Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Fire and Rain

The other day, my high school friend Melanie—a hilarious, brilliant, and wonderful woman—posted some kind of thing where one is supposed to reveal six weird habits or things about oneself. Though I have fortunately been spared the promise of 34 years of bad luck if I don't participate, it seems like a good exercise. I don't know if they are all necessarily weird things, though. Just insights, I guess. Here goes nothing:

1) I kind of like bossy men—or at least men who will take charge occasionally. You probably wouldn't expect it from a liberated woman like myself, but one time at my Christmas party this guy named Bryce (who I'd only met maybe an hour before) pinned me up against the door under the mistletoe. It was unexpected and maybe I should have objected, but I like a guy who will take charge.
2) For a long time I resisted the temptation to completely succumb to reality television, but I have a new TV obsession—"No. 1 Single" starring the great Lisa Loeb as she embarks on her quest for true love. It's great. The episode I saw Sunday morning before church was called "Wingman" and Lisa hooked up with her good friend, actor Michael Panes. Hooray! I feel a certain kinship with Lisa, and I think it's more than the fact I've decided in today's outfit that purple goes perfectly well with brown, orange and green. Hmm…
3) Today I appreciate the fact I have some kind of in-born maternal instincts. This morning I took the train to work and one of my fellow-passengers had quite the scare when she boarded this morning—while her son was on the train, as well as her baby in a stroller, she couldn't find the other woman and child she was traveling with, and we all thought the toddler was lost. It was AWFUL. I can't even imagine how I'd feel if it had been one of my children, but I'll tell you what. I felt terrible when I heard the little boy screaming because he thought his mother was leaving him. It was one of the worst sounds ever. Fortunately, the family was reunited and all was well in the end, but it was terrible. What really made me the most upset, however, was when I got off downtown and heard a woman telling the story to another woman, and all she could do was gripe that the intrigue made us two minutes late. The internal mother in me wanted to reach out and slap that woman. I don't know that it makes me a nurturer, but still.
4) One of the great regrets of my life is that I'm not particularly proficient (ok, I really suck) with any instrument. My inner beatnik would be well-served if I were making the coffee-house circuit and getting crazy with a little performance-art, but I guess it's not meant to be. As I don't even drink coffee, there's not much point, right? We'll see if I get any better on the harmonica any time soon.
5) The little things in life make me happy. This weekend I purchased a new shelf from Pier 1 for the apartment, and it's a fantastic addition. I have a heck of a time crocheting—whether baby blankets for my friends who are getting ready to be parents for the first time or hats and scarves for the blind Polish orphans. The highlight of my Sunday (besides watching Lisa Loeb find what I hope is true love) was telling my friend Travis that even though I love his curly hair, that he still looks hot, hot, HOT with his newly-shorn head. The best thing to ever happen to me was when Mister West of the Chunga and Mister Morning Show (101.9 KENZ) dedicated the top news stories and Hollywood headlines to me on air and read everything in his sexy voice. My good friend Melissa married a guy named Corn, so she's now Melissa Corn. I can't stop laughing about it. See? It doesn't take much, and I'm perfectly content.
6) I'm a firm believer in the power of individuals to be catalysts for change. It may be the naïve little girl in me, but I plan to make a mark in the world. Amen!

Friday, March 24, 2006

And but for the sky there are no fences facing

Hello Friends.

A special shout out to the man we've all come to know and love as my friend "Hot Mike." He was a stellar date at the Awards Banquet last night. Nice and polite and my coworkers liked him. Good man. No, great man. I'm lucky to have a friend like him.

And another public hello goes out to my new friend, Chevron. Dudes, Chevron gave me some hot chocolate the other night, and he's very fun. I'm glad he's not 17 like I originally thought. My hanging out on less-busy nights at the local gas station would pretty much make me Mary Kay Latourneau. He's old, like I am. Chevron is cool because he's a weary, wandering soul.

Things here are happy. I'm glad the weekend is here—I need it after several days of manual labor at the old Excel office buildings. I keep getting injured in weird ways. It's one thing when your back is kind of achy from lifting boxes. It's quite another when you keep getting hit in the neck with random boxes (I'm sure I'll be bruised up—it'll be like a hickey, only not as fun) and nearly biting your tongue off when your boss sneaks up behind you. Oh, the perils of Corporate America. I spit blood for about 5 minutes.

Oh, and I'm happy to report I'm back in the game—no waiting around crying over EC. No, the other night I took in a film at the local Century Theater, and one of the employees was nice enough to give me the eye. Bless you, son, for objectifying me.

Also, it was funny. While I was out at the movies I accidentally left my cell phone at home. When I got back, I saw that I had a message. It was from Brick Stupid Dave. See? That's what happens when you cut people out of your life. And I didn't call him back. That's called liberation.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I spent six years on your trail

Anyone out there want to hear how rejection hurts?

Yep, you guessed it. Mr. Euro-Chic is NOT coming with me to the awards banquet. Am I disappointed? A little. I did already ask Hot Mike and he is going with me and we're set for a killer time Thursday night. But it still makes me feel bad. Actually, the thing that bothers me most is not that EC isn't going it's that it's taken him a whole week to say, "Oh, you know what? I'm gonna sit this one out." It's a good thing I'm fiercely popular and I was able to find someone else, huh? But in all seriousness, it does put me in a really awkward position. Last night when I called Hot Mike, I had to explain to him why I was asking him at the last minute. Good thing that's a platonic relationship to begin with.

Anyway, this is pretty much a repeat performance from the "Brick Stupid Dave Episode" of a few weeks ago. Is there a reason this keeps happening to me, or are all the men I know just weak? Regardless, I'm still that new, emboldened Rachel who doesn't take things lying down, so I took EC out of my phone so I wouldn't be tempted to call him, and I'm thinking about blocking his emails. And if this sounds harsh to any of you, just know that if EC is consistent in anything, it's his lack of consideration. Harsh, but true. Just ask Engaged Sean. He'll back me up on this one.

Let's seeany other updates? I fell down some stairs over the weekend and am kind of bruised up. It wasn't fun, but it kind of is comforting to have some kind of physical wound to go along with the emotional issues of the week.

Blog Virgin Politics

OK, Ive never done this before, but I think blogging is on my list of 2,001 Things to Do Before I Die from Barnes and Noble. As I let the B&N editors tell me what I should do with my life while Im trying to decide what my own dreams are, I thought Id give it a whirl. Besides, my good friend and example Sokphal is the blog queen, so here goes nothing.

So Im supposed to talk about whats on my mind, huh? OK, how bout starting for my supreme dislike of politicians. Its quite sad, actually. Youre reading the musings of someone who considers herself fiercely patriotic and idealistic. Id like to believe that people get involved with the political process because they really want to make the world better, and not just because they are in it for the power and prestige. Lets just say I couldnt even watch the Presidents State of the Union address last night. I opted for the Gilmore Girls instead.

Is it because Im ignorant? Is it because I want to bury my head in the sand and ignore the problems our country currently faces? No. Its because watching the Republicans jump up like remote-controlled toys with ovations for every other line President Bush says something they like, or Democrats smirking as they look for ways to spin the smallest phrases into something to fuel their own campaigns for this Novembers race is just plain sickening. I think the next candidate I vote for wont necessarily represent all my personal ideals perfectly, but Ill be happy to support them if they cut out the poli-speak and talk about issues.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Greetings from the Land of Enchantment

I'm here. In New Mexico. I love this place. Is it crazy? Yes. But it's home.
In the airport last night a couple of ladies in the bathroom didn't wash their hands and I thought they were disgusting. Driving downtown by the convention center there was a poor man totally stoned out of his mind doing a crazy dance crossing the street in front of our car. In my town there are people named "Junior" (not Alonzo, Jr.-- just Junior) and guys named "Shorty" who run for office. Like I said, it's different.
Things are great on the trip. Of course, the convention begins tomorrow and I'm kind of falling asleep thinking about it EXCEPT that I'm looking forward to checking out the building materials, contractors, etc. in case I decide to be a grown up and build myself a place if I move down here. And if the foreign service doesn't work out, then it's a possibility. Can you believe it? New Mexico permanently? It's a trip.
Of course, I'm looking forward to getting back to Utah for a few more adventures yet. I've decided to take golf lessons in April and I met a lady on the plane who is setting me up on a date with her boss (we're going out next week). And of course, there's the upcoming Corporate Awards Banquet. No, I still don't know who I'm going with. For some reason I haven't been able to access my work email from here, and so I don't know what EC has to say. Yikes.
If you pray, please pray EC goes out with me. He's wonderful and I love him. If you don't pray, please send your good vibes my way.
Happy St. Patrick's Day tomorrow, and in the proud tradition of another part of my opressed heritage, here's an old Irish toast to ya--
"May you have half an hour in heaven before the devil knows you're dead."

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Please, Please, Please Let me get what I want

Well, folks, I've finally done it--taken a step out of my comfort zone, to embrace the new, confident, impulsive Rachel--for better or worse. Actually, that's a lie. My coworker, Jacob, took the step for me, and we're still waiting to see how it turns out.

As you may or may not know, my life is fraught with minor trauma when it comes to the dating scene, and as luck would have it, I need a date for an upcoming work function. This is kind of a swanky affair--well, not really, but the person I drag along needs to have superior manners and not look out of place in a crowd of people employed by an uber-conservative organization. This should not be that difficult to find, right? Well, not if I don't mind going with some ego-maniacal, bourgeois oppressor of those who dare to think outside the proverbial box (read: almost all the fellows I know from church, etc.).

After much consideration, I narrowed the field down to three nice guys I know and finally decided I'd better ask one of them. I mean, the event is now nine days away, and if Man No. 1 can't go, then I've got to work quickly through my next options, especially because I'll be out of town for five of those next nine days. So I thought I'd go for the typical, timid Rachel approach. You know, a harmless email. "Um, so, I was wondering if, um, you didn't have anything else going on, if you'd, like, want to maybe go to this banquet with me?" OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but kind of the tone. But that approach was not meant to be.

What happened was I was talking to one of my top consultants and coworkers, Jacob. I mentioned to Jacob that I had gone with his advice and decided to take Mr. Euro-Chic. EC is a friend of mine, but our friendship kind of comes in starts and stops because we don't see one another very often. Anyway, when I showed Jacob the email, he put the quick kibosh on it, and wrote another one for me. Jacob's version of the invite read as follows:

Dear Mr. Euro-Chic,
You seemed to enjoy last year's festivities, so how's this? Thursday, March 23. You pick me up at my apartment at 6:15 p.m. for the XYZ Company Corporate Awards Banquet. I'll be looking really hot, so you'll want to bring flowers. Dinner will be provided, and I already signed you up for a non-vegetarian meal. Afterwards we'll go out for dessert, or not, depending on how we feel. But the bottom line is it's going to be a wicked-good time. AND did I mention I'm going to be looking smokin' hot?

OK, EC probably should know that it wasn't me who wrote the email (I shudder at the use of passive voice, even if I'm afraid to be anything but a passive person when asking a man out), but even if he did, it didn't phase him. This morning I came to work to an email that basically conveyed interest, but not commitment (he was checking on some details so he could get back to me, "pronto"). So now we can all wait with anxious anticipation to see if I'm going to actually have a date or if I'll be going with Options 2 or 3. I really hope I'm not setting myself up to give further evidence of my socially-awkward status to the myspace world, but so be it. Que sera sera. Live and let live. Or whatever. Except I'm a little afraid that I'm going to throw up. And assuming he does go along with this hair-brained scheme, how am I supposed to pull off "smokin' hot?" Like sands in the hourglass, these are the days of our lives.

Friday, March 10, 2006

I like it here--can I stay?

No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth—in case any of my loyal fans have been wondering. Actually, I've been positively swamped this week. Promoting a DVD is no small task, and doing it well is a whole other challenge entirely. I'm exhausted, but happy about the sense of accomplishment.

We're getting ready to move to offices downtown, and I'm a little sad. As much as I hated being in the rat's nest, it's kind of the end of an era. No more wearing jeans on days other than Fridays. No more leaving my car at work when I fly out somewhere. I think I'm expected to wear nylons. That's where I draw the line. In fact, I was at a meeting at the corporate offices on Wednesday and made sure I had the seamed fishnets on. Nothing too rebellious, but a girl's got to protect her identity.

The week has been fantastic. Not only have I been able to cross monumental projects off the list, but also I've just FELT better. I think it might be the spring weather, or maybe it's because I've been getting more potassium (hooray for bananas- B-A-N-A-N-A-S!). I don't know, but I welcome the change—winter is almost over! Or maybe it's because I'm getting ready to head down to the 505 to see the family. Not only will I get to work at the Home Builders Conference (hooray for insulation!) but also I get to go to my sister's pageant in Roswell (hooray for girls prancing around and pageant moms!). I'm not even being sarcastic. These are the little things that make life a little better.

Oh, and I'm happy to say even though I haven't completely given up my meanness, I think I'm doing better in that regard as well.

Friday, March 3, 2006

I still believe in second chances

Every year my good Catholic friends observe the Lenten season. Similarly, our brothers and sisters who follow the Islamic faith faithfully fast during Ramadan. Talk about admirable, and talk about true commitment.

As a Mormon, I fast at least the first Sunday of every month. I do this because it's a commandment, and because it shows my own commitment to God. It is an exercise of faith, and my faith is strengthened as I am true to such commandments.

What I've been thinking, though, is that my friends of other faiths may have something with the longer season of fasting. Growing up, I'd hear the kids at school talk about what they (or their parents) were giving up for Lent. I in no way want my actions to be misconstrued as irreverent, sacrilegious or done in a spirit of derision, but I think I'll start a little personal tradition for myself and be a Mormon giving something up for Lent (I realize I'm a little late, but the idea has been percolating for the last several days). However, rather than give up smoking or sweets (I don't smoke, but those 100-Calorie packs are sometimes the best thing in the world and probably help me be a little healthier with only modest indulgences), I've decided that in the spirit of the sacrificial season I'm going to give up a bad habit. Of course, I'm hoping that by giving it up for the six weeks I'll be able to give it up for good. I'm giving up being sarcastic and mean.

You know, I always thought of myself as a pretty nice person. I try to be generous, I try to lend a listening ear, and if someone needs something I'm (usually) more than happy to help in any way I can. I look for opportunities to serve. I learned at an early age the value of treating people like they are the most important in the world. I offer sincere compliments freely, and I thank people for their kindnesses.

Of course, anyone who knows anything about me also knows I'm FAR from being an angel. I make so many mistakes! While I feel good about my frankness in telling my friends, family, coworkers, etc. about their greatness, that lack of a typical social filter also opens me up to feeling like I can say whatever is on my mind. It's every bit as much of a curse as a blessing to have no secrets.

And somehow over the past few months (years?) I feel like I've gotten worse on this score. I know that I'm good with words and I could tear someone apart in an instant if I didn't keep things in check, but the new, insidious tactic of sarcasm has crept in and over this period of time I've used it to justify saying whatever I want. That's not good.

My wake-up call came about a week ago. Last Friday a friend had invited me to go to a movie with him and his sister. I think the world of this fellow, actually. I'd give almost anything to spend time with himhe's just such a quality individual. However, I don't often get that kind of an opportunity. We're busy people. Anyway, about a month ago we had a little incidentnothing reallybut it kind of hurt my feelings and I guess I've been letting it fester. It's a destructive thing to do, but in my own weird way of trying to guard my feelings, I was letting little inconsiderations like him calling at the last minute bother me, and in the classic girl way, adding them to this arsenal. I kept telling myself that it was ok to remember how annoyed I was because it would keep me from liking said gentleman more than I should.

Anyway, all that said, we went to the movie, and it was lovely. Afterwards, I was invited to have dinner with my friend and his family. At first, I politely declined because I had already planned to go to the gym. I know, I know. But when you are trying trim seconds off your mile, you can get a little obsessive. And, as much as I hate to admit it, there was kind of a pride factor at work and the old annoyance of being propositioned at the last possible minute (most rational people would look at this as just a nice gesture on his partsee? I'm insane). When he suggested saving some leftovers for me, the inner-sarcastic beast came roaring out. I think I said, "Well, do you think dim sum freezes? Because, let's see. I haven't seen you for about two months, so if it's going to be another two months, that'll put us almost in May. Oh! Perfect. My birthday is in May." Ouch. I think my initial intent was just to be funny, but gosh! I've pretty much guaranteed that I'll never get a call from this guy again. It's agonizing. I've been too paralyzed to apologize properly. That will probably be the first step in truly giving up being such a snotapologizing. Wish me luck on that.

The thing is, I can't afford to lose good friends like the one I just skewered with my rudeness. I don't have that many good friends, and I couldn't be more angry with myself for treating anyone with so much venomous behaviorespecially someone I hold in the highest regard.

The plan: Apologize for the wrongs. Cease and desist from the rudeness. Replace these habits with more kindnessmore of the true Rachel.

I think part of it is I'm going through a stage of not knowing exactly who the true Rachel is. I know what my overall ambitions are, but I'm having a hard time getting to them. I've been looking for answers and plans in books like the "Bohemian Manifesto" and "The Bombshell Manual of Style" and "What Would Jackie Do?" I've tried to figure out what next to tackle with "2,001 Things to do Before You Die" and "The Wish List." But for the next six weeks, I'm going to abandon some of those pursuits of discovering who I want to be next in favor of getting in touch with who I once wasa nice person.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Do you have a vacancy for a back scrubber?

Well, I'm finally taking baby steps in shaking up the status quo that is my life. Everyone will likely laugh at me, but I posted a resume to a couple job sites, and I'm looking into a career change. There are some really great things about my current job (smart, fun people, promoting a movie I care about, etc.) but I think it's a good idea to get out of this entry-level job and into something better (and a job where they don't make you pay for your own parking). Plus also it feels like Salt Lake City is the swamp of social stagnation. If anyone has any idea where I should go, I'm pretty open. No, let's change that to pretty desperate.