January 6, 2011: a is for appropriate

This is why grocery shopping is so difficult. Thanks for helping me push the cart, Bippy.


January 11, 2011: a new segment

You know how back in the good old days when Weekend Update was hosted by Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler, they
used to have a segment within the segment called “REALLY?! With Seth and Amy,” and they’d basically go off on
whatever the most ridiculous news of the day was? And you know how there is this TV Show/Blog/Book called “S#%t
My Dad Says”? Well, I’ve decided to combine these two things to make one awesome segment within my blog
called “P@@P My Mom Says.”

The other day I told my Mom how much it cost me to sign up for the Windermere Marathon this year, and she said…

“You have to pay someone to run 26 miles? That’s not smart. Just run it, if you want to, I will make you a shirt.”

From now on, I’ll just title each entry “P@@P My Mom Says.”


January 23, 2011: bloody mess

STIPULATION: This post may or may not make readers of the male-persuasion uncomfortable. No, it’s not all about periods but I do plan on making an ovulation-related joke and if you can’t handle reading about feminine hygiene products then it’s probably best you stop reading now.

As you all don’t already know, I plan on running a marathon this year. Why? Because it’s fun! Also because it’s on my bucket list and I figured that 2011 was as good as any year to get it over with. Oh! And I made a new friend at Bloomsday last year who is an experienced marathoner and I’m trying to make her be my best friend so I decided the best way to go about that would be to act as a running partner. If she doesn’t kill me with all this training, then I’m sure we’ll live a long and happy life as the best of running buddies.

The problem, dear readers, is that living in Spokane does not provide the optimum climate for running outdoors and until the weather improves most cardio has to be done on a treadmill. In a gym. Where there are other people. Who sweat and force the indoor temperature up too many degrees. Which in turn makes it necessary to wear shorts. And what happens when we wear shorts? That’s right, we expose our legs to the public and therefore it is necessary to keep up with shaving of said body part.

I don’t know about any of you ladies, but I’ve been shaving my legs since I was in the fifth grade (thank you, French and German heritage). I mean, you can only walk around with one eyebrow for so long before your Mom forces you to start plucking and once the eyebrow maintenance starts the legs are sure to follow. One would think that after 15 years handling a Bic razor I’d be capable of avoiding cuts or nicks or any sort of shaving-induced injuries. NOPE!

On Thursday night after my run (at the gym on a treadmill next to a guy who smelled like backside of Rock City Grill), I took a shower and shaved my legs in preparation for the following day’s exposed leg run. I cut myself behind my right knee. “Profuse” is not a grand enough word to describe the amount of blood the poured out of my skin. Three days later I’m still feeling faint due to blood loss, otherwise I’d bother to use a thesaurus for a better word.

Since I no longer have a nurse for a roommate, and am apparently an unprepared adult, I have no band-aids, gauze, athletic tape, cotton balls, or any other means of bandaging wounds. I’m also not resourceful enough to knock on my neighbor’s door to ask her for a band-aid either. However, I DO have plenty of panty-liners AND curling ribbon I use to wrap gifts. Also scotch tape and scissors.

It really wasn’t much of a cut at all, I just thought it would be funny to put this picture on my blog. In fact, I still think it’s funny. I don’t even have a scab now or anything. So my craft supply band-aid was all for not. However, I believe this incident served to set precedent for all future injuries to take place in my apartment. By “future injuries” I mean the following story…

Today my Mom drove my sister and a couple of her friends back to Cheney from the Tri-Cities. After dropping them off at school, Mom continued into town to visit me. We had a visit, drank some coffee, then walked over to Roseaur’s to get a baguette and a tomato to make fake-bruschetta. (I’m sure I’ll be posting that recipe as a video soon because Mom and I decided I need my own cooking show, except its the only thing I know how to make so the show will just be me making the same thing over and over again. Riveting.) We got back to the apartment and I started slicing up the baguette to be dipped in EVOO and then placed in the oven on a cookie sheet for a few minutes. I had cut a few slices then switched to dipping the bread so Mom took up the slicing responsibilities.

About two seconds later there was blood everywhere. No, there wasn’t. But she did slice herself pretty good. Mom doesn’t scream or yell when things like this happen, it’s just a very sharp intake of breath and then the rest of us (just me) are left wondering how bad the injury really is. Turns out this time it was pretty bad. There was blood on the knife and everything! Mom immediately grabbed paper towels and put pressure on the cut, I got her an ice cube and we tried best we could to stem the bleeding. A few minutes later the flow had slowed down enough for us to grab (WHAT ELSE???) a panty-liner and wrapped it securely around her left index finger.

While Mom was nursing her cut, I finished the fake-bruschetta and set it on the coffee table. We sat down to snack and I had to scoop up Mom’s first bite for her because she was busy keeping her left hand elevated. When she made to take the bread from me I caught a glimpse of her hand and that’s when I fainted. No, not really. But I was severely grossed out. There is a reason I settled for my $2/hour job instead of pursuing a degree in nursing. Blood is gross and I hate it. Well, I love it because it keeps me alive but I don’t need to see it.

You can’t see it very well but am I still going to say it? Yes. I bleed less than that when I’m on my period. I am not even kidding.

We finished our snack and then it was time for Mom to head home. Before she left we decided to change her bandage so unwrapping the first panty-liner we quickly exchanged it with a fresh one. Given the panty-liner’s adhesive nature, we didn’t even need tape. I will say that the best part of the day was watching Mom try to get her arm through her jacket without sticking the panty-liner to the inside of her sleeve. She did finally get her arm through but not without complications.

Aunt Keen: I apologize for my numerous use of the word “panty.” At least I didn’t say “Clint” or “moist”!! Wait…


January 29, 2011: smallgroupsays

I had to make a new category for filing posts under. It’s called “GREAT IDEAS” because I have many of them, the following probably being the best so far.

Last summer I joined a small group of girls, most of whom also attend the same church as me. We meet on Monday nights and discuss our lives, encourage one another, and spend much of our weekly meetings laughing with each other. It’s fantastic.

I have a habit of writing down all the hilarious things I hear. I’ve always carried a notebook with me for this purpose. I think its because in one of David Sedaris’ books he talks about how he carries a notepad to write book ideas down on from time to time. My notebooks so far have only served as a reminder of hilarity gone by. But now, thanks to modern technology and my generation’s obsession with talking about ourselves (30 Rock), these saved quotes will be put to use!

Introducing: smallgroupsays.

Here is a blog that’ll be full of our discussions, usually the more ridiculous ones, but hopefully we’ll also have reasonable thoughts to share along the way.

You’re welcome, world.


February 1, 2011: providence

OR IRONY. Depending on how bitter you are one day or not. In my case, I have no excuse to be bitter so I’m going with providence.

Today was one of those days that Pastor Dave talks about. The kind where everything happens so sequentially you have no choice but to believe that the Lord is watching out for you. I suppose you do have a choice, and that’s what faith is, but today things happened so perfectly that I sort of think some things might just be absolute and you don’t have to choose to “believe” anything because it’s so obvious already.

I have an idea! How about I stop using pro-nouns and explain my story! Good idea.

On any normal Tuesday I’d be at my full-time job from 8:00 to 5:00, but in an effort to save the company some dollars and spare any lay-offs, we’re all participating in a work-sharing program. Basically I get one day off a week. In an effort to supplement my one day off, I’ve been trying for hours at Gap and thankfully my managers there are obliging and helpful. So, today I got up and went to Gap at 7:00am for shipment. When work was done I drove a co-worker (who lives in the same neighborhood) home, and then intended to go home myself but remembered a few things I needed to take care of first. Usually when I go home it involves drinking coffee and/or taking a nap. In other words, super unproductive. Trying to evade my own laziness though, I headed to the car wash and then the gas station.

Spokane winters are hard on cars. The chemicals from the de-icer they put on the roads will get all over your car and if you care at all about it’s paint job or your muffler system, it’s a good idea to get the car washed from time to time. I drove through the car wash then directly across the street to the gas station. While I was topping off my tank I noticed that the front left tire which gets low on air from time to time, was a bit lower than usual. Last weekend my Dad had reminded me I could just drive it into Les Schwab anytime to get the tires checked. So that’s what I did.

I went to the South Hill Les Schwab, because that’s where I got my last set of tires and the downtown one creeps me out. I parked the car, went inside, and told the dude that my tires needed rotating and I thought the front driver’s side tire might be a little low. An hour later some poor Les Schwab guy comes in to the lobby and says, “Miss Hopp? I have a report for you, and it’s not good news.” Without going into details that I personally don’t understand, it came down to needing four new tires, new brakes and rotors on the back wheels, and an alignment check for the front axel (or whatever it is). I said to him, “Hey guy, speak to me in dollars because that’s all I understand.” He said $960.

Now, I understand it’s a thing that girls of my rank and status in the world will get taken advantage of by car-service people. But generally speaking, I trust the Les Schwab guys and on top of it he showed me the GAPING hole in the tire that I just thought was “low.” And the brakes cost exactly what they did when I had my Dad get a quote for me last summer. Yes, last summer. Shut up, I’m poor.

Well friends, when Mr. Schwab showed me the break-down of costs, I nearly lost it. I also felt bad for Mr. Schwab because I could tell he really didn’t want to give me the bad news and wanted even less to see some random girl cry in front of him. But, guess who’s two thumbs, sound presence of mind, and hasn’t cried once today?? THIS MOI!

Mr. Schwab informed me that my tires and breaks were so bad that he couldn’t let me leave the premises without buying replacements. This hardly seems legal but at the same time I guess their insurance policy doesn’t cover much, just like everyone else’s. I told him to go ahead with the operation and to make haste, because I had nothing to do this afternoon, I’m just impatient and don’t want to sit in a lobby smelling of tires and stale popcorn all day.

This is the part where I start talking about Jesus.

Last weekend I was in Tri-Cities for a wedding, and went to church with my parents on Sunday morning. I’ll be honest, I have a real hard time paying attention in church. I mean, if he was talking to me one on one I’d probably remember every word, but unless I have a notepad I rarely get anything out of a sermon. Except this little nugget: Pastor Dave was talking about Jacob and how toward the end of his life he’d lost his son Joseph to Egypt (but Jacob thought Joseph had died years ago), then his son Simeon was being held captive in Egypt, and then Jacob was asked to send his youngest son to Egypt (who he loved the most) to get the older one (Simeon) back. So Jacob is all “WHY IS EVERYTHING AGAINST ME?!?!” but if you read the story of Jacob you know that his entire life up to that point had been incredibly blessed by God. Please see Genesis. Doesn’t matter if you believe in Jesus or not, Genesis is just good literature. Anyway, Pastor Dave was pointing out something about how Jacob was instantly all “woe is me” but why did he not just trust God when God had been more than faithful to him his entire life? I don’t remember where Pastor Dave went after that, I just remember that part.

Then last night, I was at small group. We were discussing Psalm 103 and the first few verses (1-5) are all about remembering the work God has done in the psalmists (David’s) life. Like, giving thanks to God because of how good He’s been to us. We went on about that for awhile in group, and some of the girls shared stories about hardships they’ve dealt with in life and how God has been faithful to them through those dark and difficult times. Then I had to go and talk about how my life is really easy, and has been forever, which makes me think one of two things: 1. I’m not very tough and God knows it so He doesn’t send me anything I can’t handle (1 Cor. 10:13), or 2. Something really bad is going to happen to me very soon.

So, those two situations happened in the last 72 hours and I’d be a complete idiot to forget the things I’ve learned or heard and not apply them to my own situation. Like I was sharing in small group last night, my life IS incredibly easy… because I have been blessed by an amazing God. I don’t know why, but I’m definitely not mad about it. So, when an unfortunate situation like spending $960 dollars unexpectedly and unavoidably comes up, who am I to cry out in frustration when God has always met my needs before, and He will meet them this time too.

In fact, He already did. Months ago, really, but I didn’t see it at the time.

Two months ago I signed up for a credit card. I’d never had one before but Dad thought it’d be a good idea to start building good credit and to have in case of emergencies (ding! WINNER!). A week ago I filed my taxes and was fortunate to have a return this year. Do you want to guess how much it was? $960. I had intended to finish paying off my car with that, and I won’t pretend like it isn’t a disappointment to still have to make a monthly car payment for awhile, but at least I have new tires!

As I mentioned earlier, I went to the South Hill Les Schwab today and just as I had gotten the bad news and was prepared to sit and wait for everything to be fixed for two hours, my friend Bradley showed up to get a tire change as well. Even though his car was done long before mine, he stayed and visited with me the whole time! We sat and discussed life and careers. It was a huge blessing. I’m so glad he married one of my best friends!

And, as the piece de resistance… I had planned to go grocery shopping today, beef jerky was on my list (protein and sodium, win!). Les Schwab is running a deal right now, and for purchasing four new tires you get a box of beef jerky. I mean seriously, as if the whole situation wasn’t providential enough, it turns out God has a sense of humor. Or at least, I thought it was funny.

After I had paid and was heading out the door I thanked Mr.Schwab for fixing my car and told him that he probably saved my life from an exploding tire, which was good because I’m very funny and the world needs me. He said, “the world hates you??” I said, “No! The world NEEDS me!” and he said, “Yes, they do.” So, I’m expecting an “I Saw You” in The Inlander anytime next week.

The point is, friends, that my life continues to be easy. Mom and Dad texted me encouraging things while I was sitting at the tire place, I had time to catch up on facebook via my phone, and I got a blog post out of it all.

Thank You, Lord. For my life. For my family and friends. For solutions before a problem even occurs. For a sense of humor. And thank You Lord for… beef jerky.


February 5, 2011: megan is number one ipa

Today my sister is sad. All of the students she’s been mentoring for the last five months are returning to Japan. As Megan put it when I asked what she’s doing today: “Goodbye party and then staying awake until 4am, then take kittens to airport. Then die.”

There are so many things I want to say about my sister that I’m finding it difficult to type anything cohesive at all! I guess the best place to start is just by saying that I’ve never been so impressed by Megan, as I have been in these last few months.

EWU has this program called AUAP, which stands for Asia University America Program. So basically, a group of students travel to the States from different countries in Asia to attend Eastern for five months. They take classes, participate in various sports, take trips around the States, and learn English together. When the students come, they’re assigned in groups to International Peer Advisers (who are older, American students at EWU) that mentor the students during their five-month stint. My sister is one of these IPA’s.

It all started last year when Megan, as a student, made close friends among the visiting Japanese students. She spent all of her time with them, and I remember her flickr stream switching from pictures of roommates to pictures of Japanese students. Any time I would text her to see if she was busy, she was. And it was always something to do with AUAP. Last spring quarter she applied to be an IPA, and was accepted immediately. This year she moved back to the dorms a few weeks before classes started, and was there to welcome her own group of students.

Megan is the youngest in our family, and as such I’m guessing her leadership skills had been lying dormant for years simply because she never really needed them before. Dad takes care of everything, and when it’s just Megan and I, I take care of everything on account of my bossy personality. But when left to her own devices as far as her group of students were concerned, she rose to the challenge. In fact, more than rose to the challenge. I think when it comes to being an IPA, Megan takes it to a whole new level.

I’ve been in leadership roles before, and I understand how it can get difficult. How your own selfish nature can take over, and there are times when you don’t want to help anyone, times when you just want to sit alone in your room and watch Gilmore Girls without interruption. Or times when you’d rather make a joke than address someone’s serious emotional problem because it’s easier than getting to know that person on a deeper level.

But I think these are all my own inadequacies, and Megan doesn’t have them. Or if she does, she’s super good at hiding them. It’s her stories about the tough times that are so inspiring. Stories about how she’s defended her students, or mediated arguments… she’s just so brilliant I wish I could talk details of other people’s situations, but that probably wouldn’t be respectful. I just want everyone to understand how fantastic and kind my sister is. I guess that’s part of being awesome, maybe only a few people will ever know the depth of awesomeness. I’m just glad I’m one of them as far as my sister is concerned.

Every other day for the last five months, Megan’s flickr has been updated with pictures of her students and those pictures all document their growing bond of friendship. Today is difficult for Megan. It’s always so hard to say goodbye, and my heart is breaking for hers. But, in a few months (Lord willing) she will get to see her friends again… and in a few weeks another cycle of students will arrive and she’ll make new friends who will eventually be just has hard to say goodbye to. (That’s right, Megan was chosen out of a bunch of other IPA’s to continue on for Cycle Two of AUAP this year, bragging!)

Megan, you are so badass and someday, when I grow up, I want to be as awesome as you.


February 14, 2011: happy valentime’s day!

…or, as the text from Grandpa Paul read, “Happy V D.”

Here is the thing, I love Valentine’s Day. I don’t care if it was started by some saint way back when, if it’s actually a pagan holiday that Christians have been tricked into celebrating, or if Hallmark really did just make it all up… the point is, I usually get free candy and cookies and I have no complaints about that. Also, I usually get teased pretty good about being single and in the case of an attention-seeker, any publicity is good publicity.

Today, while the ladies in my office were collaborating with ladies in other offices to set me up for Valentine’s Day, I would periodically check my facebook on my phone to read people’s status updates. There were a lot of angry-about-being- single ones, but there were also some really beautiful ones, so I kept track of them to post here:

“Who knew that asking me to coffee could lead to all this? 17 years of nuthin’ but bliss! Anywhere with you, Toby. Anywhere with you.”

“History behind Valentine’s Day: Pilgrims needed love, so Indians brought them dates, and shared mash potatoes and turkey with them. The most famous date was Pocahontas and John Rolfe.” -Jared

Then two minutes later his wife posted this:

“Twice or thrice had I loved thee before I knew thy face or name, so in a voice, so in a shapeless flame, angels affect us oft, and worshiped be. PS – pick up some diapers on your way home! Thx babe!” -Lacey

Another friend posted a picture of flowers she had been given and wrote, “Thank you Ryder! I am so lucky to have you! I love you HUGE!”

Tonight at smallgroup we got in a pink-heart-shaped-marshmallow fight, and I think that’s love. A few weeks ago I emailed my friend Ashley from work that I was hungry and not ten minutes later she showed up in our lobby with two bags of chips for me. I think that’s love too. Today my Dad texted me and my Mom sent me a box of heart-shaped cookies in the mail. That is definitely love. On Saturday my Grandma randomly stopped by my house and stayed to share a cup of coffee. She loves me. This morning I tripped on the curb just before getting into my car and scrapped my knee on the cement. I did not love that.

A couple months ago my bestie and I were sitting on the living room floor at my parent’s house reading through old letters I had written to her the first year I had gone off to college and she was at home. The card I sent to her for Valentine’s Day that year is priceless, and though I’d love to post the whole thing here, I still have a sense of shame and can only put up the last bit.

Happy Valentine’s Day and LOL! For serious.


February 18, 2011: p@@p my mom says: #0002

From: Michelle
Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2011 7:56 AM
To: Rochelle
Subject: ha

I got told this morning that once I turn 30 my eyesight will start going.


From: Rochelle
Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2011 7:54 AM
To: Michelle
Subject: RE: ha

By who???


From: Michelle

Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2011 8:01 AM
To: Rochelle
Subject: RE: ha

An old blind guy, but still…


February 22, 2011: smallgroup last night

…was particularly fantastic. Please click here.

Our small group leader (not sure I should give out her name, haven’t asked her yet!) is amazing. She’s one of those people you just always want to be around for all the right reasons. Like, you leave after spending time with her feeling like a better person for it. I’ll just refer to her as M because that’s who she is on smallgroupsays.

I met M about three years ago when I was still new to Spokane. The first weekend I spent in town I visited New Community with my Mom as part of my “church shopping” process. I’ve never been a great shopper though, and stopped after one try. That first Sunday I filled out a welcome card, and put my name down to join a small group. Later that week I got an email from M telling me where I needed to show up and that she was excited to meet me. I went to that first small group meeting and I don’t remember much of it except for a couple faces, one of them was M’s.

I left Spokane after a few months due to what I’ll call “economic reasons” and then, more than a year after I moved back I found out that our old smallgroup had disbanded and reformed with a few new members, but M was still at the helm. Last summer I rejoined and have found it to be a huge blessing in my life ever since. I think that is due in large part to M’s infectious personality, her enthusiasm for her faith and her sincerity. She is one of those Christians who is so good at it that instead of making you feel like crap for falling short in so many areas, she just makes you re-evaluate and want to be better like her.

The best part is that she has no idea how fantastic she is.

Thank you, M, for being my friend.


February 26, 2011: a spoonful of sugar is just gross

I’ve been listening to the Harry Potter series audiobooks for the last few weeks (read: years, on repeat, one through seven, back to one again), and it’s going to my head because using magic would be SO AWESOME.

Pause: I’m not talking about the creepy, voo-doo, cartoon-Rasputin kind of magic. More like Mary Poppins or I Dream of Jeanie.

A couple weeks ago I was helping run shipment in the early morning. We were processing the new baby product first when I opened one of the boxes and out fell (oh yes)… butterfly wings and matching magic wands. Naturally I wore the wings for the rest of my shift. People got a lot of work done with me standing on a display, directing them with my wand.

I didn’t buy the wings or wand that day because I had to go to the gym right after work and as much as I’d love to wear wings while running (maybe they’d make me faster?), I do not appreciate armpit chaffing and the shoulder straps are pretty tight. One size does NOT fit all.

Having no real reason to purchase these accessories, I resigned myself to admiring them from the adult side of the store during each successive shift. I won’t lie, it was extremely difficult to resist. BUTTERFLY WINGS. Come on!

After a couple weeks though, my relief arrived in the form of a birthday-party invite! A co-worker was giving a party and requested a costume of sorts. THANK YOU, DAWN!!!

Just so everyone knows, the wand doesn’t work properly. My apartment is still a mess and since I can’t snap my fingers
there is no hope.


March 3, 2011: kb

This is why Keri is one of my best friends:

From: Keri
Sent: Thursday, March 03, 2011 8:29 AM
To: Rochelle
Subject: RE: for your entertainment

“That was your first year at company!!! We did everything that year; celebrated 4th of July together, told each other our life stories, became friends, went to NY, hated on a certain co-worker together, got laid off…… wait, that was just you. But yeah, for the most part, one the best years of my life!”

Ahhhh, Keri… where would I be without you? Well, probably sitting right here updating my blog but it’d be about someone else. That other person couldn’t be near as entertaining as you though. Thank you for being my friend.


March 8, 2011: life plan

From: Michelle <3
Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2011 1:02 PM
To: Rochelle
Subject: Re: “according to my DNA database, you are a direct descendant of our third president.”

Oops, I just realized it was my turn to email. Unfortunately I have nothing of interest to say. Maybe I need to take some quality time to work up a good story about my “love life” to keep us entertained for a while. Or maybe that’s too weird.

From: Rochelle
Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2011 1:05 PM
To: Michelle <3
Subject: Re: “according to my DNA database, you are a direct descendant of our third president.”

I really think you should become desperate, here is why:

You could be the girl at church or something that everyone sort of groans about because she’s so melodramatic when it comes to her relationships or lack thereof. Then you could start a blog about all your romantic misadventures, and we’d get to see the world through the eyes of an actually hopeless “hopeless romantic.” Then, when your blog gains popularity and notoriety (due to the shameless comments you make about perfectly respectable young men), you’ll be able to turn it into a book, of which exclusive rights will eventually be sold to Warner Brothers, and the whole thing will become a movie. On that day, you should invite me to the red carpet premiere of your movie (which will be starring Amanda Seyfried as you, and Emma Stone as me), since I’m the one giving you the idea after all.

From: Michelle <3
Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2011 1:25 PM
To: Rochelle
Subject: Re: “according to my DNA database, you are a direct descendant of our third president.”

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh wow. I really think this is a role that you would play better than me. Don’t you think? Also, I think you got the better deal w/Emma Stone. Just saying.

From: Rochelle
Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2011 1:27 PM
To: Michelle <3
Subject: Re: “according to my DNA database, you are a direct descendant of our third president.”

Listen, Emma Stone is sarcastic and rolls her eyes well so she’d have to play me, duh. Amanda Seyfried is better at being dramatic.

I don’t know if I would play it better… I’ll tell you what I would be good at though: Playing a girl who is deathly afraid of men, but isn’t a lesbian. Unfortunately, my character is too scared to blog so she’ll never get famous.

Michelle, just do it and take one for the team, okay? We’re never going to get famous unless you become desperate and let me direct behind the scenes.

From: Michelle <3
Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2011 1:45 PM

To: Rochelle
Subject: Re: “according to my DNA database, you are a direct descendant of our third president.”

I think Selena Gomez should play me. HA! Just kidding.

Ok, is this really the ONLY plan you can come up with for us to get famous? I’m really not sure I’m cut out to be desperate.

From: Rochelle
Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2011 1:49 PM
To: Michelle <3
Subject: Re: “according to my DNA database, you are a direct descendant of our third president.”

Michelle, it’s an act. You think Charlie Sheen is a big deal because he’s actually crazy? Probably. But I think he planned it too.

Better example: James Franco. He basically planned his whole life out ahead of time, and he’s following his plan, and it’s working. So, I think this is a pretty solid plan. I will ride on the coattails of your fame until I can’t handle it anymore and I fall apart in a pool of drugs and drunkenness.

Then, when I hit rock bottom, I’ll have a “see the light” moment and eventually become a famous televangelist… only by then TV will be a thing of the past so I’ll be a viral-vangelist. That sounds dirty. And it probably is. Anyway, that’s how I’ll get rich and famous.

By that time you’ll have moved on to your “George Clooney” phase of fame; since you’ve made it as an actress by this point it’ll be time to become an activist. I will be stealing money from old people as a viral-vangelist, and you’ll be saving the orphans in Africa from some new, mutant disease (by then AIDS will have been cured, but some rare strain of it will survive and mutate to be the new unsolvable problem).

One day we’ll meet each other, probably in public, you in a white toga that symbolizes peace and simplicity… me in a solid gold halter-top dress that emphasizes the many cosmetic enhancements I’ve had over the years. We’ll stare at each other, you looking at me with compassion, me looking at you wondering how you got your toga so white and if I can hire you as my cleaning lady, and that is when the skies will open up…

To be continued. I have to order this payoff.

From: Michelle <3
Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2011 1:52 PM
To: Rochelle
Subject: Re: “according to my DNA database, you are a direct descendant of our third president.”

So let’s say I accept this mission. What’s my first step? I’m gonna need instructions.


March 8, 2011: karma is a, well…you know

Remember that time I killed Ashley’s fish? She just emailed me this:

from: ashley
sent: tuesday, march 08, 2011 8:33 pm
to: rochelle
subject: (no subject)

are you going to be in town this weekend?

if so, (and against my better judgment) could you feed percival perchance?

that was a joke.


March 26, 2011: i will NOT wear band-aids

So, that marathon is happening in less than two months. A couple weeks ago, Dad bought me new shoes (thank you!) and aside from being very cushiony, they were also a very pretty orange color. I say “were” because this happened yesterday during our long run:

Img_1639.jpg (gross picture, not reposting)

Its okay, I guess, because I like red too.

Personally, I love minor injuries such as these because they make me feel hardcore without experiencing any actual pain. In other words, I am a poser. And I’m perfectly okay with that.


April 4, 2011: six more weeks

Staci emailed me our schedule for the last six weeks of marathon preparation. Let me just say this: It was nice to know you all, and thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog. I’m glad I could be here for you when you were most bored, or when there was nothing better on the internet to look at. By May 15th I don’t expect to have the use of my limbs anymore, short fingers included, so I’m sure blog posts will cease at that point.

Before I go, though, I’d like to share these few pieces of wisdom I’ve gained since the beginning of the year:

1. When you buy new shoes, it will rain the next day. Hard.

2. A band-aid reaches it’s adhesive threshold at five miles.

3. Running uphill is easier than running downhill. Especially when you either a.) ate too much before that 16 miles, or b.) drank too much coffee.

4. Always run with pepper spray (not from personal experience, Staci just says so).

5. Marathon entry fee before March 31st is exactly equal to 11 orders of clucks and fries from Red Robin. Not including tip.

We’re running 18 miles on Friday. Staci says it’ll take two hours and 45 minutes. I say it’ll take six days. We’ll see who’s right about this.

Well, those Thin Mints aren’t going to eat themselves.


i accidentally broke my blog: April 12, 2011   

And now it looks like this.

I was trying to be all smart and update this thing all aloney on my owney, and in the process I managed to delete everything I’ve ever written in the last four years.
FEAR NOT, dear readers.  We have a hero(ine) among us.

Michelle (friend, not Mom) saved all her Google Reader notifications and through a laborious process of copy and pasting, was able to send me all of my old posts.  All 400+ of them.  WHAT A GOOD FRIEND!

Aside from not being a robot like Google thought, Michelle is actually a really interesting person with interesting thoughts and you should read her blog (unless you are Michelle and you are reading this, in which case I say you’ve probably already read your own posts, most likely as you were typing them… good job!).

Thank you, Michelle.  For fixing my blog after I broke it.  You saved me from an evening crying in the back room at Gap.


still confused:  April 13, 2011       

Had to re-upload this photo because guess what… I STILL DON’T KNOW WHICH ONE IS MINE!  Lie.  I do know which is which, the point is that it’s confusing but I’ve come up with a new plan:  Keep my car clean and then I’ll know which is mine.  That, or paint that giant mural of Tina Fey’s cover art from her new book on the hood of the car.


danielle and jeremiah:  April 14, 2011

Are two of my very good friends, and they are adopting.  Click here to read their blog.
I’d elaborate, but reading their story from their own perspective is so much better.  All I can say is that they are two very fantastic people!  Danielle, in addition to many things (such as photographer and fitness instructor), is sister to one of my best friends of all time.  You may know her as Keri Barker.  The Barker’s existence is the very definition of “keepin’ it real” and they married some pretty kickass dudes along the way.


the miller mix:  April 16, 2011

This is my friendly way of getting Meridith to update her blog as often as possible.  By announcing on my blog that she has one of her own, she’ll be forced to continue to update it out of obligation to her faithful readers.  Namely:  Me.

Background:  Meridith has been my best friend for ten years.  We became friends because our parents went to the same church and forced us to join the youth group there in order to keep us from becoming normal teenagers.  I am happy to report that the plans each of our parents set in motion all those years ago came to fruition; we were never normal teenagers.  However, I’m pretty sure we were exactly what every standard, middle-class American parent wants their child to be: safe.  And by that I mean boring.  And by that I mean super hilarious and fun all the time in a way that only we would appreciate.

While so many of our high school friends were smoking pot and shot-gunning beers, we were in my parent’s backyard with yard-waste sized garbage bags over our bodies shot-gunning off-brand Sprite from Albertsons.  We were also part of a gang, formally known as the “Wet Bandits.”  Now, I know what you’re thinking, and you’re exactly right.  The Wet Bandits spent many summer evenings driving to fellow youth group member’s houses and jumping in their pools in the dead of night, waking up the victims and often their neighbors as well.  One time we broke the youth group pastor’s pool cover.  Sorry, Kent.  One year, for Winter Retreat (another youth group function), Meridith and I spent four weeks planning our talent show debut and then showed up on stage that night impersonating Shania Twain.  Yes, there is video.  I’d post it, except Meridith would kill me and I rather enjoy being alive, so video will just have to wait until Mer doesn’t have an internet connection anymore, mk?  Great.

Obviously we couldn’t have done all these things on our own.  Meridith and I had accomplices, our primary choices being Josh and Michael (we called ourselves “The Fab Four”).  Who would have thought all those years ago while TP-ing youth group leader’s houses and watching G-rated movies as a group (sitting at least six inches apart) that Meridith and Michael would one day get married?  Answer:  All of us.  Mike and Mer got married the summer of 2007 and it was perfect.  Three years later they had a baby and named him Jack.  He is officially the cutest baby on the face of the planet and I challenge anyone to post a comment on my blog stating otherwise.  I will delete it.

Meridith and I have always had a solid friendship because we think alike, but we have very different life circumstances.  She will ask me for advice about running, and in turn I will ask her what it’s like to be in a relationship.  In high school we would go to Starbucks constantly (me with a vanilla non-fat latte, and her with a non-fat caramel macchiato) to discuss the very serious points of life, such as why we were so upset our parents wouldn’t buy us the cars we wanted.  Today we go to Starbucks and discuss actually serious things, like our knees hurting and the price of gas and how we don’t have lives on account of being so poor all the time.  I’m pretty sure that is word-for-word what we said the last time we sat at the coffee shop together.

The point is:  Meridith is very important to me and so is her family, so I want er’one to read her blog.  Also, the picture of Jack she has up right now shows him wearing a onesie I bought him.



race for the cure:  April 18, 2011

It’s 4:15am the day after Race for the Cure, and all I’m trying to do is the number two.  I have faith it’ll happen by the time we go run hills.

I wish I’d had a camera with me yesterday because there were some pretty great boob shirts in that mass of people, but if I posted such pictures that might get my blog into a different category of Google searches.

It occurs to me how people feel about watching cross-country races, so I’ll keep this post short and spare people the mile by mile details.  Basically, I ran my fastest 5k since high school yesterday morning and only two little girls beat me.  One of them fell at mile two and somehow managed to pop back up and STILL beat me.  WHAT!  Better yet?  Staci and I tried to move away from them at the beginning of the race so we wouldn’t see them get trampled, or be part of the trampling that was obviously going to happen.  Little tricksters.  Seriously, they were like 10 and 13 years old.  It said so on the results website.

Just for clarity:  Staci beat them, I did not.  Whatever, still ran fast and TOTALLY QUALIFIED FOR BLOOMSDAY SECOND SEED!

If you’re a lady, in order to qualify for the brown group at Bloomsday you have to run under 22:30 at Race for the Cure or any other qualifying 5k.  I’ve been trying to do this for like, 100 years.  Thankfully, this year I have Staci making me feel like I’m going to die three or four times a week which naturally makes me run faster.  WORTH IT!

Well, time to go get killed on hills.  In case anyone was wondering, I went right after I typed that sentence about the number two.  Turns out all I had to do was talk about it to get things moving along.  That, and drink some coffee.  You’re welcome.


yep:  April 19, 2011   

An email from Keri Barker during yesterday’s unexpected snow-storm:

“dear snow,
really?! go melt yourself, i hate you.


classy or trashy?:  April 23, 2011

Mom and I have been watching the Food Network all day trying to find some culinary inspiration.

According to Ina (that’s the Barefoot Contessa to those of you less experienced in Food Network programming), you’re supposed to drink white wines with fish.  She obviously meant the $4.99 bottle from Target and Bumble Bee’s finest tuna.

Standing at the kitchen counter trying to decide if we were classy or trashy, Mom informed me that she hadn’t just made us tuna fish sandwiches and that these were, in fact, canapes.  I said that just because you use  a word I don’t understand, doesn’t make it classy.  There are a lot of words I don’t understand.  For example, “lardoon,” “quenelles,” and “crouton.”  Just kidding, I know what that last one is.  But if you read it and pretend you have a French accent, it sounds more complicated.  Also, I was just kidding about not knowing what any of those terms mean.  I have an iPhone and the wikipedia app, I’m no dummy.

Aunt Keen called while we were still trying to decide if we were classy or trashy and she asked me, “well, was it a tuna steak?”  Ummm… not exactly.  Or maybe it was, I mean… that’s probably how it started out before it ended up shrink-wrapped in a refrigerator-safe bag.  Sometimes the cheapest option is the best option, you know?  Obviously not when you’re choosing a new bra or panty-liner.

In the end, we finished most of the wine and decided it didn’t really matter how classy and/or trashy we are.


who’s ready for bloomsday?:  April 25, 2011

I think Rob is.  VIDEO


smallgroup has a turkey:  April 26, 2011

Please see smallgroupsays for more details. There aren’t any.


eighth time’s a charm?:  May 4, 2011


bloomsday 2011:  May 4, 2011

Best year ever?  Yes.

I’m pretty sure that anyone who reads this blog knows exactly how important Bloomsday is to me.  I ran my first Bloomsday seven years ago, unofficially racing my Dad and assuming I’d beat him due to my cross-country background.  NOPE.  For a really flattering picture from that day, click here.

As it turns out, all I needed to do was prepare as if I was running a marathon instead of all this 12k nonsense.  WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT??  Three and a half months, 550 miles, and 47 blisters (yes, of course I kept count) later… I finally have a Bloomsday time to be proud of.  AND a Brown number.

…it also helps to run/train with someone who is decidedly faster than you are.  More on that later.  I’m talking about Bloomsday right now, thank you very much.

Actually, I’m pretty much done.  Mom and Dad were here, so were Meridith and Michael, and Megan even ran her first Bloomsday!  Oh, and Meridith helped me self-diagnose a current digestive problem I may or may not have, which was disgustingly hilarious.  The best kind of hilariousness.
It just occurred to me that I’ve been uploading Bloomsday pictures and talking about it like it’s the end of the running road.  Then I remembered:  We have a marathon to run 10 days from now.  WHUCK!


smallgroupsays revamped:  May 7, 2011

I was bored.


mom, i love you (still):  May 8, 2011

*This is a re-post from Mother’s Day last year, with an edit because apparently I’ve repressed a few memories.

The subject line says it all, but because its Mother’s Day, and because I love words… let me elaborate.

First of all, I was born on Mother’s Day.  You’re welcome.  My birthday does not fall on Mother’s Day this year though, so back to talking about my Mom.  Here are a series of snapshots, or a sort of “Michelle’s Greatest Parenting Hits” for your enjoyment (and mine):

1991, Moses Lake, WA.  Rochelle age 6, Michelle age 24:
My Mom makes the best sugar cookies ever.  When new neighbors would move in Mom would make her sugar cookies then round up the family to go introduce ourselves and welcome them with a plate of cookies.  Or at least, that was the general idea.  Occasionally cookies would be made and all sorts of things would come up to distract us from going next door to say hi.  I think on this particular day we were simply waiting for Dad to come home from work, and then eat dinner before going next door.  Staying home all day with Mom, the cookies were waiting patiently on a tray to be delivered, but I didn’t want to wait.  All day long I begged Mom for just one cookie.  She never gave in.  At about 4:30 that afternoon, I had finally annoyed her so much she was forced to react.  My punishment for annoying the crap out of my Mom all day and not listening to her the first 800 times she said no?  I had to eat the entire plate of cookies.  I think by the sixth cookie I had started crying, but no, that didn’t matter… still had six to go.  Halfway into the eighth cookie I was allowed to take a break.  Only because it was dinner time.  Then after dinner, it was back to cookie eating.  Eventually, I finished all twelve.

1994, Moses Lake, WA.  Rochelle age 9, Michelle age 27:
During the summer of 1994, my Dad was gone during the week because he was down in the Tri-Cities building a new store for the company he used to work for.  While Dad was in TC, Mom, Megan, and I would spend our days at the Moses Lake community pool, and on rainy days we’d stay home and play with Legos.  I was a huge Lego fan.  They were pretty much the only toy I’d play with until I was 16.  I’m not kidding.  One rainy morning I had made a mess of Legos in the bedroom I shared with my little sister, and Mom asked me to pick up my toys before moving on to Nintendo.  I did not obey.  She had to ask about four or five more times before I finally got around to listening to her.  Putting away Legos was a bit of a chore partly because there were so many, but also because I had a certain way I liked to clean them up.  There was an order, and every set had to go in it’s own box within the bigger boxes kept under the bed and in the closet.  After everything had been put in it’s designated spot, Mom marched in the room, opened every single box and tub of Legos, dumped them all on the floor, looked straight at me and said, “Pick them up AGAIN!”

1997, Kennewick, WA.  Rochelle age 12, Michelle age 30:
In middle school, I hated everything for no good reason.  Maybe my good reason was that I was in middle school.  Anyway, instead of acting out in a traditional, pre-teen way (you know, smoking, sitting in detention every day, getting knocked-up), whenever I would get upset I’d destroy my bedroom.  By “destroy” I mean I’d go rip up blank sheets of paper and throw them everywhere.  I’d knock things over and just make as big a mess as possible without actually breaking anything.  Years later, I have no idea what possessed me to make such a huge mess this particular day, but in one of my moods I managed to turn my bedroom into a fantastic train wreck.  As I’m sitting on my bed, seething with rage and surveying my mess, Mom knocks on the door and without waiting for a reply, opens it, pulls a camera out from behind her back, takes a picture then turns and closes the door behind her.

2001, Kennewick, WA.  Rochelle age 16, Michelle age 34:
I got my driver’s license at 8:15am the morning I turned 16.  Until I was 17 though, my Mom and I shared a car.  Actually, Mom let me use her car whenever I wanted and called it sharing because she’s humble like that.  One morning, I had gotten myself ready for school and just assumed I’d be able to take the car.  On my way out the door, Mom reminded me I was going to have to pick up my little sister after school and being the gracious and delicate teenage girl I was, I responded with something real snotty, so Mom and I got in a bit of an argument.  Standing there holding my backpack and keys, Mom made a grab for my key chain, and only catching hold of a flip-flop keyring, she pulled and it came off the chain.  She stared at the tiny flip-flop in her hand for a second, then threw it at my face and told me I had to walk to school.

*Due to a family convention the other day (Easter), I remembered yet ANOTHER excellent parenting moment on my Mom’s part:  Dad once bought a car on eBay in Missouri and flew out to drive it back in time for my 17th birthday.  I was so stoked to drive it to school that week because Jetta’s were just that awesome.  So, the first day we had the car I got to drive it to school.  The next day, Mom made me drive her old Taurus which I can only assume was in an effort to keep me humble.

Today if my Mom and I have any conflict, it’s pretty boring and usually involves me complaining about something not worth it, her listening and saying, “uh huh,” then me getting annoyed at her lack of appall at my current life situation (not being able to afford Showtime SUCKS!), and an abrupt end to the phone call.  Ten minutes later I’ll call back with another problem.
The point is, I love my Mom.  I am ridiculous, and so is she.  So we’re a perfect match.
*Look at that sweet vest and lady mullet.  Jealous.


p@@p my mom says: #0003:  May 10, 2011

From: Rochelle
Oh my gosh mom. Last night we went to the Flying Goat for dinner (smallgroup) to celebrate mine and Ashley’s birthdays… and ALL OF THE GIRLS WROTE MY NUMBER ON THEIR RECEIPTS because I said the waiter was cute.

From: Michelle
Your small group did that?!? That is not a Bethel small group!

From: Rochelle

From: Michelle
Have you gotten any calls yet?

From: Rochelle
Um, no. And I better not. Add the Flying Goat to the list of restaurants I can’t go to anymore.

From: Michelle
Hey! I haven’t even been there yet!

From: Rochelle
Well you can go by yourself. Or with Leslie.

From: Michelle
How will I know which one is the cute waiter?

From: Rochelle
He’s nice and has a beard.

From: Michelle
Like Aunt Ruth?

From: Rochelle
I just thought of actual Aunt Ruth, like Grandma Pete’s cousin or something (is she still alive?)…
No, he has a nice beard.

From: Michelle
She died last year. I don’t think she had a beard, but Henry’s sister Ruth (aka Aunt B****) had one.


lucy:  May 15, 2011

She was such a good dog.
Here is what Megan has to say about Lucy:
“Lucy is the best dog on earth. i remember when i was little and she would try to eat rocks- it’s how she broke most of her teeth. i remember when she had puppies and there were at least three different breeds that came out of her because she may or may not have been the community whore. i will remember always telling her to shut up when she and corker would charge at each other on either side of the gate, and how when nobody would play with her she’d try to throw the ball for herself, and how when we got her i was mad because i only got to play for an hour because i had to go to ballet practice, and the first night i got to let her spend the night in my bed, and how she ate my favorite star wars action figure, how she barks at every car except for dad’s, how she barks at things that aren’t even there even when she could see and hear, how she wore out the old couch with how many times she rubbed up against it, how she hates cameras and pickles, all the times she would run away and i was scared that she’d never come back. i’ll remember watching her chase the waves in the river, being scared she wouldn’t make it every time she went for the stick far in the river, being scared every time she rode in the bed of the truck, getting angry every time she would step in my lap when she rode in the back seat with us; hating that look she gives me any time i close the door on her. she really is the best ever.”
I will never forget the songs Dad would make up on the spot and sing at the top of his lungs to the dog, or how well he took care of her when she was too old to take care of herself.  Or Mom exclaiming, “what a good putch!” instead of pooch, which in turn became Lucy’s new name.  Or how every time I’d try to take her on a run with me, she’d poop at least four times and I never had a plastic bag.  Or when we’d drive to Davenport to visit Grammy and we’d have to make special stops at Lucy’s “poop corner.”  Or how she loved Grandpa Paul almost as much as she loved Dad.  Or how she loved to run crazy through the weeds and sagebrush  in Odessa, coming back covered in ticks and stinking like the frog pond.  Or how I’d let her come sleep on my bed and she’d end up pushing me off.

For 16 years and two days, Lucy was part of the Hopp family.  We all loved her very much.


brown club:  May 15, 2011

So, I ran a marathon yesterday.  My legs are killing me today.

This was made possible thanks to Staci Bewick and her running expertise and unending (sometimes SERIOUSLY MISLEADING) optimism and enthusiasm for the sport.

I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but for some unknown reason I decided this was the year to run a marathon.  Then Staci was all, “let’s run the Windermere marathon!” and I was all, “ok!” not realizing that I’d just picked a running buddy who is exceptionally faster and so much more tenacious than me.  This is why you should never choose your running buddies based on age.  Or, you know, I could’ve done a better job facebook-stalking and realized beforehand she’d already done a million marathons and a freaking IRONMAN.  Yeah, Ironman.  You know, the one where you swim 2.4 miles, ride a bike 112 miles, and then run a marathon?  Good grief.

I’m so glad I didn’t do any research beforehand, and blindly walked (ran?) into this training because these last four months have been incredibly entertaining (and somewhat painful, but totally worth it!).  Here are some moments that make my short-list of most entertaining memories from this whole marathon training process:

1.  Going to a crab feed the night before running 15 miles in the morning (my longest run at that point).  I spent the rest of that Friday after the run on the toilet or if I wasn’t then I was telling everyone how much I wished I was on the toilet.

2.  Tripping at mile 15 of an 18 mile run on some uneven asphalt, tucking, rolling, and bounding back up.  Staci:  “Did you just fall??” Me:  “YES!  Keep going!”  Staci:  “No wait, stop!  Brush yourself off!”  Me:  “NO!  Keep going!”  Staci:  “Are you sure??  No seriously, stop, brush that dirt off and compose yourself!”  Me:  “No, I’m fine!”  Staci:  “Ok then.”  Five seconds later… Me:  “Ok stop, I can’t breathe.”  Then I hyperventilated and we had to walk a little.  But I never dropped my pepper spray!

3.  Standing at a curb at the bottom of a hill, ready to sprint up it, trying to kick a stick out of my way and missing it completely… Staci:  “Don’t trip on that.”

4.  Getting out of my car and walking up to Staci’s front steps just before starting a hill workout… Staci:  “I was really hoping you weren’t going to show up today.”  Then, about a half hour later into the workout where each successive hill set got faster… Staci:  “Okay, lets do a couple extra!!!”  I was busy trying not to faint.

5.  At the start line of Race for the Cure… Staci:  “Okay, who let these little girls in here?  Lets get around them so we don’t have to see them get trampled.”  Staci beat me by three seconds, those little girls (one of whom FELL during the race) beat me by two seconds.

6.  Approaching mile 17 and Doomsday hill during a 20 mile run… Staci:  “Ok, I’m just gonna go and I’ll meet you at the top.”  Me:  “Bleughhhhahhh.”  At the top of Doomsday, into West Central where I had tripped a few weeks previously… Staci:  “Pick up your feet!”  Five seconds later after NOT falling… Staci: “Good girl.”

7.  Somewhere near Canada on the Centennial Trail… Staci:  “LOOK OUT FOR THE POOP!”
I think the point of running a marathon, like anything else worth doing, is in the getting there.  Like, you don’t just decide one day, “Hey, I think I’ll run a marathon!” then go out and do it.  Well, maybe you do if you’re clinically insane, but I’m talking about mostly normal people like me.  If left to my own devices, I’d probably have given up around February 1st and settled for 20 minute treadmill sessions four times a week followed by three hours of 30 Rock every night.

Instead, I got to wake up at the butt crack of dawn three times a week for strength workouts, sets of hills, and long runs taking up two or more hours.  The other nights of the week I’d go to the gym and sprint on a treadmill for seven to ten miles just so I’d get used to running so damn fast all the time and not embarrass myself whenever I’d meet Staci to go running.  Actually, I was just practicing so that when we’d do long runs on the Centennial Trail I wouldn’t fall behind and get attacked by creepers.

What I’m saying is, there was a lot of work that went into yesterday’s race.  Not by me, obviously.  I mostly just sat around and waited for Staci to email me and tell me what to do.  And I have to say, the end result was pretty fantastic.  This is what yesterday looked like:

Wake up too early (as most of you don’t care to know, I have an issue doing the number two without the aid of coffee in the mornings) and spent two hours panicking about what to wear (even though I’d laid it all out the night before).  Staci and Chris picked me up just before 6:00 and we headed out to Post Falls.  That’s in Idaho.  So, we literally ran from one state to another.
After a brief encounter with the Porta-Potty, Staci’s all, “want to jog around for a bit?”  Why, YES!  There is nothing I love more than running before a marathon!  Running down a side street between some warehouse building and an open field, Staci decides she needs to go again.  “Do you think anyone can see me?” “Uhhh…” “Oh man, I really had to go!”  “…” “Seriously, look at how much I just went!” “You know I’m putting this on my blog later, right?”

Back at the starting line we wait for those weird bike thingies where they pedal with their arms to go by, then gather at the start line and wait for the gun.  Except, I don’t remember there being a gun.  Maybe it was some guy yelling “GO!”  All I know is that I was freaking out and there was no time to pay attention to the start.

Not to worry though, at mile two I settled into my pace and spent the next 18 miles smiling for the camera.  They better post those pics on the Windermere website.  At mile six’s water station I heard someone ask out loud, “what’s the Brown Club??” At mile ten I passed an old man who said, “well you’re just nice and steady aren’t ya?!”  At mile 13 I thought I heard a gun shot, but didn’t look around.  There was nothing in the news today so I’m sure everyone’s fine.  At mile 20 I was dead on pace and felt great.  At mile 21 I about died and started wondering on a scale of one to ten how embarrassing it’d be to crawl across the finish line.  I decided it would be an eleven and kept running.  Approaching the finish line I could hear people yelling my name and there was my whole small group PLUS Keri Barker!  I finished smiling and with a time of 3:49:35.
Even better than finishing under four hours?  Staci won the whole thing.  So, that’s basically awesome.  Next time I’ll try harder to keep up.

So what I’m saying is, it’s been a great four months.  Even the dehydration and hours spent on the toilet.  It was totally worth it.  I ran a marathon!

Thank you Staci, for everything.


fletcher lee pearce:  May 22, 2011

Guess who came to visit?!?!  My friend Fletch.  Also, his parents.
Pretty soon my blog is going to be all about babies.  Not because I’m having one.  Although, that would be quite the scandal and would make for some seriously great posts.  I’ll consider it.


anniversary!:  May 26, 2011

Today Aunt Keen and Uncle Markie have been married for six years.

They’re like the Mom and Dad I already have.  Only with less xBox and more beer.  I love Aunt Keen and Uncle Markie more than I love 30 Rock.  Aunt Keen taught me to hear music and that the world is made up of more than one color.  Uncle Markie taught me that politic is actually politics and there is more than one way to look at things.  They taught me together that greyhounds are the greytest dogs of all, and that a state fair should have all kinds of food on a stick.  They gave me a home.  They introduced me to a world of new friends and faces.  They are two of my best friends.


this is my advice:  June 1, 2011

…to Michelle, regarding her life plans.

Dear Michelle,

I think this sounds like a really good idea.

Also, you don’t have to be qualified to make it happen.  I think it’s more of a mind over matter situation.  I mean, obviously you can’t be a dummy and pull off something like this but NEWS FLASH:  you’re not a dummy.  You once told me so yourself.
I like that you have so many details planned out.  I think you should make this your goal and go for it.

Those Invisible Children guys only had degrees from Berkeley and lets he honest, that school gets referenced more for jokes than it does for its academic prowess.  I can’t think of specific examples, but I know its usually regular people who come up with the brilliant ideas and they become un-regular, you know?  You just have to have the idea.

As for losing interest… that happens to everyone.  That’s why divorces happen, and midlife crisis’, and TV.  Everyone loses interest in what they love from time to time.  The point is that you will yourself to come back to it because you knew it was right in the first place.  It’s a strength of character thing, I guess.

Your dream is too specific not to be attempted.  If you were just all, “Ohhh social justice,” and, “Ohhh the environment,” I’d be like, “Shut up Michelle, I’m trying to own slaves while driving my hummer,” but you’re not.

Unfortunately, I’m not any real help because I have no idea how businesses start or who even to ask for advice, but it sounds like you know where to go and who to talk to.  So I’ll just be an encourager or something.  I encourage you to pursue this because these asses ain’t gettin’ any higher (that’s my off-color way of saying we’re old).

I’m going to search wikipedia now and see if I can find out if George Washington had a British accent or not.  Do you think he did?  Kind of ironic, don’t you think?  Sort of like rain on your wedding day.

Love, Rochelle


best spam comment ever received:  June 1, 2011

“An old lady just made me ‘bet my bippy on it.’  I hope I win because I don’t know what my bippy is or how it’s been wagered.”


ROB HOPP: candidate for elder:  June 6, 2011

Status:  Affirmed.

For last 87 years my family has gone to Bethel Church in Richland, WA.  Technically we moved to the Tri-Cities in 1994, but that’s hardly the point. THE POINT IS:  My Dad is an Elder.
Personally I think a lot of the titles and names Christian churches give to various people and programs are a little strange.  Only because now I associate the word “elder” with Harry Potter and his defeating Lord Voldemort and becoming the true master of the Elder Wand.  Yeah, I read.  HOWEVER, I was looking at Bethel’s website just now and their description of what an Elder is/does isn’t so strange.

According to Bethel, the Elders exist “to guide and direct with wisdom and discernment from above.”  Now, having been raised in what I consider to be an extreme, but not crazy, Christian home, these terms make perfect sense to me.  By “guide and direct” they mean “to guide and direct the body of Bethel attendees” and by “from above” they mean Jesus.  Duh.  Or maybe not so duh.  I don’t know, I didn’t raise you.  Anyway, I like that definition because I think there should be direction and people to lead in a church.  And a church should definitely be lead by people who are sensitive (discerning, sounds more manly) to the teachings of Jesus Christ.  You could hardly call yourself a Christian if you weren’t following Christ, and I mean that by the simplest definition of the word… I’m not trying to be all theological here (mostly because I slept through those classes at SPU.  No, I didn’t.  Thanks for the education, Dad!).

Rob is the Elder in our house.  Mostly because he’s old.  Est.  Oldest.  But also because he is the head of the house.  Spiritually and otherwise.  He has always been the leader, and for the most part leads with what I believe is a heart for Jesus (Christian terms!).  It was therefore non-surprising to me when I saw this in the bulletin last weekend:
Also, in case anyone didn’t notice… my name is in there too.  Not about me?  I think you need to look at the URL again.

My favorite part of this was Dad’s answer to why he wants to be an elder.  For those who’s eyes are not what they used to be (Keri Barker), it says “In short, I believe that God has been preparing me for many years and has now called me to serve the body at Bethel.”  I am extremely proud of my Dad because let’s be honest, he’s Rob Hopp and he could do anything.  If a person who can do anything chooses to serve others instead of himself, I think that’s admirable.

Of course, you don’t just volunteer yourself for the job.  There is a nomination process, then your name shows up in the bulletin, and a few weeks later the church members vote.  I think there are around 800 members at Bethel.  Maybe more, maybe less.  I’m not great with numbers (please refer to paragraph three about my particular school habits of learning).

The vote was last night, and this morning I got the following email from my Mom:

From: a pastor
Sent: Monday, June 06, 2011 9:43 AM
To: a lot of people who go to church and work there
Subject: outcome of yesterday’s voting

Good morning!
Just wanted to let everyone know the outcome of yesterday’s voting.
All passed; the 2012 budget and Prosser property acquisition were approved and all elder nominees were affirmed.
Yea God for a wonderful evening of worship and praise!
All His Best,
A Pastor
Executive Pastor | Bethel Church

Now Rob has one more thing to add to his resume; Elder.  Which comes right after “Being Rochelle’s Dad, and look how great she turned out.”


it begins:  June 7, 2011

Keri and Danielle are taking improv classes with me this time around, and if the following emails are any indication of what the next eight weeks will hold… I think we’re all in for a real treat.
Danielle’s original email, then Keri’s addition in red.  I can’t wait.

From: Danielle
Sent: Tuesday, June 07, 2011 11:18 AM
To: Rochelle; Keri
Subject: Improv
So… Improv is tonight in case you forgot!
Few questions… Where are we going? What to we need to bring? Do they have their own bathroom? Should I bring a personal roll of toilet paper?
And since I just broke one of Tina Fey’s rules of improv.. I will now make some statements to balance out the questions i just asked.
I have a very large bag of sunflower seeds in the pocket of my sweater and there isn’t a thing you can do about it.
There are only two things I’ll let get between me and my man. #1 Barbara Streisand #2 An old fashioned game of  jump rope
I trained my dog to lick all my stamps and envelopes for me. He died last month from Anthrax poisoning.

From: Keri
Sent: Tuesday, June 07, 2011 12:58 PM
To: Danielle; Rochelle
Subject: RE: Improv
So… Improv is tonight in case you forgot! I did not. I brought an inspirational journal written by the most esteemed Improv-Queen of our time, PeeWee Herman.
Few questions… Where are we going? Blue Door Comedy Club on Garland. I thought we could car-pool…. but I also thought we could land on the moon and I was wrong about that too. What to we need to bring? . Your basics – tolerance pacifism, pacifiers, broom, cantaloupe. Do they have their own bathroom? Yes, everyone has their own bathroom. Should I bring a personal roll of toilet paper? Yes, cuz I’m gonna make you laugh so hard you’ll be bawling (And I mean “bawlin”  in a gangsta way).
And since I just broke one of Tina Fey’s rules of improv.. I will now make some statements to balance out the questions I just asked.
I have a very large bag of sunflower seeds in the pocket of my sweater and there isn’t a thing you can do about it. If there’s nothing we can do – then we will just have to pee!
There are only two things I’ll let get between me and my man. #1 Barbara Streisand #2 An old fashioned game of  jump rope …. racist.
I trained my dog to lick all my stamps and envelopes for me. He died last month from Anthrax poisoning. ….so, I see your got my “letter”….


this was how my sunday went…:  June 13, 2011

What. A. Day.  Face crusted with the salt of my own tears and a new, very intimate, acquaintance with the seat of my bike.


m&c: June 19, 2011

Michael and Christine came to visit!  It’s like having Aunt Keen and Uncle Markie in town.  I wish we could all go to the Rocket for two hours before EVERY Gap shift.

Since M&C, AK&UM were all kind enough to share pictures with me during their last visit to Mpls for Aunt Keen’s birthday, we had to return the favor and this was the first attempt sent to Aunt Keen:
This one turned out a bit better:
Now, let’s all go to Bellingham!


father’s day:  June 20, 2011

Might just have to start a new segment called “texts from my dad” because this mess is funny.


oh, there’s more:  June 21, 2011

This is what happens when I post ONE funny thing someone from my family said… I get 500 more funny things to choose from.  I think the following picture is an accurate summary of the entire conversation I had with my Dad yesterday:



nemesis:  June 22, 2011

This is what I get for not following directions.  Directions being “don’t wear underwear with bike shorts.”

A really flat tire.

You know those mornings where you get up at 3:45am to make sure you have enough time to poop, get dressed, and drink your coffee before you go ride your bike forever?  Right, well that was this morning.  At the top of the South Hill, however, some broken glass jumped off the road and into my tire.  I can only assume the glass was planted there by my arch nemesis, this lady:

Don’t let her business casual, unassuming demeanor mislead you.  She may be wearing high heels and have a Starbucks latte in her cup holder, but this lady is a terror on wheels.  She’s crazy fast and doesn’t let things like cars, trucks, and semi’s get in her way.  She’s always beating me in races, too.  Sometimes all I want to do is get to Gap with five minutes to spare but she always challenges me and then we end up racing to Couer d’Alene and back.

The broken glass put an end to our bike plans for the morning, and thankfully Staci’s bike remained intact so she could go get her car and come save me.  Like my own personal cycling version of Triple A.


oh wow:  June 22, 2011

From: Rochelle
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 10:55 AM
To: Keri
Subject: RE: well.
Want to ride bikes tonight?  I can’t.  Mine is dead.

From: Keri
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 11:11 AM
To: Rochelle
Subject: RE: well.
Even if your bike were alive the answer would be irrevocably, inexplicably, pterodactyl-ly, “no”.  I ride a bike like Barbara Streisand’s nose tries to be a nose. AKA epic fail.


hoopfest:  June 29, 2011

Favorite video this year…

YouTube Video (jackhoopfest)


p@@p my mom says, #0004:  July 1, 2011

From: Rochelle
Sent: Friday, July 01, 2011
To: Michelle
Subject: the weekend is almost here!

My new swim suit won’t be here until next week

From: Michelle
Sent: Friday, July 01, 2011
To: Rochelle
Subject: RE: the weekend is almost here!

Sad, we can’t go swimming in the river anyway, there are nutrias there.


bikes day four: so hungry:  July 2, 2011  


just a suggestion:  July 6, 2011

from: rochelle
to: staci
date: 7.5.11 at 6:59 PM

Here’s a fun question: Why are bike shorts so padded in the butt, but not the front? I think, as a lady (I use the term loosely), that bike shorts should be more padded in the front. I’m just saying.

Sent from my iPhone

from: staci
to: rochelle
date: 7.5.11 at 8:02 PM

Dear Loose Lady,

Well, I think too much padding is bad also. That’s why you need the saddle with the cut-out.


wisdom from keri:  July 7, 2011    

“There are just too many reasons for anyone to do, or not do anything. Selfishness, Pride, Fear, Disinterest, Protection, Love, Hate, Cognitive Dissonance…. I could go on, but it’s silly to try and read a person’s mind; especially when we know that it’s impossible, since brain waves don’t exceed a 500 mile radius anyway.  Realistically; we don’t know anything – we are mere dust in the wind, mere sand particles on the shore, mere poop in the commode.”


my greatest fear:  July 8, 2011   

There are only two people in the world who currently know my greatest fear.  Now there will be six.  Seven, counting my one anonymous reader.

My greatest fear is… the geese.

I think it all stems from one moment in my childhood two years ago when I was taking a pleasant walk through Riverfront Park with my friend Alicia and we were accosted by 12 to 15 large geese.  Never mind that I had just tried to chase one away from some popcorn I dropped (thirty-five second rule!  I was checking texts on my phone, couldn’t be bothered to pick it up right away).  Those birds are a menace to society.  If the angry lady in To Kill a Mockingbird who yells at Scout and Jem as they walk by her house was a bird, she’d be a goose.  Only without the redemptive willpower.  Unless you count defending their own feces they leave on trails as willpower.  I don’t.

Anyway, on the Fourth of July I was riding solo and this is what it looked like.  I had to confront my worst fear all aloney on my owney:


ONE WAS SHAKING HIS HEAD AT ME!  You can’t tell because the video quality is less than excellent due to the overwhelming fear causing my hands to shake.  Also, I was on my bike… I’m not Wonder Woman.

Ok so then yesterday Staci and I went for a longer-ish ride before work and swimming lessons (swimming lessons not for me, although I should look into that sometime soon).  I have a tendency to not pay attention to anything whenever Staci’s around for running or riding because I’m 99% sure she’s got things under control.  If we pass people out exercising she’ll say hi or good morning, then ten minutes later I’ll come pedaling by and stare with dead eyes and try to make some sort of friendly gesture that usually ends with me trying not to fall face first off the bike.  The funny part is that the near falls are not due to lack of balance, I’m just trying to get someone… ANYONE to feel sorry for me so I think about crashing just so I can take a break and catch my breath.

Yesterday we ended up in a different town, and that was only HALF.WAY.  I think the disbelief and fatigue is evident in my voice.




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