Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Addendum to A Quarter Life

... I shouldn't have bragged about not having a problem with my niece's diapers. I just changed poopy diaper No. 3. I can handle it, but it's no bed of roses, lemme tell ya!
But I will say this. I'm even happier today than I thought I was yesterday when I wrote that.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A quarter life

I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive!
I survived rafting this weekend. I survived a rapid called "the toilet bowl." I think it was possibly my fault that we went on the right side of the rapid instead of the left and came close to death. I can't swim, and when that wall of water hit us, I stopped paddling in favor of grabbing onto the raft. But we survived. Thank you, Uncle Caleb, for making the trip absolutely bearable!
OK. Now what?
I'm basically in love with my life right now. I work hard every day and come home exhausted, but I feel like I'm accomplishing, and that's super. I think I'm becoming more adventurous. Not only did I brave some category four rapids this weekend, but I also didn't scream in horror when I had to remove parts of a dead rabbit from my back porch (how did it even get there? Are rabbits cannibalistic?). I think this is growing up. I can change my niece's poopy diapers without flinching. I clean the moldy junk out of my mother's refrigerator without complaint. I am 100% grown up, despite feeling about 16. This must be what they call the prime of life.
Seriously, things are going well. That's not to say everything is just as I'd imagined, but I'm feeling good about the flow of my life and the direction it's taking. I like that I now instantly delete text messages from people who make me unhappy, rather than saving them and going over things again and again in my head. What's more, I like that these days when my phone buzzes, it's because it's usually someone or other I'm really excited to talk to. Ditto the voicemail. Ditto the inbox. Technology is my friend today.
And you know what else I like about being an adult? If I wanted to, I could indulge my childhood fantasy of going to McDonald's and getting a Happy Meal any time I wanted one, even though I actually only eat McDonald's food when I put my Christmas tree up each year. Now that my tastes have refined (and I'm just not into indigestion-inducing greasy food), I don't long for McNuggets like I did when I was 7. Now my money and fantasies run more toward a new blouse from Anthropologie or a pedicure or a vacation abroad. But the point is, I can do any of it. That's pretty amazing.
Don't ask me where all this empowerment comes from today. I think maybe from spending a weekend in the mountains, decoupaging trash cans. I don't know. I feel creative. I feel free. I feel rich, even though my bank would beg to differ. I feel loved even though I'm not grasping for attention from those who wouldn't give it to me anyway. I'm just in the mood to work like crazy, and then go find a performing arts space and do dramatic readings from "Knowing I Have Feeling He May Not"-- the craziest poetry an 11-year-old girl could have ever written (thank you, Alison Ann Budd! I hope we meet someday!). Even though I'm swamped at the office, in my mind I'm frolicking in a field of wildflowers, giggling to no one in particular about a joke that's funny only to me. I'm ready to start my new career as a lounge singer specializing in 80s sitcom themes. I think I ought to learn to play the guitar and the tambourine and join a cover band that only does stuff from Natalie Merchant, the Smiths, and the Mamas and the Papas. And I should hit a farmer's market so I can make those great roasted vegetables like I had in Krakow back in the day. I need to find a trampoline to jump on. I want to surround myself with my uber-funny friends: the one who runs half marathons; the one who once made out to a book on tape; the one who was convinced he was going to be kidnapped by terrorists in Mexico; the one who once told me he thought I'd be pretty even if I were naked. Everyone's life should be this full.
PS. to Ray-- I hope you had a wonderful first day at work. As I told my BFF Rainbow Bright this morning, I'm hoping you'll be able to help all those fellas who fall into the Cottonwood Gap look more like Harrison Ford and a little less like Steve Urkel.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Virtual Ice Cream

I forgot to mention it last time, but the one drawback of going to a friend's wedding reception is the inevitable attention it calls to a single lifestyle. I really despise the tradition of the bouquet toss, but find myself lined up with the 9-year-old girls at every wedding. Once, I decided to embrace the foolishness and duke it out with another girl, but I only got one peony out of the bouquet. The groom at that wedding said, "Don't worry, Rach. As you are the only single one left in our circle of friends, you are bound to be the next one to get married." Well, while the next few months didn't provide an acceptable suitor, I do recall spending the rest of that evening kissing Chevron. So, que sera sera.
Anyway, at the reception on Saturday night, there were several people who made comments, but most of them were sweet and loving. The father of the groom told me that he looked forward to attending my reception someday. The mother of the bride ushered me over to meet her single (and very uncomfortable) nephew. All of that is wedding par for the course. It's actually almost fun.
The one person raining on my parade was a woman I've known all my life. And don't get me wrong, she's a great person. I mean, seriously great! She does amazing thing and is very service-oriented, etc. However, each time I see her, she lets me know that she thinks I'm leading a very sinful life by not getting married and having babies. She tells me I'm too picky. She tells me I'll never find anyone who is perfect (insert, "Well, duh..." here). She suggests I move to Utah. She admonishes me to use the Internet matchmaking services. She wags her finger, and her husband rolls his eyes. I really think that she should also be lumped into the category of well-meaning folk, but it never ceases to irritate me.
I'd been on my way to the other side of the party to say hello to a childhood friend I rarely see, but got stopped in the name of the love police with the most recent of lectures. I tried to diffuse my interrogator's questions and implications with my normal polite (and very true) response of how I'm leading a very happy, fulfilling life-- that I'm working to be the best person I can and resolving my faults little by little in hopes of someday finding someone to partner up with and make a good life, etc., etc., etc. However, if this is not my fate, I tell her, then at least I can be happily single, rather than bemoaning my fate of solitude, or worse, marrying someone with whom I'd be dismally unhappy. Unfortunately, this did not deter her. As she started to launch back in about how it's not good for us to be alone and yackity yak, I stopped her in her tracks by issuing a bit of a cheeky (though oddly enough again, true) assessment of the appropriateness of my latest potential suitors. One, I said, was a 55-year-old man. It might make me picky, but it makes me even more uncomfortable to be pursued by someone just four years younger than my father; someone who was older than I am now when I was born; someone who hasn't dated anyone since I was three years old. Another young gentleman is a lovely chap I've adored as a friend, but his sexual orientation is a bit in limbo. And what of the one I loved dearly, who couldn't possibly hold a job? I hate how harsh I sound right now, but these are some things that I fundamentally can't let go of. I laughed when I realized that 25% of the guys I kissed in the last year had served time in jail. I know. I know. I'm turning over a new leaf. But I thought that maybe over-sharing a bit with Sister Busy-Body would allow me a hasty exit from the conversation.
However, this post is not meant to be a complaining session-- Rather, I'm here to celebrate the recent successes of at least two of my dear friends finding some relationship success. Last night, I received a very happy report that a good chunk of my inner circle are kissing boys they love... or at least like a lot. It's marvelous. Summer romance is here. Cue John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. I'm now on the lookout for possible kissing friends not only for myself, but also for my friends (we've got to look out for one another, you know). But don't worry, I'm being selective. I'd hate to run into Sister BB at the next reception and tell her I had to ditch the last guy I'd gone out with because he gave me a cold sore. No, the screening process will be intense, but I have a good feeling about the summer of '08.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

After a wicked weekend (in both good and bad ways), I woke up this morning having had the best dream. Walt Disney took me on a tour of Disneyland, and we ate at Club 33. It was amazing! Plus my friends Pam and Amy were Paris Hilton-esque celebutantes, and we had all kinds of special access. I think this dream is a reaction to the fact that not one, not two, but THREE vacations I'd planned this year have fallen through. First it was my European cruise. Then I thought I'd go to California. When those didn't pan out, it looked like I'd be in Chicago for a long weekend, but no dice. On the plus side, my vacation fund continues to grow slowly but surely, so one of these days I'll be able to take off without a second thought. That's pretty good, I guess.
So the weekend was a little crazy. It started off a little rough with a very busy day at work (don't even ask) and just went downhill from there. The worst? Getting rear-ended on the freeway. Thankfully there wasn't any damage to my car, and I was only a little sore afterwards. But it was one of those days where you keep thinking it can't get any worse, and then you find out you have a new zit or something. Ugh. Glad it's over.
Saturday was substantially better, with the number one highlight being my friend Shawn's wedding reception. Not only was it fabulous to wish Shawn and Andrea a very happy life together, but also it was fantastic seeing people I'd not had contact with in years. My friend Josh was Shawn's best man, and I FINALLY got to see Josh and Christina's oldest daughter (Christina's gonna have baby number three pretty soon, but she hardly looks pregnant). Also, I had a nice day letting the creative juices flow as I planned a bridal shower for my good friend Chris. I went to some of my favorite places I hit only once or twice a year-- Papers! in Nob Hill is the world's most inspiring store. I went to The Specialty Shoppe where everything smells like cake. And then I found a heck of a deal at Anthropologie. It was shopping bliss.
Anyway, all's well that ends well.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

They Say It's Your Birthday...

First, a quick memo to Sean Reed... I tried to find your blog, but couldn't access it. If you happen to check this again, or someone who talks to Sean does, let me know how to find his!
OK, now on to the subject at hand-- I have to give some major props to my friends for giving me one of the best birthdays I can remember (and considering that I could tell you what just about every birthday party entailed since I was in 4th grade, that's saying quite a bit). I was a little depressed about the whole thing, but they made it wonderful. My friend Katie Kincaid says that turning 27 is much harder than turning 30, mostly because you start anticipating the big 3-0. Once you actually turn 30, she says, it's not even a big deal.
Anyway, for whatever reason, I was a little depressed about the whole thing. Mostly, I knew all my friends would be WAY too busy to do anything. I mean, a Tuesday night is hard enough, but during finals week?!?!?! Forget it.
So the day on its own actually started off great on its own. I mean, I couldn't just sit around and wait for things to happen. So I got up at 4:45 to hit the gym early. On the way, I opened a really sweet card from my friend Amy, which was a nice way to start the day. Also, when it's your birthday at Main Street Muscle and Fitness, you get a little birthday song (played as loudly as possible over the speakers) instead of the typical welcome message. It's a little embarrassing, but I still liked it. Good thing the gym isn't that busy at 5 a.m.
Anyway, then I went to work and opened a package of flip-flops from my BFF. She got them in Brasil, and promises me a Brasilian boyfriend to go with them for Christmas. I'm gonna hold her to it.
The morning was filled with super emails and phone calls. I met my mom, dad, and sister in town to eat at Sweet Tomatoes for lunch. Is there a better place in this world? I'm not convinced. In the afternoon I gave blood (giving a little life to celebrate being given life, you see) and got a pedicure. Then my amazing friend Paul took me to dinner, and finally there was A SURPRISE PARTY at my sister's house. I honestly am the most spoiled girl on the planet. Who gets surprise parties two years in a row? I'm ruined for all future birthdays. I understand Mel and Terry were absolutely instrumental in the process, doing TONS of work. Apparently my whole darling family was also in on the action. It was AMAZING. Everyone was so generous, not only with gifts but most importantly with their time. I'm blown away. I know this blog probably sounds braggy and maybe you're wondering if I think anyone out there would actually to care to read about it, but I can't really find the words to describe how remarkable my friends are. There's something so sweet about your girls giving you a baseball bat because someone tried to break into your house. There's a certain satisfaction that comes from having the Elder's Quorum President/Future Superbowl Ring Wearing Celeb singing karaoke and dancing to the Backstreet Boys. You've gotta love your friends looking out for you with a somewhat restricted guest list and one friend bringing me a new boyfriend (just kidding!). I still can't wipe the grin from my face.
Anyway, 26 was great. I grew a lot and accomplished quite a bit. I feel satisfied with the way it turned out. And if the last 36 hours are any indication, 27 should be even better (notwithstanding the fact that I didn't manage to blow out my 8 birthday candles in just one breath because I nearly lit my hair and my party hat on fire). How in the world can one person be so blessed? I'll tell you what-- I've got a lot of love to live up to.