The Random Writings of Rachel: April 2013

Bear With Me

 
 Bear Hunting
 
Some weeks ago, I came home from a long day at school, and was greeted at the door by Angel saying, "Baby, don't be mad."

That's a rather disconcerting greeting, and I insisted that he tell me why I should not be mad.

But, "Promise you won't be mad." was all he would say.

Finally, I gave in. I promised. 

"I accidentally bought a bear costume on eBay." he said.

This was not quite as bad of a sin as I had been expecting, based on his insistence on extracting the "I won't be mad" promise from me. Still.

"How did you 'accidentally' buy a bear costume on eBay? You can't 'accidentally' buy something."

"Well, I bid on it, but I didn't really think I was going to win it. I thought for sure someone would outbid me. But this morning, I got the email congratulating me on winning it, so now I have to pay for it."

A bear costume. Really, I wasn't all that surprised. Angel's told me in the past how he thought it would be so awesome to have a bear costume of his very own.
 
The bear costume  arrived while Angel was out, and I hid it and took a video of Angel's reaction to seeing his costume for the first time. The video is belly-ache hilarious, but, unfortunately, it's also too scandalous for public viewing. Oh well.

Of course, upon receiving the bear costume, we decided that the obvious thing anyone should do who owns a bear costume is to create a photo series involving photos of a bear participating in random realistic and not so realistic activities. From now on, look for the next entry into the Bear With Me blog series every Tuesday, at least until we run out of pictures. 

Suggestions of activities for the bear to participate in/locations in which he should be photographed are heartily welcomed. All suggestions that we use will be credited and linked to you! (Unless, of course, you don't want to be linked to your own ideas.)
 
I sure hope you guys are as excited about the Bear With Me project as I am (or, at the very least, I hope you're vaguely amused by it.) If you love the idea, feel free to spread the word on social media--Angel and I already have a bunch of ideas for photo ops, but we can always use more!

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A Sunday Shopping Adventure

Angel often works on Sundays, which means I get 14 hours of alone time on those days which I must figure out how to occupy. I often do housework or blogging or watch a show that Angel refuses to watch with me (i.e. Say Yes to the Dress), and generally fill my time with stuff that I don't get around to doing when Angel is at home to distract me.

And some Sundays, I have adventures. I'm going to tell you about my Kohl's adventure.


Does Kohl's send these out all over the country? Every so often I get one, and I always make good use of it!

I do know that this is a marketing gimmick meant to get people inside the stores and spending way more than $10, but I think I've developed a pretty good strategy for handling these discounts without being swept away. Every time I get one of these cards, I go to Kohl's and scour the store for the best possible deal--but I  refuse to spend any more than $10 of my own money. I've gotten tights and leggings, hand lotions, t-shirts, pillows, and serving dishes with these cards over the years. It's fun.


Did I mention that I was wearing my happy shoes?


First off, I head to the clothes section. I know, I know, I'm not even buying clothes right now, but it couldn't hurt to look. Short shorts fail to tempt me, and I leave the clothing section without having my resolve shaken.

I go upstairs to the home goods department.


But the shoe department is next to the home goods department. You can tell I'm a shoe girl. If these shoes were free, I would have happily taken all three of them home that same day. They're gorgeous!! And perfect for me. Don't you agree? I just love looking at them.

But Rachel, you aren't buying clothes for yourself right now. And none of these shoes are even close to the $10 price range. Besides, you're wearing some pretty sweet shoes right now, so you're okay.



Here is where I was supposed to be. I had told Angel that I would probably use the $10 to buy a bathroom rug. But bathroom rugs are immensely boring. They are not an exciting thing to spend money on, at all. It's almost as boring as spending money on toilet paper and cleaning supplies.

So I continue through the home department.


Practically all they had in the "home" clearance section was Carrot Cake candles. And no wonder. Carrot cake is yucky, and I don't think it would smell good as a candle, either. No, thank you.

My next idea is to check the kitchen section. I enter, hoping against all odds to find a large non-stick frying pan on sale for like...$11. Is that too much to ask?

You see, I already have a large frying pan, but it's stainless steel. If you've ever tried to fry eggs in a stainless steel, you already know that it doesn't tend to work out too well. It would be so nice to have a big, non-stick frying pan....but pans are expensive. 

The first suitable frying pan I come across is really nice...and it's on sale, for $60. For that much money, I can keep scrubbing burnt egg off of my stainless steel pan. I begin to lose hope, as pan after pan is either way too pricey or way too small to be of any use to me.

Then, I come across this:


A 5 quart non-stick frying pan that was originally $35, on sale for $18. With my $10 card, the $18 price tag means I'll only have to spend $8 of my own money, and I can afford that!

I bought the pan, spending $8 and saving $27. Not too shabby. I took my pan home and made fried rice in it.

*Just in case you might possible construe this as some sort of odd sponsored post, it's not. I don't even particularly like Kohl's. I don't particularly like any store. Not even Target! But if I can get a cheap frying pan, I'll shop wherever I have to to get it.


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I Sewed a Dress!

This is what the pattern suggested the dress might look like.



And this is how it turned out by the time I was done with it! Hurray! My first dress sewn on my sewing machine!


I'm rather well-known for my tendency to be emphatically different. You could look at it as a genetic predisposition  for, after all, I was born left-handed into a right-handed world. Some might argue that I live differently for no good reason, just for the heck of it. And, on occasion, I'd say they'd be right. I had no good reason for my vicious opposition to skinny jeans in the past, really, other than the fact that everyone else loved them.

However, for me, being different is a way of life. From boycotting random articles of clothing (i.e. shorts, peplums, and floral print pants), to majoring in an rather unusual subject, to refusing to eat any and all fast food, to declining to watch current popular tv shows....if you know me, you know that if everyone's doing something, I'm most likely not doing it.

I think an accurate word for me would be ornery. I honestly really enjoy living outside the more common lifestyle. If everyone's interested in having Pinterest-friendly houses, I prefer hand-me-down furniture rejected from my grandparent's house to spending a dollar on stuff that you only really need to sit on and put bookshelves in.

When other people talk about enjoying a nice glass of wine, I'm over here saying: "I gave alcohol one chance and it tasted yucky, so never again!"

This isn't a new characteristic for me. Angel's told me more than once that he thought I was really weird when he first got to know me. I don't think his judgement of the weirdness has been altered since then, he's just grown to appreciate it a little more. I was a teenager when for some class project, we were assigned to write those six-word memoirs, and what I came up with is: "I'm different, to make a difference."

And I hope those six words do become true of me. I've always heard talk of peer pressure, and occasionally I've seen it in action, but I've never actually felt it myself. To give a current example, even though I'm currently surrounded by lovely pregnant ladies, I feel absolutely no pressure to join the club. The fact that everyone else is doing something never makes me feel any inclination to do what they are doing. . What I hope is that people do notice the differences in the way I live my life--not just the silly differences that I'm mentioning here, but the important ones, and I hope that seeing my way of living a life not dictated by the fashions of the time will encourage others not to be bound by that peer pressure, either.

I know that for many people, style, fashion, and what everyone around them is doing does matter, and does influence them, and I want to give people hope that it doesn't have to be that way! And one more thing I must make clear--my different-ness....the fact that I have no interest whatsoever in being normal...does not come from me. I believe it's a gift of God.

After all, I'm a 20-something, grown, married woman waltzing around the grocery store in a SPARKLY and POLKA-DOTTED red and purple home-made dress and high heels, and smiling about it. That kind of freedom/creativity/insanity/pure weirdness can't be  blamed on a mere human, so it must be God!
    
 
delirious rhapsody

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Work Clothes




 {Outfit pictures taken in Papa John's after an 8 hr. day spent at school, followed promptly by a quick trip to the dentist due to a toothache and then to the grocery store. I'm not actually allowed to wear the brown belt at school, but it adds a lot to the dress, so I put it on for our post-school errands. Otherwise, this is pretty much what I dress like 4 days a week. If you've seen any of my other outfits, you know that this is not the way I like to dress.  And our pizza was taking a while so Angel wanted me to take a picture  of him mocking my posing style. Honey, you forgot to smile! I always smile in my pictures!}

For as long as I can remember, I have thought that I'd like to choose my ideal career based on what kind of clothes you got to wear to work. Based on this criteria, any and all jobs requiring uniforms are out. Certainly all jobs in the medical industry aren't options, because I don't like scrubs. I mean, with all the time I've spent in uniform stores waiting for Angel to find the perfect scrubs, I have chosen which cute scrubs I would be willing to wear if I were forced to wear scrubs (these), but really, I'd like to avoid anything resembling scrubs as much as possible.

For a while, I thought a job in business would be a good option, because I do love a good pencil skirt. But true business people in "power jobs" seem to have a poor opinion of bright and gaudy colors, so it would be hard to let go of my fuchsia, turquoise, and purple.

Cosmetology doesn't seem like a good option, as I feel completely smothered by the strict black or white, no black-and-white patterns, dress code at my school....

What I really want is a job that allows me to wear whatever the heck I want to. Bright colors, crazy combos, belly-dancer scarves, and all. So, all of this leads me to believe that my ideal job really is that of a blogger. Or an eccentric but best-selling author. Or a movie star, but that one seems a little less likely. Or....a professor!! Professors really can wear whatever they want to, at least the ones at my college did, and they had some awesome style. Oh man, I'd make a great professor.

What would be your ideal job if your only qualification for the perfect job was that you would love wearing the clothes appropriate for the job?

delirious rhapsody
 
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A Sexy Date Outfit



In early March 2010, I was wandering around J.C. Penney in between classes, and I came across this gloriously purple pair of jeans on the clearance rack. I bought them, despite my college sophomore limited funds, because I knew that we were meant to be together.


A few weeks later, this interesting guy named Angel was taking a trip to Michigan to come and visit me. Obviously, I wanted to dress up in an extra special way to impress him a little--this was the first time he would be seeing me in nearly a year, so I wanted to make sure I looked attractive. He'd already told me he was interested in me, but sometimes guys need just a little encouragement, you know?


I came up with the perfect outfit to wear to meet him on the day he arrived: my extra-special brand new purple jeans, paired with a hot pink mini dress. And Converse. When in doubt, always wear Converse.

(Perhaps now you can see why my family really didn't think I was the kind to catch a man early in life.)


However, he asked me to marry him three months after that, so I guess the purple jeans and the hot pink dress worked.


Now that I'm a few years older and wiser--I know that any outfit involving purple jeans is probably not the correct outfit to wear if I really want to impress my husband with my gorgeousness. I also know which outfits  do a better job of that, but you won't see any pictures of those outfits on this blog. 


Still, you got to give the purple jeans some credit. He did marry me, after all. So, after the whole flood debacle, I told Angel that his reward for performing the heroic duty of emptying shop-vacs every half hour all night long was a date to the restaurant of his choosing. He chose Red Robin, and I wore purple jeans.


'Cause, you know, I've almost succeeded with my master plan of convincing him that the way I dress is really very alluring. 

delirious rhapsody
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Dreaming of Summer



{Those 'dust specks' or whatever they are from sunlight are real--not edited. I have no idea how that happened with the picture, but I thought they made the pictures look cool. And it's so rare that a picture taken by Angel looks cool, so let me relish that for a moment.}


I'm looking forward to warm weather because:
No more coats to uglify my outfits.
Wearing heels again without worrying about slipping on ice.
Baseball games.
The park.
Vacation.
Wandering through cemeteries.
The Drive-In Theater.
Sunshine.
Being able to walk to the mailbox without freezing to death.
Bonfire parties.
Driving with the windows down.
Bike rides.
Eating dinner outdoors.
Graduation from beauty school.
Dresses.


Angel is looking forward to warm weather because:
His wife will no longer have "alien legs" (he prefers the bare-legged look to brightly-colored tights. Weird.)
Strawberry season. 
No more blankets all over  the house.
A much smaller gas bill.
Cheap onions.
Mini-golf.
Ice-cream stands.

Angel would like to add that he doesn't look forward to lawn mowing.

delirious rhapsody
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The Flood

 Note the lampost in the water. There is also a sidewalk somewhere under there.
 The sandbag barrier seemed like a good place to pose.
 That green lamp normally illuminates a romantic riverside wooden sidewalk. 

{I'll be the first to say that this is a boring outfit, but it really seemed the only appropriate way to dress when taking a walk on a 40 degree, windy day to see the flooded river. I am wearing a pretty awesome shirt--designed by my sister who works at a custom printing shop (talk about a convenient place for a relative to work...). It's the University of Michigan logo but it says Malaysia--representing two of my favorite homes.}

As far as floods go, I don't think this one really compares to most of the great floods of history, but it's the biggest, most damaging flood that I've seen, so that makes it rather momentous in my eyes. Our part of the world isn't used to floods at all, so I don't think we were quite prepared for what could happen. But last week's record-breaking rainstorms have swelled the river and taken out roads and basements.


I had to try three different routes one morning on the way to school in order to find a road that wasn't under water, and all week, the salon was practically empty as we had clients calling and saying that they couldn't make it out of their own streets. I came home Friday night to a sign declaring that the street I live on was closed. Of course, I just drove around the sign--there's no other way to get home! There was no water between the entrance to my street and my house, but beyond my house, our street has been totally washed out in two separate places. Intersections, interstate exits, and even restaurants are closed due to the flooding--and a lot of normal people are having trouble with leaking in their basements. Sump pumps are sold out at every hardware store for miles around.


Speaking of that, Sunday night, Angel worked his first night shift in over a year. My grandparents' basement had sprouted leaks in 3 places, and they  had 3 different shop vacs running continuously for days in order to keep up with the water. It was a family effort to keep their basement dry. My grandpa, uncles, and Angel took shifts--when it was Angel's turn on Sunday night, the water was still coming so fast that he was emptying out a 12 gallon shop-vac every 40 minutes.



delirious rhapsody

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The Last Article of Clothing I Bought





 {Can you read my expression in the first picture? It says, "Angel, stop fussing me." For the record, Angel named this outfit "Raspberry Lemonade." He's very creative. Also for the record, it snowed the day I was wearing this--bright colors apparently don't bring warm weather}

So, I don't consider myself much of a "stuff" person. As far as furniture, kitchenware, or home accessories go....we might have many years to go before I grow up enough to want to spend hard-earned money on stuff like that. I genuinely enjoy having nice, clean, empty cupboards in my kitchen and empty closets in the guest bedroom.

When I was growing up, my family moved fairly frequently, and the impression that that lifestyle left on me was that I don't want to have a ton of stuff to carry  around with me whenever I move. Because packing is annoying.

There are a few things that I have a lot of, though. I have a lot of books, though it's probably been a year or so since I've bought any--I have so many through a lifetime of begging, borrowing, stealing, and occasionally buying. You know, the usual ways that people collect libraries full of books.

I also have a lot of shoes and clothes. Not a hugely overwhelming amount. Not a walk-in closet's worth or anything like that. I take good care of my clothes and I've been the same size since I was 12 or 13 so I have several years of clothing collecting under my belt. I stay on top of my closet and make sure that I actually like everything that's in there. Still, there are many times when I want new dresses. 

Or fuschia-colored jeans. Or shoes with studs in them.

I'm no impulse buyer, and I don't buy new clothes all the time. It has to be something special in order to convince me to part with my money. It's not unheard of for me to go a month or two without falling in love with anything new...but longer than that? That would be a stretch--but that's exactly what I'm attempting to do right now.

These polka-dot shoes were my most recent purchase, from the first week of March. I saw them at the store in February, and fell in love with them, and when I still hadn't forgotten about them two weeks later, we went back to the store and bought them. Aren't they cute? They didn't come with shoelaces, but colorful shoelaces are a signature accessory for me, so I took a pair out of my stash and laced them up. The problem: Keds don't have as many  holes for laces as Converse do, and the shoe laces were way too long. So I cut the ends off the shoe laces and had Angel scientifically hold the ends of the laces in the gas fire on the stove to melt them so that they wouldn't fray. Genius.

It's my intention that these beautiful shoes shall be my last purchase for a while. It's already been over a month since I bought them, and I haven't bought anything else to wear since then. You see, Angel and I are going on vacation in late summer. And plane tickets are expensive. Also, our destination is a place that I know has some awesome shopping. I'm going to refrain from buying anything to wear from now till then. I said before that going without buying anything new for a month or two is easy for me. But not buying anything to wear for  4 or 5 months? A little more challenging. I'll have to learn a lesson in not coveting, and I'll also have to hope that 50s era dresses with full skirts and petticoats don't suddenly become all the rage this summer while at the same time becoming very cheap, because that's pretty much the biggest temptation I could think of at this moment.

p.s. The grocery store has excellent lighting for pictures.

p.p.s. That yellow t-shirt is a children's size 14/16. I don't remember kids being so adult-sized until I stand next to some of my 'little' cousins.

delirious rhapsody


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Spring Fashion Week






I've titled this look: the city girl  version of John Wayne. I was doing my best to imitate his swagger all day, too, much to Angel's amusement.

I do realize that this is supposed to be Spring Fashion Week, but this is what fashion looks like for most of Spring where I live. At least I'm not wearing my puffy winter coat anymore. And take a look at this coat, will you. It fits perfectly, which isn't something I can say about most coats. It's got the classic double row of buttons....and....the back laces up! Those laces make me so happy. My plan is to buy different colored ribbons and switch out the black ribbon for other colors on special occasions.
Now, the most interesting thing about this coat is the fact that I didn't pick it out myself. Nope. Angel did. He found this coat at the store, and because he knows my style so well, he knew it was perfect for me. He showed it to me, we got a good deal on it, and it's been love ever since.

It's not only the coat, either. My husband is very good at shopping for me. When he shops completely on his own...there's been a few times when something has been the wrong size and had to be returned, but he's smart enough to keep the receipt, so that's no big deal. But most of the time--he hits the nail right on the head. He's got an eye for those odd pieces that suit my sense of style, and I love that about him.

(What makes this even more weird is that even my own Mom and sisters and the entire rest of my family refuse to do any shopping for me because they know I'm so particular.)

So, what I'm dying to know is, do any of your husbands buy clothes for you, and are they any good at it?
delirious rhapsody

p.s. I'm linking up with Deanna all week.
 
 
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Angel Says that New Shoes are my Love Language


 I love this picture, because we're trying to act like all the cool couples do and take a picture of ourselves in the mirror with a big fancy camera. The only problem is, we don't own a big fancy camera. And, as my little brother, the owner of the pictured big fancy camera, would point out, neither of us even know how to use a big fancy camera in the first place.
1. What is your spouse's top 3 favorite desserts? Do you make any of them?

Rachel: His are: Strawberry Shortcake, Apple Pie, and Ice Cream. The only one I make is strawberry shortcake, but man, I make some good shortcake. He buys a pie from a local restaurant almost every week and eats it all by himself because I don't like pie.

Angel: 1. Smoothies, which are the only ones I make in her list. 2. Biggby's Iced Chocolate 3. Mint Chocolate Chip Klondike Bars 

2. What are your spouse's hobbies?

Rachel: I'm his favorite hobby.

Angel: Duh!! Blogging, and with every other kind of "people" like her; sewing, crafts, jewelry, fashion, reading, etc.

3. What is your spouse's love language?

Rachel: Acts of service

Angel: Words of encouragement/endearment and new shoes.

4. What is your spouse's go-to music for the car?

Rachel: Fernando Ortega hymns, random mix cd's that he made when he was a teenager, Spanish songs....he appears to know and like every kind of music. I don't understand.

Angel: Country music.

5. What is one of your spouse's fears?

Rachel: I don't think he is afraid of anything. I know that until after we were officially married he was afraid that I would change my mind and not marry him but he knows he's got me for life, now.

Angel: Bats, box elder bugs, tomato vines, and the dark. {Note: I am only scared of tomato stems when Angel concocts an elaborate plan utilizing my poor eyesight to trick me into thinking that a tomato stem is a spider. And I'm also only scared of the dark when he turns off all the lights in the house and tries to jump out from under some furniture and scare me. And I am only scared of bats when they are in my house. It's all situational.}

6. What is on your spouse's to-do list for the home?

Rachel: As long as I cook dinner I don't think he notices anything else about our house.

Angel: Maybe taking care of the plaster wall that's falling down?  None, really we don't have anything to do around here.  {spoken like a true non-homeowner. But that wall does need to be fixed.}

7. What is your favorite date night activity as a couple?

Rachel: My favorite thing to do is something active, like playing games at the arcade or exploring a cemetery or going to the beach.

Angel:  It would involve the mall, El Arriero (Mexican food), new shoes, the drive in theater, an outdoor concert, and cuddle time.

8. What was your first impression of your spouse?

Rachel: He wasn't very friendly to me like the other people at Bible study were.

Angel: I thought she dressed weird and had odd facial expressions.

9. What is your spouse's dream vacation destination?

Rachel: Angel would pick the Grand Canyon or some mountains out west--or if he were really dreaming, maybe Macchu Picchu or China.

Angel: Rachel wants to go to Disneyworld, China, and Malaysia.

10. What was your favorite part of your wedding? 

Rachel: Getting married. Getting presents. I really think those are the only two benefits of a wedding. I prefer attending other people's weddings.

Angel: Having my parents support me in marrying this wonderful woman.  OOOHhhh....I was proud of Rachel creating a wedding with a small budget.

The Day I Found Out I was an Adult

 
 Just 'cause I might now be an adult doesn't mean I have to dress like it.
 
It wasn't the day my parents left me in the United States to face the big scary world of America without them. I was most definitely still a kid then.

It wasn't the day I got married, though looking back, I occasionally wonder what I thought I was doing at the time.

It wasn't the day I graduated from college. Sure, I could speak Chinese, but what else could I do?

It wasn't the day I turned 21. Come on, I spent my 21st birthday making hobo pies over a bonfire and playing charades with a bunch of teenagers. It was awesome, but not entirely grown-up-ish.

It wasn't the day I found out that I was going to be an aunt. Though, I have to admit, the word "Aunt" made me suddenly feel much older than I had previously felt.

No, the day I found out that I had truly reached adulthood was the day that I spilled a bowl of strawberries and juice all over the kitchen floor, and all over my pants and slippers as well. And I didn't cry. Instead, I stoically and unemotionally cleaned up the strawberry disaster. Not even one tear. I was very impressed with my own emotional maturity, if not with my hand-eye coordination. Now that's adulthood.
 
*If you knew how many cups of spilled chocolate milk that have caused me to cry, you would understand what a milestone this is.
 
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