Car crashes are kind of like Rock, Paper, Scissors

Once, when I was in high school, I was riding with my mom, my sister, and my Granny in Granny’s Sequoia. As we crossed an intersection, we got rammed right on the driver’s side by an Escalade.

We spun around a time or two, and had to of course then talk to police and report everything. But, other than the goose egg on my forehead I got from hitting the window, we were all unscathed. The Sequoia was completely drivable, so we continued on to our original destination: Granny’s favorite place for lunch in Charleston.

Not much can stand between our family and food!

While the Sequoia needed body work and repairs done to the side, the Escalade’s engine and front were in all sorts of shambles. That was when my mom decided she wanted a Sequoia when the time came to replace our minivan.

Sequoia beats Escalade.

When I downgraded my 4Runner to a Honda Fit for the gas mileage, I remember lamenting to Boyfriend how I miss driving an SUV. SUVs win in car accidents. I feel safer in an SUV, especially with all these F350s driving around.

As if in agreement with me, a Jeep Wrangler decided to crash into the back of my poor little Fit, and push it into the back of a GMC.

Let’s say the Wrangler is the rock, and the GMC is the other rock, and the Fit is like the scissors but more like a pair of plastic scissors. They both drove away with bumper damage, but my little Fit…

It’s just so little, and so easy to push around.

The funny part of this is: The girl who hit me has Farmers Insurance. Everyone I spoke to was pleasant and helpful enough; however, they only paid for three days of a rental car from the day they gave me the estimate. Not from the day they paid me for damages; not from the day they gave me the money to actually be able to buy a replacement car. No: from the day they told me how much they would give me.

Words are basically money. I should try buying a car just by telling them how much I’ll give them.

I’m sure it’d get me places.

(Shout out to State Farm — they were amazing through the whole process. Everyone I talked to was very helpful, and when I would get choked up because I didn’t understand what to do, they were all sorts of comforting and reassuring–maybe because everyone I talked to was female!)

Aside from the irreplaceable sentimental value of the car (I bought it off of Aunt W a month or two before she passed, after she realized how expensive funerals are), it lost very little off-the-lot value.

Which means I’m pretty set on replacing it with another Honda Fit.

Its hatchback is as close as I can get to being able to haul stuff, but not pay a truckload at the gas pump.

I’ll just have to keep an eye out for Jeeps following me.

(As part of my recovery process, I listened to Knocked Down, But Not Knocked Out. If you feel like you’ve just been hit by a truck, it’s worth a listen.)

I was dazed for 30-60 seconds after the airbag socked me in the face, but they build cars to keep you safe and this did its job.

I was dazed for 30-60 seconds after the airbag socked me in the face, but they build cars to keep you safe and this did its job.

She tried swerving, which is why things like my right leg and my left arm hurt. I'm all twisted.

She tried swerving, which is why things like my right leg and my left arm hurt. I’m all twisted.

The right headlight was still attached, again, because of the Jeep swerving. The there was no salvaging the frame.

The right headlight was still attached, again, because of the Jeep swerving. But there was no salvaging the frame.


“Name five things inside your refrigerator right now and how you feel about them.”


These prompts are the weirdest.

Tomatoes – I think they give me heartburn. But they taste good, so…I feel like I’m self-destructive? I like to live on the edge.

Beer – Good for the soul, and your gut. Seriously. If I drink a beer, I feel better the next day. It’s weird and awesome. And I don’t care if it is mental. I feel great about it. And beer bread is delicious.

Cheese – I have self-diagnosed milk-product-intolerance. Now, before you go all doctor on me, let me just tell you that my romantic relationship vastly improved once I stopped consuming dairy. We’ll leave it at that. I feel slighted by cheese, because it’s so daggone delicious but it just won’t love me back.

A big pan of pesto pasta – Pesto is one of the greatest things in the world, and Aldi is currently selling it. Hallelujah chorus. Pasta is cheap. Two good things = one good thing. I feel like the math on that isn’t the greatest, but maybe it should be more of a multiplication anyway. Boyfriend exclaimed to me the other day, “You know what’s the greatest meal ever? Pesto and eggs! It’s so good! It’s like Heaven in a bottle!” After I smiled sweetly and said that’s why I love pesto so much because it goes with everything, I also suggested that eggs do not get eaten out of a bottle. That was not the end of that conversation, but I will move on here.

Chocolate syrup – The bargain brand kind. I’ve had it for a very long time, and will have it for a much longer time because I don’t keep ice cream in the house. I feel like I need to find a dessert recipe that calls for half a bottle of chocolate syrup so I can use it up, and then take said dessert somewhere where people will eat it.

Or just eat it myself. With a beer and some cheese and pesto and tomatoes.

Wow, that sounds delicious.


NaBloPoMo – If you had to switch your first name, what name would you choose and why?

(Disclaimer for my Dad: **Spoiler Alert** Dad, when you read this, just know that sometimes I go for comic effect, but I really like my name. It’s grown on me. HAHAHA I’m so funny. But really. It fits me perfectly. Also I’m glad you spelled it right.)

Growing up, I always wanted my name to be Elizabeth. Princess Elizabeth sounds SO much better than Princess Rachel.

Rachel is not a princess name. It doesn’t even rhyme with anything. The only thing it’s good for is winning the alphabet name game. It’s so ORDINARY.

There are so many of me! The worst was when one of the Rachels in half my classes in high school also had blonde curly hair. Now there was no way for people to tell us apart.

I know you Sarahs and Emilys can understand me on this. But at least your names mean Princess and Hard Working. I would take either of those.

Rachel means Ewe. As in, Ew look at that bug.

Ewe. Like the sheep.


My older sister’s name is Heather. That’s a perfectly princess name. Princess Heather rolls right off that red thing in your mouth. It has the added benefit of being a type of flower. Who doesn’t love flowers? Even if you’re allergic, you have to admit you like looking at them.

Then there’s Savannah the Younger. Vast desert wastelands aren’t your thing? They weren’t my dad’s either. He only agreed to use the name after one of his favorite football players used it first. That’s such a cool reason for a name.

I approached my dear dad one day, demanding the reasons behind my terribly boring name. It was his call, after my mom named my older sister, and he had full responsibility for this atrocity.

“Well,” said Dad, “I always liked the story of Jacob and Rachel from the Bible. Jacob loved Rachel from the moment he met her, and he was devoted to her her entire life, and long after she died he remembered the love he had for her.”

If you ignore the Leah person in the tale (and how Rachel treated her in a very selfish jerk manner, and how Jacob was very ungracious with the situation, and how her dad Laban forced her into a lifelong lesson of learning that a man’s love does not complete you (which is a great lesson, but the situation was pretty awful)) it’s a heartwarming love story.

Cool! I’m back on the Princess track!

One day, a gallant gentleman is going to spot me from across a room or mountain trail or beach or whatever, be completely smitten, take me out for a seafood broil or a nice salmon steak as he falls in love with me based on my ability to read a menu, propose under a waterfall as a cello plays in the background, and whisk me away for a Grecian honeymoon. Because, you know, he got really rich off of his uncle and has sheep money to spare.

Greece was totally in the undertones of the Biblical story. They were close-ish.


Well then..

Not only did Boyfriend not completely fall for me after our first conversation – which I don’t know why not, I’m sure I was ravishing – but his name is not Jacob, he did not work for 14 years to earn me (the nerve!), he couldn’t hack it on a farm, and he most definitely will not add me on as his second wife after he makes a drunken mistake.

He wouldn’t be opposed to 12 kids, but we are not only not having that many, we are doing it the old-fashioned way which is not the same as the Old Testament way of using your handmaiden as an alternate wife in the bedroom.

When you get down to the nitty gritty, I’m pretty glad I haven’t taken after my namesake too much.

Although the jury is still out on that life-long devotion part. And the wealthy part. I like both. Both favorites!

OK one is clearly more favorite than the other, but I had to throw in some Brian Regan for when Boyfriend reads this.

The point of this post, I think, is that I’m going to more than likely name one of my daughters Elizabeth.

She’ll probably hate it. And when she comes to me demanding why I laid this atrocity on her, I will patiently explain that I am trying to live vicariously through her and when she is old enough to get a job she can pay to change it.

As for the rest of my life as a plain old Rachel, you know what? I don’t have to have a rhyme-able name to be happy. I don’t have to have a name that is only .01% of the population to feel unique. I define my name, my name doesn’t define me.

Yeah, that’s definitely just a bunch of hooey balooey I’m saying to make myself feel better.

Whatever. I’ll totally dominate you at the alphabet name game. My middle name has four letters.


Answers to: “11 Questions Every Twentysomething Should Ask”

Inspired by this article that kept popping up on my news feed.

1. Do the people I’m surrounded by bring me life?


On a similar angle, I am reminded of the questions What careers do the people who you spend the most time with have? and On average, what do the five people you spend the most time with make?

My friends’ careers are: teacher, TA for an autistic school, counselor at RTF, nurse, IT, engineer sales, executive assistant, JD/MBA candidate, Navy JAG…the only possible pattern is helping people, with a side of law and technology.

As far as salary, that also covers a wide range. But, I will also say, there is not a strong love of money among my closest friends. We value life, love, people, joy, giving, breaking bread together, laughing till our sides hurt, and celebrating life’s milestones.

“Your life will resemble the lives of your closest friends—does that fact excite you or freak you out?”

Excites me. My friends are strong. Generous. Forgiving. Understanding. Fierce. All things I value and aspire to. And they all make enough to pay rent and mortgages, put food on the tables, and start families. Or, they find ways to make it work.

Creative. Persevering. Hopeful. Hard working.

2. Who inspires me the most?

I have never known how to answer this question. Is it bad that I’m not inspired?

It’s not that I’m not inspired. It’s that I can’t think of just one person who inspires me in every way. My parents are entrepreneurial. My mother is self-sacrificial, my father honest and hard-working.

I don’t know. Ghandi was peaceful. Mother Theresa was giving. Corrie ten Boom was courageous. All of those traits are equally inspiring.

3. What are my favorite stories?

The Ordinary Princess. Ella Enchanted (book, not movie). Cinderella (mostly the  Book of Virtues version).

“Is there a common thread that runs through each story?”

A young girl who has or appears to have a major weakness, but she is strong of character and fights for and pursues the life she wants, valuing what she will and not what people tell her is important. Well, Cinderella doesn’t really fight. And the Disney version annoys me the more I think about it. But when she is not being terribly wimpy, she is very selfless and patient.

4. Would I want to live with me?


5. Do I love from my insecurities or do I love from my strengths?

Both. Constantly trying and learning how to love more from my strengths. To give instead of ask.

6. Where am I ripe with talent and where do I quickly deflate?

“Then focus on the things you’re good at.”

Hmmm. I’m talented at:

Talking/public speaking – Getting really excited about ideas and encouraging people to pursue them – Baking – Trying new things – Saying ridiculous things without meaning to – Learning; I pick up things quickly – Waxing philosophical – Writing – Dancing

I’m not so talented at:

Photography – Singing – Running – Keeping in touch with people – Being on time – Getting out of parking tickets – Remembering things (so I write them down)

7. What are my favorite hobbies/things I do for fun, and are they something I can leverage into a career or product?

I love story telling; I always made up bedtime stories for my little siblings growing up, and maintained I would be a storyteller when I grew up.

I’m not great at telling stories in person. I’m bad a jokes too–I never keep the right amount of suspense for the punch line. In fact, I usually forget the punch line! But I’m OK at writing them. More importantly, I love writing them.

Baking. I am starting to make that a side income.

Dancing. You never know. One of my friends/employers has fashioned a career from dancing, so there’s always that. I would love that, actually. Dancing is storytelling, really.

8. What’s the main thing holding me back?

For writing? The last time I sat down to try to write a book was when I was roughly 11 years old. Something about castles and evil uncles and a female heroine being very self-sufficient and strong. I just wrote the first chapter. Her name was Elizabeth and she was being chased through the woods on a horse. It was probably raining. I can’t remember where she was going.

I have never tried to write anything since then. I think I’m afraid it won’t be ‘good enough.’ Chances are it won’t be. Even most good writers have decades of oblivion before writing something that makes money or gets any sort of attention.

For Baking, just the startup costs and things. But Pittsburgh is awesome and I’m going to just start in the Strip, or at farmer’s markets and things.

For Dancing, well, I definitely haven’t invested the time to even be close to make a career of any sort out of it!

9. What are my negotiables and non-negotiables?

Non-negotiables: I want to have a life outside of work. I like my family and my friends. I like seeing people outside of my computer screen and phone. Now, if my work is field-based or something where I am running around like crazy and people are everywhere, that I could do for 80 hours a week.

Negotiables: I like new places. I would move to one.

10. What breaks my heart?

Human trafficking. Women and girls who don’t know their worth. Women and girls who provide a negative role model for other women and girls, encouraging them to downgrade their worth.

11. At 29 years and 364 days, if I have accomplished just one thing, what do I want it to be?

Oh gosh. I’m so bad at these questions. My 20s have a lot in them already!

I’ve moved to two new cities: one of them completely on the other side of the world, and one of them without job prospects. I’ve taken some pretty big risks, and had moments of doubt. I’ve traveled solo, made best friends for a day, learned how to be comfortable with myself and accepting of others, and felt 100% at peace and happy. I’ve loved and lost and loved again. I’ve made bad decisions and learned from them. I’ve learned so much from my financial decisions–what the value of money is, and the difference between not needing money to be happy and needing money to pay rent. I examined and heavily questioned everything I grew up believing and made it my own. I even jumped out of a plane!

Those are all big things!

The first thing that came to mind? Making my parents grandparents. Sounds lame. Especially with all the feminist-centered reading I do. But that would be really, really great.

The second thing: complete a triathlon. Not sure on that, on account of hating running. We’ll see.

Professionally? Maybe I should start working on a book. I had some crazy dreams in Korea, and finally had the sense to write one of them down before they stopped. Definitely has potential.

I will say this: this is a great example of my main ‘problem.’ I don’t know what I want to do, so I am doing nothing. There is so much pressure on doing amazing things, and being that person everyone envies, and accomplishing so much everyone wants to shake your hand, that I am left feeling pathetic at doing only good things.

Good should be enough.

I will think less, and do more. I so dearly love to think and contemplate it gets in the way of accomplishing and taking action.

Back to the question. What is my ONE GOAL for my twenties?

Ahahah, I just had the urge to say, “I need more time to think about it.” Gah! It’s just so much pressure! And limiting!

OK….design a fashion line, write a book, have a farmer’s market bakery, be in a dance troupe/on a dance team, build a piece of furniture for my house, go on a live-aboard, have a kid (!!), get a pet, meet Stephen Colbert..

AH! That’s it! If I can accomplish one thing in my twenties, I want to hang out with Stephen Colbert.

“Why would you jump out of a perfectly good plane?”

I think those were my Aunt M’s words.

It’s a fair question, really. One my sister S and I didn’t really think about when we agreed to do just that.

Let me tell you something about skydiving. If you talk to bunches of people–like I did–who tell you that skydiving is no big deal because you don’t even feel like you’re falling–like they told me–don’t believe them for a second.

S and I got all dressed up in our jumpsuits, and everything was fine.

We went through the basic instructions on how to bend your legs and put your arms back, and everything was fine.

We got in a plane and enjoyed a nice scenic view of the Blue Ridge, and everything was fine.

Our wrist monitors showing our altitude slowly climbed. 1,000 feet, then 2,000 feet, and on up. At around 5,500 feet (a.k.a., just over a mile), the ‘parachute tester’ in our plane jumped out. And that is when the choice words started coming out of my mouth.

He just fell. Out of a perfectly good plane.

Typical jumps are from 9,500 feet. He was testing a new parachute though, so he jumped right at 5,500 feet, which is where you are supposed to open your chute. Because of course, if the parachute doesn’t work, it’s much safer to fall from 5,500 feet than from the whole 9,500.

via Google Images

(via Google Images)

At 9,500 feet (almost two miles, just so you’re aware), it was our turn. S fell first–‘diving’ is definitely a better term than jumping for this sport–and then I was up.

We scooted over to the open door, my tandem jumper and I, and then I was just dangling in mid-air looking out over the tops of mountains and at the mini-houses and roads below me and the almost two miles of empty air between me and them.

My tandem jumper sat on the very edge, so I was on hanging out off the edge of his knees. Let me tell you, that does not feel safe or secure in any way. I am getting mini adrenaline rushes just remembering.

I tried, like so many people before me, to grab the sides of the door. Then I remembered I had to hug my chest so I didn’t lose a hand when the instructor jumped.

I screamed the whole time. I’m not even going to front like I was brave. I wasn’t worried or scared, I was just flat out freaked the you-know-what out

These last three paragraphs took only about as many seconds, mind you.

And then we weren’t in the plane anymore. And then I was SO MAD at anyone who had ever told me skydiving doesn’t feel like falling.

YES IT DOES. You fall for 4,000 feet BEFORE YOUR PARACHUTE OPENS. That’s almost a MILE. Of FALLING. Of COURSE you feel like you’re falling!

The first 1,000 feet was the worst. When I left that plane, my stomach stayed seated comfortably in the door jamb while the rest of me fell for half a mile.

Then I started to remember all the leg and arm bending I was supposed to be doing.

Then Tandem Jumper opened our parachute.

My screams had turned to laughing somewhere between 8,000 and 6,000 feet, so by that time I was just flying high.

Pun semi-intended.

The ride down was better than any carnival ride. We would yank down on the right hand steering handle to make us go into a tight tale spin. We would turn far to the right and then far to the left and then back again so we swung around and around in circles.

I might be tempted to dive again, just for the parachute part of it.

S landed perfectly…until her instructor fell on top of her. Geeze.

My landing was beauteous. Just stepped right up onto the grass.

It really was a gorgeous day for it, too. Couldn’t have asked for better weather, or a better jumping partner.

Any skydive that ends with you in once piece is just peachy keen in my book.

Falling and loving it

Falling and loving it. Thank you Blue Ridge Skydiving Adventures!

Getting ready to land!

Getting ready to land!

After the jump--gotta look fly to fly! (I'm so funny today, bahaha)

After the jump–gotta look fly to fly! (I’m so funny today, bahaha)

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.