Rachael

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Today is Hug a Random Stranger Day.

How do I know this? Because I hugged a random stranger today, at the grocery store.

And on a day after a day of Yet More Unspeakably Awful Things Going On Out There, that was a nice thing, to be offered a hug from a stranger, and to accept it. I had walked up to the end of the salad bar at Whole Goats, to get lunch. A tall man, older than me, was already there at the bins holding three different kinds of lettuce, carefully picking out individual leaves with tongs.

He saw me and said, "Hello," and I said, "Picking out the best lettuces, I see?" and he said, "Yes, as a vegetarian, I like to pick out the ones that still have the most nutrition left in them, that are still firm and crisp; I figure if I'm paying for it, I should get the best ones." He kept explaining about nutrition and attributes of healthy produce as I put lettuce in my takeout container. "Trying to stay healthy," he said, and I agreed, saying it was a good thing, and that I was also trying to stay healthy.

We moved together to the the bins holding things like chunks of cucumber and celery and red bell pepper slices and shredded beets and carrots and kidney beans and I held back, waiting for him to go first because he was there first and he said, with a sweep of his hand, "Oh, ladies first," and I thanked him and started putting various things on top of my lettuce.

"You having a nice day so far?" he asked, putting various things on top of his lettuce, too, and I agreed enthusiastically that I was--I didn't say this to him, but I had just come from the gym, where I'd had an awesome workout, which felt great because I've had to pull back a lot lately in order to continue healing from my surgery and that has totally been bringing me down.

So, finally feeling more healed and like I can maybe start pushing again, and having just been pushed by my awesome trainer, I was pumped full of endorphins and virtuously hungry. He asked if Santa was treating me right and I said, "Um...?" "Not a believer in Santa?" he said, and I said, "Well, it's just that Santa time hasn't happened yet," and he said, "Yes, but it IS that time of year," and I agreed that was true.

And then he said, "Just let me know when you're done, so I can give you a hug," and I know that might sound like it was creepy or weird or like he was hitting on me, and coming from someone else or in a different situation it might have been the case, but from this particular random stranger I did not get a creepy or weird or hitting on me vibe at all. Really. I know what that feels like.

This, it just felt like...kindness. Why the hell not, I thought, so I said, "Oh, I haven't been offered a hug yet today, thanks!"

I held out an arm and we gave each other a quick strong side hug, and continued putting things on top of our salads, and after a few more moments of chit-chat as we completed our salad masterpieces, we went our separate ways.

Some people are going out of their way to kill random strangers. Others are going out of their way to be nice to random strangers and offer them a hug.

And so I say, today if a random stranger offers you a hug and if it feels right to you, take it.



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12/3 '15 1 Comment
This was a great thing to read today. Thank you!
 

Driving back to the Mountains just now was like driving onto a Hollywood movie set, wherein the set has been lit and dressed for maximum nighttime atmosphere. Fog. Frozen fog, hanging low, illuminated by headlights. And in my driveway, I parked and walked to the mailbox to check the mail, and as I did, I heard some seriously wiggy sounds right above my head.

Crispy crackly crunchy grindy squeaky sounds. For a paranoid moment, I thought there was, like, a mountain lion or a bear or maybe even a chupacabra in the trees above, rustling, positioning itself so that it could fall down onto me and chomp me into tiny bits.

And hey, I live in the mountains, so while unlikely, it's within the realm of possibility. I was spinning around, looking for the source and meaning behind these sounds that were seriously freaking me out and I realized it was Spike, the weaponized tree, glowing ghostly white in the light of the front porch.

Spike's limbs and giant thorns are coated in frost, still, and in the breeze, they were rubbing and squeaking and grinding against each other, creating a creepy symphony I have never ever heard before. And am not keen to hear again.

::shudder::

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11/28 '15 4 Comments
Um yeah, that would probably freak me out too.
Beth Adele 11/29 '15
Yup! Freaky!
Rachael 11/30 '15
I love that you named your tree. You are so in touch with your wilderness. Are you really a dryad? You look and sound like one, or at least like I like one would sound like, having never met one before.
My goodness, am I really a dryad? I look and sound like one? What a lovely thing to ask me. :-) Seriously, that's...that's so cool that you said that. As far as I know, I am not!
Rachael 11/30 '15
 

At the gym today, I was working out on a chest press machine, and, as you do, in between sets, was looking around. I watched a woman collect her toddler daughter from the gym daycare.

This tiny creature, her smooshy plump cheeks red, her light brown hair awry (I imagine she'd just woken from a nap), one hand held by her mother (who was bending over a lot to accommodate their height difference), spotted a Very Large Man, muscled bare arms totally inked, working out hard on a lat pull-down machine by the door to the daycare. 

And then rays of sunshine and rainbows and unicorns burst out of her face, and she enthusiastically waved her free tiny chubby hand at him, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

He turned his head to look at her, smiling. Her delight made me laugh out loud. After a moment, her mother carefully guided her down the steps toward me. The girl concentrated hard on those steps. To one so small, they were an ocean to cross. Her mother easily could have just picked her up and carried her out, but instead was giving her the opportunity to navigate those steps on her own.

I started working out again, and as they grew slowly near, I couldn't help but turn my head to watch her pass.

And she spotted me. And she unleashed those rays of sunshine, rainbows and unicorns, full force.  And I got the royal wave. 


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4/28 '15 2 Comments
Just randomly read this and enjoyed it.
Thomas Boutell 11/14 '15
Hey, thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed it!
Rachael 11/15 '15
 

Yesterday I spent $6 on a vintage 1936 cookbook I already have a copy of: "All About Home Baking", by the General Foods Corp.

But I couldn't resist this one. It's full of the previous owners handwritten recipes (Daffodil Cake, Crazy Choc Cake, for example), and also has newspaper recipes and recipes typed on onion skin paper pasted inside. 

Such evidence of a cookbook that was well-loved and used is irresistible.

Plus I always feel sorry for these orphan books, their previous owners dead and gone. They need homes, and I am apparently the sap to give them one.

Anyway, here's one of the recipes. I love the WW II aspect of this cake, as it places it so well in a specific time and place. I love how, apparently, putting the word "Victory" in front of a recipe automatically makes it patriotic and American and...good and noble and assuring of doing one's part. 

Wish I could post more than one picture here--pasted underneath this is another article with recipes, which talks about how "sugar rationing is daily closer to becoming a reality". Maybe I'll post that one tomorrow.

And damn, but doesn't this banana cake sound good? I'm actually thinking of trying to make it.

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4/26 '15 2 Comments
It strikes me that recipes just used to be a lot happier. The assumption seems to be (and should be) that cake is made and making cake is an excellent, nay, patriotic thing to do.

I don't think I've seen such a cheerful Fourth of July celebration in ages.
Katie 4/27 '15
Indeed! Cake is patriotic and cheerful and good and right.

Damn I want to make a cake like RIGHT NOW. Well maybe not right right now, it's 11 p.m., but soon.

If I make this particular one, I shall post a picture and review.
Rachael 4/28 '15
 

A most fantastic lunch with Kat at Oddfellows in Seattle. Baked egg dish. With potatoes? Spinach? I think? I don't know, it was just so good.

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4/23 '15 1 Comment
YUM
Katie 4/24 '15
 

Vintage muffin tin I bought at the estate sale of Harvena Richter, the daughter of writer Conrad Richter (and herself a writer) a few years ago, and the cornbread muffins I made for Thanksgiving a few years ago. I loved the name "Muffinaire" so much plus I just love vintage kitcheny things, I had to get it. And these make "normal" sized muffins, not giant baby-head size ones like people expect these days.

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4/22 '15 3 Comments
I love normal sized muffins as they cook better!

What kind of muffins did you make?
Katie 4/22 '15
I just saw the title. LOL!
Katie 4/22 '15
Yep, cornbread muffins! :-)
Rachael 4/22 '15
 

I have always wanted to see what it looked like inside.

The Pink Building--or more properly known as the Scottish Rite Cathedral--at the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Washington has been there, thankfully unchanged, my entire life. Iconic, mysterious, pink. A Santa Fe landmark that I've driven or walked by a million times. On Saturday I finally got a glimpse of what lies behind those pink walls when the temple was opened to the public. The Moorish-Revival style building has been around as long as NM has been a state (1912), modeled loosely after Spain's Alhambra, and is home to the Scottish Rite Freemasons.

Inside it's as though time has been suspended, from the most lush ornamentation to the plebian workaday features. I'm drawn to vintage, so I noticed little things like the push-button light switches, 50s atomic-era bathroom sinks and faucets, gorgeous metal radiators. Furniture, from the 1930s era oak chairs to the 1950s era lamps and tables. The door handles. A lavish auditorium. A to-die-for costuming room. A light-filled ballroom. An enormous kitchen. Narrow staircases. Wide staircases. Closed doors. Rooms and rooms and rooms. Just...so much. It was a lot to take in.

One reason why I wanted to go, besides getting to peek inside at last, is that I hoped to learn more about my great-great grandfather, who immigrated to the United States from Latvia in the mid 1850s or so, ending up in Texas. He was a high-ranked and highly-involved Mason, according to his obituary and the newspaper articles about him that I've been able to find. Maybe if I knew more about Masons, I thought, I would know more about him. And indeed that is how I now feel. I came away from Saturday's experience (listening to an introductory lecture, speaking one on one with several Masons who were there to answer questions, wandering around the place) with a lot more than just having my curiosity about this building satisfied; I now think I know a lot about what kind of a man he must have been, and I feel even prouder to be his descendant.

I can't seem to figure out how to get my vertical photos (taken with cellphone, not The Real Camera (I should have brought it)) to post vertically. They all end up sideways. This first post of mine here is a test anyway.

So, until I figure it out, please to enjoy this vintage postcard of the outside of the building. It doesn't even begin to capture the Pinkness of this place.



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3/9 '15