Saturday, August 30, 2008

Move over Burt Reynolds!

Be still, my heart! This one inspired an ABBA sing-along all the way home from Colorado. Andrew looks like he belongs in Studio 54! Can you believe he's actually considering CUTTING his hair AND shaving the mustache?!!?!? It's terrible. But when he does, I have one word of advice: Mullet.

Friday, August 29, 2008

PS. The one thing that has made me happy in the last week or so:

My friend Andrew is growing a mustache. I begged him to send me a picture. Now I'm exploiting his friendship and trust by posting this on the blogosphere. But I come here to praise the mustache, not to destroy it. Once, about a year ago, I suggested that Andrew marry me. It was mostly a business arrangement, as we'll both be able to take advantage of the capital gains tax loophole in the next year. Last night after I found out about the 'stache, it was motivated by nothing but the purest love. There you go... there's that charity I'm talkin' about! Just kidding. But I do like this picture. It makes Andrew look less like my guru, and more like some shady character I'd meet in a club. Evita Peron would be jealous. Andrew has now cemented himself in the territory of "a fantasy... and a saint."

The Greatest of These

Back at BYU, I was a whiz in my stats classes. Really. I don't know why. I was never a "math" girl, but maybe it's because stats aren't like regular math. But for whatever reason, I got it, and it was nice.
In my first statistics class, there was a guy I used to sit with. We'll call him "Ghent" because that was his name, and honestly, what do I care? This will not be libel, because everything I'm about to say is true, and what's he to me? Ghent (pronounced "Gent," like the first part of "Gentleman"--ironic!) was this really handsome, brooding guy. He also happened to be my bishop's son, and I thought he was pretty cool. He used to walk me to my acting class after stats, and I thought we were getting to be good friends. I had a mild interest in him, but nothing more than a passing fancy, as at the time I thought I was hopelessly devoted to someone else (and I truly was). Anyway, one day out of the blue, Ghent stopped talking to me. He sat in the back with this pretty blond girl. At first, I assumed he was interested in her, so it didn't matter. In my mind I wished him luck and then paid attention to the professor. But he wouldn't talk to me after class. He came late to our lab, would run out early, and make it a point to give me the dirtiest looks imaginable. I felt awful. I know that I'm not the easiest person in the world to be friends with (anyone who actually knows me is laughing at the utter truth of that statement), so I started the accountability march. I thought back to every possible thing I could have done that might have offended him. I sent him an email apologizing, though I think I remember still not knowing what I was apologizing for. I tried to catch up with him after class. I'd turn to the back of the lecture hall for a peek at him, but he maintained a resolute stare at our prof. And what's more, I worried about him, hoping the blond girl would be able to help explain standard deviations to him because I used to be his go-to for homework help.
Through a bizarre series of events (mostly) beyond my control, things came to a head one night. He'd left a note on my front door while I was away at a church activity. My friends came back to my apartment, and everyone was delighted to see that there was a note for me... they were tired of my moping, and sure that the apology note would right all wrongs and that I would be happy again. I really had been mopey for ages, wondering what I could do to fix the situation. But the note was not an apology. It said something to the effect of, "We're not friends, nor were we ever, nor will we ever be." It was mortifying. While my friends awaited my celebration dance, they were instead forced to endure what I imagine was the most tortured face imaginable, and a guttural cry, and me launching myself upstairs to lock myself in my bedroom.
But that didn't last long, either. Ghent's note quickly propelled me from one stage of the grieving process to another. Denial and amends became anger. I called him up, and was surprised to catch him at home. It was the first time we'd spoken in perhaps a month. I told him that I respected his note, and I'd leave him alone, but I demanded to know what on earth it was that I'd done wrong so that I might not make that same mistake in the future. His answer?
"I've tried and tried to get rid of you. You are like a leech, a pest. You're always there. I've tried to hint at it, but you just don't get that I absolutely do not want you around. I've tried everything to make you go away of your own accord, but the fouler I was to you, the nicer you were to me. But the very thought of you makes me want to vomit. I can't stand you and your niceness. I don't want to have anything to do with you."
And really, what can you say to that?
For a while, I thought Ghent was just off his rocker. Who wouldn't want to be friends, FRIENDS!, with someone who is nice? Who reacts that way to someone just trying to be kind? I was convinced he was mean and awful and terrible and that I was better off without him.
But you know what? That 20/20 hindsight is a powerful thing. In later years, I actually realized that Ghent had taught me a valuable lesson. It finally sunk in that no matter what you do, not everyone will like you. In fact, you will make some people physically sick. Ha!
I actually saw him once in downtown Salt Lake. He looked sad and awful. No, that's not true. He still looked wonderful, and just as physically beautiful as he always did. But he didn't look happy. He looked ashamed. But then again, maybe he was just annoyed that we were breathing the same air. Still, if I got the chance again, I think I'd go hug him. 1) It would make him really uncomfortable. 2) I could thank him for the valuable lesson, as painful as it was.
So what does that have to do with anything?
Over the last few days, I've been thinking about charity. Not the world's definition of charity, like "Oh, I'd better take these worn out clothes to the less fortunate," but charity as the pure love of Christ. I'm pretty sure that charity is the all-encompassing commandment. I mean, think about it. 1) Love God. You show that by keeping the commandments. 2) Love everyone else. I think those two items are the bottom-line of how we'll be judged someday, and from all the introspection, I've realized I need to be better at loving.
The love I give out is not charity, in most cases. Oh, there are a few people who are recipients of my unconditional love. Actually, more than a few. I give love pretty freely. I love to love others-- it's a lot easier than hate or worse, indifference. I'm not generally jealous, and I feel like I'm good at rejoicing when those I love rejoice. I need to be better, but I try to be aware of their burdens as well. I want to bear them. At this particular point of my life, I'm far from puffed up (that's the one good thing about being truly brokenhearted-- so much easier to be humble), but you know that part about charity seeking not its own? That's where I really mess up.
I guess that there's still the selfish part of me that's looking to be the recipient of that love just as much as I want to give it out. I don't know if it just comes with the territory of trying to love that you'd desire if not to be loved back, at least to have the love you offer accepted and not pushed away (or, in Ghent's case, regurgitated). Maybe that's the true measure of the love you give out-- loving someone enough that their happiness is what matters, and you stop taking thought of your own. Gosh, I wish I were there already! But you can't stop loving all the people you meet for fear of eventual heartache, because at the end of the day I think we'll not be judged on our popularity or our status, or how many people loved US, but the love we give out. And I want my love to be quality.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'm in love with illusion so saw me in half, V 2.0

I guess I haven't felt much like writing lately. I mean, who wants to go to a normally-happy blog and hear "My life is a crap hole?" No one. Plus, I just didn't trust myself to not say something dramatic, condemning, idiotic, etc. I've just been too sad and out of sorts. It got desperate enough that I sent a text message to my own personal life coach/guru/inspirational, motivational, put-on-a-high-pedestal type of friend, asking him to tell me a joke to get my mind off of my sad week. All he said in response (because I made it an early evening and went to bed in favor of crying for hours) was, "What would Dr. Talbot do?" Dr. Talbot was our crazy lit teacher back at the Brigham. I'm sure I've mentioned him before in some of my writing (though it might be in a draft of my book... who knows, right?). The truth is, Dr. T probably wouldn't have one bit of advice. He'd likely just blink a few times, stroke his chin dramatically (this went very well with his tweed-and-elbow-patched sport coats) and then start talking about Montaigne or Borges. From that, I extrapolated that I ought to write. Not that I'm Montaigne or Borges or even Judy Blume, but I thought it might be therapeutic.
Ugh. Breaking up is hard to do (cue the do-wap music).
Wanna hear the latest embarrassing story? The other night, former bf's mother (do you like that I can't bring myself to call him "ex?" It just has too many negative connotations), and I saw one another at choir practice. She's our new pianist, and maybe the cutest lady on the planet. Unfortunately, only 4 students showed up for the first practice, so we were all forced to chat rather than to sing. When the choir director (aka the second-cutest lady on the planet) asked me if I wanted to marry her son, I just blurted out (in a mostly-joking way), "Actually, I still want to marry HER son," pointing to the lovely M.A. Oops. Too bad I don't have a filter. I'm sure she knew it was an exaggeration, but I'd not really planned on letting anyone, let alone fbf's mother, know how sad I was. And then I went home and got back to the business of being sad. I'd done ok for about three days in a row, but I've gone back a step or two.
Anyway, that's the update. Maybe the happy happy joy joy ones won't be too far off. Peace.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

At least I'm consistent

And now we've arrived at the self-sabotage state. I'm miserable. I'm taking a break. No pity, please. Just understanding.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The woes of a broken heart, masking as a manicure tirade

I guess some things never get easier. Like trimming the nails on your right hand. Why is it so difficult? Even though I display a few more ambidextrous tendencies than the average girl (or at least I fake it with my propensity for eating continental style), it never is a joy. Oh, sometimes you get lucky. You're ready for it, because you do plan to trim your nails after your hands have soaked in the bathtub for a bit, so things are a little more pliable. Sometimes, you get off easy and it doesn't look like someone has taken a hack-saw to the hand you write with. But then there are those days when you break a nail, and being a slave to symmetry as I am, you have to trim every digit down to the quick. Makes playing the piano easier; makes wearing en-vogue black nail polish less garish; but it brings on the frustration of being reminded of one's own limitations. My left hand looks fine, even. My right hand is a mess-- all jagged edges.
So here it is-- I'm single and ready to mingle once again. Except that I'm not. One month and a few days of coupledom have apparently handicapped me socially despite 88 previous prospects. I'm a little lost. At first it was quite easy to put on the brave face and tell everyone that I was a victim of circumstance and geography. It felt all right because I felt the same, and felt secure in my non-existent relationship. But today I got a bit of a reminder that I don't belong to anyone anymore, or that if I do, it's not the same give-and-take it was a week ago. My hands with the jagged nails feel empty.
And to all those tsk-tsking my frankness, offering up honesty won't make my nails grow back any faster, but at least typing a blog lets me remember I still have fingers.

Friday, August 15, 2008

If Ye Are Prepared, Ye Shall Not Fear

OK. This is it. The last night of coupledom for me for a while. It was fun while it lasted. How do you like that I just posted the pictures last time, and now you're getting the pre-breakup blog? Oh well. Life is a facsimile of a sham. Just kidding. I've always wanted to say that-- it's from those Georgia Nicolson books I like so much.
If I were Georgia Nicolson, I would spend the next several days writing in my diary about how I'm living in a bed of pain and subsisting on Jammie Dodgers. Well, I do happen to have JDs in my cupboard, but at this stage of my day, I don't think I'll need to break them out just yet. I'm not 100 percent happy about losing Ray, but I'm 100 percent happy that he's going back to school, living his dreams, prepared for an excellent semester, and ready to show all of Las Cruces that he's every bit as awesome as I've always said. I'm 100 percent happy that I had an excellent summer and came out of it with a stellar (his favorite word) friend I'll hopefully have for life. And I'm 100 percent happy that I'm capable of being happy on my own. I mean, mostly. The other day I went into a bit of an emotional tailspin, complete with a series of massive nosebleeds (a sure sign I'm stressed out), convinced that I've never been happy in all my life. But I think that was just the blood-loss talking. Now that I've had time to coagulate, or whatever it is blood does, I'm seeing clearly now (hahaha: in an ironic twist, we're expecting rain this weekend). About a week ago, Ray started to come down with the world's worst sore throat and ear ache. Poor little peanut felt like the devil... one could tell just by looking at him. So while he was in a literal bed of pain, I spent my Saturday doing all those things that I never get to do-- fun things. As a matter of fact, I made a list of only fun things I'd like to get done. As satisfying as it generally is to cross off things like "mow the lawn," it was even more satisfying to have a list which read: Pedicure, Matinee of Brideshead Revisited; Target; Sweet Tomatoes; etc. It was fantastic, and I did it all by myself. I didn't even feel bad until I told my mom I was practicing being single again. Then I teared up a bit. But it was short-lived. Until the above-mentioned mini-meltdown, that is. But I'm over it.
So now, there's no need to sic my entourage/posse on Ray (though I still find it heartwarming how many out there were willing to maim anyone who hurt me). I just need to throw myself back into the business of being Rachel Sego. It'll be good. No more excuses keeping me from the gym (but we were making out until 2:15! Surely that burnt plenty of calories!). No more falling off the health-food wagon (but we consistently SPLIT those Flying Star desserts!). Now is the time to return to my friends, like the prodigal, ready to once again bemoan (while secretly savoring) my singleness, waiting for something else to come along and capture my attention. I'm not in a hurry. I've had it better than I could have imagined for the last several weeks, and now autumn is nearly upon us with its myriad possibilities. I've got things to do! My Bob Ross Halloween costume to perfect, for example. Refurbishing those amazing chairs-- another. Jeff and I are still set on making a table out of my parents' old front door. I'm ready to start running again... possibly. I started making rings for a holiday gift boutique. I'm trying to learn some new songs on the piano. I'm anticipating a visit from Andrew, and another from Kimball. I'm thinking about joining my friend Jen on a cruise. Yeah. It's all good. I feel like a modern mini-aristocrat for all the luxuries and social intrigue of my life. Like Ray would say, stellar.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

It's like the Karate Kid...

OK, there it is. For all those who needed some pictures, here are some photo booth wonders. And no, Ray doesn't mind. Even with the pending breaking things off, he's wonderful to encourage the exercising of my first amendment rights. And he told me last night that he likes that I'm a nouveau feminist. Could this guy get any better? Oh yeah. Maybe if he wasn't moving to Las Cruces. Just kidding! For all you worrying out there in the blogosphere, the compilation we like to call Raychel (or Rachel Ray) will live on as a marvelous friendship, no matter what.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cleaning Up and Cleaning Out

So my mom's got several friends coming into town this weekend for her birthday. The ladies will descend on Thursday, hit the cabin in Colorado Friday through Sunday, and go home on Monday. That means she wants everything to be perfect (and because it's her birthday, we're trying to accommodate those wishes-- not that we wouldn't do anything for mommy anyway... we all love her so much that we're inclined to slavery). But it's not just her house that's expected to be up to snuff-- all her offspring's' dwellings must also be immaculate. Ben and Skye will give their home tour Thursday morning before they head out of town. Ashley is hosting a pre-birthday dinner for mom at her place (well, Robert's place until they get married December 19) Thursday night. A couple of the ladies will be staying at my house, and the others will want to see it. No big deal, right?
Well, not exactly. Fortunately for those who remember my extremely messy years of college (and, if you would, please try to forget them!!), I've truly outgrown all that. My place is generally 96% clean. It only takes a little bit to get the house in tip-top condition. HOWEVER, my yard is not in that same category. I've got weeds all over the property, which I sprayed last Thursday, but they're not dying off fast enough. My lawn is still a bit patchy, with quite a few weeks mixed in with the grass. So long as I mow, it doesn't look too bad, but my lawn mower is set on mulch, and I can't manage to get the clippings to go into the bag. It's terrible. With the monsoons, my grass has been growing SOOO fast that I really ought to mow twice a week, but that never happens. So when I do mow (about every 8 days or so), I have to start that awful lawn mower about 30 times (unfortunately, that's not even an exaggeration). What's more, I've got weeds as tall as I am growing near my trees in the rocks. I didn't want to use Roundup on them for fear of hurting the trees, but then time slips away... it's a mess. If I could just have a couple of hours of uninterrupted work time, I'd probably be able to get the backyard looking a little more presentable. Maybe tomorrow... Nothing like waiting until the last minute to motivate a person, but Ray will be visiting tonight, and I'd hate to ask him to help me pull those nasty weeds. Ick, ick, ick. I wish I were rich and could hire a gardener. But don't worry, it'll get done. And then I'll be able to brag about the wonders of my little bit of earth.
In the meantime, I've been doing some other interesting cleaning. Today I went through my inbox and deleted HUNDREDS of messages. I honestly don't know what got into me, or what took me so long to do it. I tried to save the really important things, but those messages are all categorized neatly into labeled,, virtual folders. As of this moment, my email inbox has one message, and that's a coupon from Cost Plus World Market. I look forward to deleting that as well.
Then, the techno-cleanup continued. I looked through my text-message inbox. I'd been keeping some of those old messages forever... mostly from old pseudo-boyfriends telling me that I'm beautiful or wonderful or "freakin' awesome" or that they love me or miss me. I'd even held on to some of Ray's more romantic texts (and that might be really silly as Ray will be the first to admit he doesn't go for schmoozy, over-the-top sweet nothings... mostly they were the ones that made my heart speed up a bit, like when he called me sweetie and so forth [yes, I know, I'm pathetic]). But today I gave most of those up as well. I mean, do I really need a year-old "I think you're gorgeous" from Chevron? Probably not. The only two I haven't deleted are a friend's mailing address I need to mail off his wedding present in the next few days, and one of my cousin shrieking like a banshee from last Halloween. The address will go, but the shrieking will stay with me forever. Hey, give me a break! It's hard to let go of every sentimental message!