve had a hard time these last couple of days. Gave plasma. Argued with former management about a security deposit. And then another security deposit. Still waiting for current management to send word about the new, non-exploding oven. Studied a ton. Said goodbye to a brother (and brother-in-law) going on a mission. Broke a kitchen tile. Found some termites and a mouse. Missed an exam. And, generally, got a little frustrated with the whole thing. (And by “the whole thing,” I mean most of this paragraph.) But we’ve also done some singing about Bolsheviks, cooking of pineapple-upside-down-cake, and game-playing with family. It’s been easier, because we’re together, and we’re happy about that.

So this post is dedicated to making my husband smile. Ethan, here are some things I think you’ll like:


This sandcastle.



This chocolate milk, that you bought me way back when.


My brother, drinking with his forehead.




Me, in wedding dress, et. al.


This baby’s face.


This man’s face.


This dog’s face.


The Kraken.


This man’s pants.


Grandpa Frank, posing like he owns the place. (And Grandma Jan, perfectly fine with it.)


The human bubblegum machine.


The classiest joke ever told.


This baby’s face.


This concept, and its incredible marketability in Provo.


This picture of my dad and his friends.


Teddy Roosevelt.


Last but not least, this baby’s face. Happy Wednesday, sir!


Lessons Learned: Freshman vs. Senior Year

Lessons learned from my freshman year of college, 2007-8:

  • Thirty dollars is all in how you spend it.
  • You can buy a lot of black beans with thirty dollars.
  • If you don’t like someone, don’t let them eat your bread; once you feed them, they’ll never go away.
  • Manbrownies don’t taste as good as regular brownies, but most women still prefer them. Maybe we just like the attention. Or maybe it’s the convenience. In some cases, maybe we just like the men who make them.
  • Men’s soap is cheaper than women’s soap.
  • Men’s razors are cheaper than women’s razors.
  • Men’s pants are cheaper than women’s pants.
  • Men’s pants don’t fit me.
  • Poltergeists bring brownies. Men also bring brownies. By deductive reasoning, then, men are poltergeists.
  • The words “you did what?” usually indicate a flagrant breach in social etiquette.
  • 3-person dates aren’t really much fun.
  • 4- or 6-person dates, however, are a blast.
  • Masked men, though dashing, are seldom to be trusted.
  • Cameras are never present when you need them.
  • If your door rattles during the night, you can wedge your roommate’s shoe against it to keep it still.
  • Hillary can condense an entire truckload of junk into six square feet beneath her bed.
  • Nine blankets in wintertime are not enough.
  • You never realize God is carrying you until He puts you down and you see how far you’ve come.
  • I can go exactly three days without Matchbox Twenty.
  • Ancient Romans had a brilliant language. Don’t ever learn it.
  • Some TAs will give you extra points on an essay for knowing the names of obscure alcohols.
  • Missionaries may write their mothers, but they never tell them anything.
  • Chewing annoys me. Reading over my shoulder annoys me. Both, apparently, incites homicidal tendencies.
  • Constant movie quotes, on the other hand, are perfectly acceptable, as is hysterical laughter.
  • Jenna and I were squirrels in a former life. Phoenix-squirrels. Tshaiga, I call them. If you can pronounce the word “chmig’pa,” you might be one, too.
  • Rochelle’s hiccups are violent.
  • Finishing an essay a week in advance is much more fun than finishing it the night before it’s due.
  • Multiple-choice history tests are amazing.
  • Multiple-choice religion tests are a crime.
  • I’m a freaking pansy.
  • Rhapsody in Blue relieves stress.
  • Some men just don’t know when to shut up.
  • Jackie’s nervous baking + my nervous eating = 5 lbs. gain… and somehow, a smaller pants size.
  • Some people never stop dancing.
  • Irish dancing produces man-calves.
  • Knee-length boots and man-calves don’t work well together.
  • My mother really doesn’t understand Homestar Runner.
  • Sugar burns. Spectacularly.
  • I hate cold weather.
  • If you put the peanut butter on the counter, Jackie will eat it in a day. If you put it in the cupboard, she’ll eat it in a week. If you put it on a high shelf, it might last a month, depending how long it takes for her to find it. But if it’s under your bed, she doesn’t touch it.
  • God is merciful. Were this not the case, I would have been struck down by now.
  • Lightning doesn’t strike indoors.
  • Nothing makes you appreciate your parents like moving in with roommates.
  • Nothing makes you appreciate your roommates like moving in with your parents.
  • The gospel is true; if it weren’t, its teenage members would have destroyed it by now. Instead, somehow they survive, thrive, and grow, as does the church. Miraculous.

Lessons learned from my senior year of college: 2012-13:

  • If you’re a good cook, you can go weeks (or months) without buying groceries. Especially if your roommates aren’t good cooks.
  • The most attractive thing to be is yourself. If your self needs work, work on it. But make sure you’re working on the parts you want to change – not the parts you think a guy would want you to change.
  • If you like someone, tell them.
  • If you want to date someone, tell them. Then ask them on a date.
  • A date is not a marriage proposal.
  • If a guy won’t call it a date, you’re not dating.
  • If you’re not dating, ad you wish you were, stop. Just stop. Go find someone else to wish you were dating. And then date him.
  • If you’re in danger of failing a class, talk to the professor. They don’t want you to fail.
  • Being on a first-name basis with your professor isn’t sucking up. It’s spending enough time to prove you want to learn the material.
  • Finishing an essay a week in advance is much more fun than finishing it the night before it’s due.
  • Multiple-choice history tests are horrifying.
  • If your essays are good enough, sometimes the professor will overlook a failing grade on a multiple-choice test.
  • If you still think your answer is right, go talk to the professor. If you can prove him wrong, he might still give you points.
  • If the food is really good, it will cause dancing.
  • I’m a super wimp in cold weather.
  • When biking, slow down under bridges.
  • Cool river water will do a wonderful job of icing a broken hand. Same goes for frozen vegetables. Smoothies help, too.
  • It’s simply amazing how many things you can do with only one hand.
  • It takes a really long time to put on women’s jeans with only one hand.
  • Tying a ponytail with one hand isn’t worth the time and effort. Chop the hair off.
  • I look good with short hair. Who knew?
  • Chocolate milk makes everything better.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. was a boss. So was Fred Shuttlesworth, Rosa Parks, Ralph Abernathy, and Diane Nash.
  • People get mad at you if you turn off your cell phone for a day.
  • Turning off your cell phone for a day and “unplugging” is well worth the trouble.
  • Park City is beautiful,has clean air, and is about 10 degrees cooler than Provo.
  • “Doctor De Soto Goes to Africa” is quite possibly the funniest children’s book ever written.
  • Love isn’t just about romance. It’s about sticking together when things get rough.
  • If you’d rather be in the hospital with him than anywhere else without him, you might be in love.
  • If he inspires you to be better every day, he’s a keeper.
  • God will take care of those who follow Him, and those who wait on His timing.

This Looks Like a Job For… Chocolate Milk!

It’s been a good morning for whining.

I woke up with a craving for orange juice, and an incredible desire to plant an avocado tree. So Ethan and I went running this morning. To the Creamery. For an avocado, and some orange juice.

Halfway there, we hit construction. So we went around. More construction. Went around again. Still construction.

And then cramps. Stopped to whimper for a while, until they went away. Still construction.

Eventually, we found our way to the Creamery, only to be told it was closed while they replaced the floor.

No avocados. No orange juice.

To cheer me up, Ethan picked me up and ran through the sprinklers. And then we climbed a tree. It was a good tree.

But then when I came home, I walked in the door and said, “I’m gonna go take a shower, and get dressed, and get stuff done!”

There’s no water. The complex shut the water off, so they can fix the hole in the ceiling in another apartment. (Who runs water pipes through the roof?) So no shower. No flushing the toilet. No water for cooking. Nope. You just sit there and smell funny until the water comes back on.

Colby suggested I could shower at somebody else’s apartment. Or jump in the pool. Or go to the field house to shower. But my pouty little brain just keeps thinking, “I’m paying to live here!”

The five-year-old in me wants to pout and flail my arms and add, “…and it feels like a thousand bees are stinging me at the same time!”

But Ethan made me breakfast. And the water’s coming back on earlier than predicted. And I have a warm rice-bag to make me feel better. And most importantly, I found my chocolate syrup. So I’ll just drink some chocolate milk, and read some scriptures, and get over myself. ♦

Story Problem: Chocolate Milk

Bri: Hey, Rachel – guess what this story problem is about?

Me: Genocide?

Bri: Chocolate milk. This problem says that Tim has figured out that the proper ratio is 3:8.

Me: 3:8 what?

Bri: 3:8 chocolate to milk. The syrup to milk ratio should be 3:8.

Me: You mean to tell me this kid has perfected the art of chocolate milk?

Bri: That’s what this problem says.

Me: We needs to try this.

Bri: So, if we got 8 gallons of milk, we would need 3 bottles of syrup.

Me: Except chocolate syrup doesn’t come in gallons. We have a measurement problem.

Bri: … If we’re making 8 gallons of chocolate milk, I think we’ve got more serious problems than that. ◊

Chocolate Milk and Other Devious Plans

Still addicted to chocolate milk. What’s worse, now it seems to be spreading to Bri.

Yesterday, I was drinking the last (!) of my chocolate milk, when Bri said something funny and it nearly came out my nose. She thought that would be hilarious, and made it her new goal. And as I drank the last of it, I suddenly had an image of Bri jumping in front of my face and screaming bloody murder, just to get chocolate milk out my nose. And I nearly lost it again – even though she never even did it. I just cracked myself up thinking about it.

Today, we discovered that we don’t have any chocolate milk mix left. We both sat and pouted for a few minutes, then Bri got out some milk and a hot chocolate mix. It didn’t mix very well, though; I don’t know how it’s any different from that Nestle stuff, but it just kind of clumped on the top of the glass like… something gross that you wouldn’t want to drink. (We still did, of course.)

And then, as I took my last sip, Bri stopped mid-sentence, leaned forward, and screamed at the top of her lungs. Martha, an unsuspecting and innocent bystander in the whole thing, was terrified. I nearly lost it again – but I kept it together in the end, and about five minutes of laughing later, I managed to swallow.

Let the games begin. ♠

In Which I Am Defeated by a Vending Machine

I’m struggling.

Remember how hard I’m trying to like winter?

Well, I’m struggling.

This morning, as I was walking to school, I caught myself fantasizing about a road trip to New Mexico. I don’t really know anything about New Mexico. But I know it’s warmer than it is here. I had no sights to see, and no particular reason to head south. I don’t know anybody who would want to come with me, and I don’t know anything about the accommodations. But as I calculated the budget for this trip in my head, the only real deterrent I found was the realization that it would take me several months to earn the money to buy a junker car – and by that time, it would be warm here again. I abandoned my scheme.

I’m also getting hungry frequently. And by frequently, I mean every few minutes. My boss says that it takes a lot more energy to stay warm in the winter, so you have to eat more. But we’re talking one “Superman” taco from Taco Bell (think: everything you love, all on a huge tortilla) and then ten minutes later, I’m trying to decide whether to run back for another one. After eating a few cookies. All of this an hour after lunch from Subway.

Chocolate milk is keeping me from slipping into total cold-weather depression. I stopped at a vending machine tonight (only a few hours after the huge taco and cookies) for a chocolate milk, and found myself unable to decide between Sun Chips (food of the gods) and chocolate milk (nectar of the gods). In time, I decided on the Sun Chips, because I’ve had nearly a gallon of chocolate milk in the past few days, and I decided on something healthy.

And the chips didn’t vend.

I saw them hanging there, stuck on the corner of another bag, and I remembered the wise words of my professor this morning: “Remember the Fonz? He always just bumped things, and they worked.” I bumped it. The chips stayed. I banged my fist against it. They didn’t budge. I proceeded to wail on the vending machine like a small percussion ensemble, wondering all the while if the woman in the hallway behind me was worried for her life. The chips defied me. Defeated, I reached into my wallet and pulled out another dollar. I could save one bag for tomorrow, as long as I got my chips.

The second bag still didn’t vend.

By now, I was beginning to mutter dangerously under my breath. A second percussive wailing ensued, and the girl behind me was definitely trying to appear invisible, in case I began to lash out at more animate objects. Defeated (and with a bruised right hand), I took my double-priced bag of chips, hung my head, and started back for the break room.

I was so sad, I had to buy a bottle of chocolate milk on the way out.

Does anybody with a car want to go to New Mexico with me?

Small Miracles

Today, I am thankful for the tiny daily miracles that keep my sanity together:

  • Getting my 2 hardest exams done the first day of finals.
  • Chocolate milk during my essay final. (For further information on why I consider chocolate milk miraculous, see here. Let’s just say I have a new favorite professor.)
  • A friend who walked me to campus when it was cold.
  • A completely guilt-free 2-hour nap
  • “This is How a Heart Breaks” by Rob Thomas. Actually, I think it’s kind of miraculous how fantastic the music video is too. Chase scene. New York traffic. Rob Thomas. Existential paradox. It’s the best.
  • Reading scriptures in the morning. It’s the most peaceful thing that’s happened to me all day – and if anybody’s miraculous, I think Jesus qualifies.
  • Total strangers who say hello.
  • The hat hair today that somehow, totally on accident, ended up looking like a punk-rock style.
  • I found 3 muffins in my purse that I forgot about yesterday!
  • Talking to my brother about his latest adventures at Disneyland. You should hear that guy giggle about Small World.

Self, it’s a good day. ♥