Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Accidentally, Do You Say My Name?

I had a little odd wave of jealousy yesterday. Odd because usually I'm not a jealous person. When my friends and family have something go right, I'm happy to rejoice with them. Odder was the fact I was jealous of these people I don't really know.
Like most of the rest of my generation, I'm a social networker, for better or worse. I don't try to meet anyone online (though folks these days argue the stigma is diminishing, I still find it creepy), but I love, love, love reconnecting with people I've known in the past. Plus, it's convenient for staying in touch with even people you see daily. Oh, it's not like in college, when kids would IM their roommates or the friends down the hall-- I still am much happier with face-to-face communication. But my Facebook friends, for example, fall into three major categories: 1) My real-life close friends, 2) Friends from the past who I still truly care about, but don't have time/ability to see, so Facebook or Myspace becomes a lifeline, and 3) People I need to keep tabs on, especially for church-- these are people I like and care about, of course, but I wouldn't necessarily spend a lot of time with them outside of our meetings. The Category 3 people are still important to me, but I mostly like the convenience of communicating with them all at once-- like when we need to get the word out about a party or something.
Well, yesterday, a Category 3 "friend" popped up on my newsfeed. I like him all right. I rarely see him, but I always wish him the best. I realized, though, that I haven't seen him around lately, so I turned to a little investigation (sounds so much better than stalking, doesn't it?). As I glanced over his page, I was happy to see that things continue to go well with his girlfriend (probably the main reason our circle of friends never sees this bloke), and that he'd just come back from a really nice trip abroad. And then suddenly, I felt terrible, because I felt like I'd neglected him. This is unfounded, of course. I have no obligation to this fellow, besides treating him with kindness and such. But I realized I knew so little about him. I was calling him a "friend," but we are practically strangers.
I continued to scroll down his profile page. Did I realize before he and his girlfriend of just a couple of months are already proclaiming their love publicly? His status was "T loves his beautiful girlfriend." She commented that she liked that. Of course she does. They are a splendid little match, and knowing them both (in a VERY limited capacity), I can see how God brought them together at just the right time. They have this little pocket of bliss that's theirs, that I shouldn't have been invading. But I wanted to be happy for them. Instead, I was a little jealous. Not because I have a crush on this boy or anything silly like that. More because they are so happy and I'm a latecomer to being happy for them. It was unfounded. It made little sense. And when I woke up this morning, I didn't feel that way at all. But for about 30 minutes yesterday, I felt all wrong.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Lover

Remember how April 24 is always a red-letter day (Skye's birthday, 55-year-old man asking me out, near-death experience with the old man trying to shoot me and Trevor, the surprise with the homeless person under the dumpster, etc.)? Maybe this time of year is significant too. Were ex-boyfriend and I still together, this would be an anniversary.
I still laugh about how it all went down. I must have been riding a wave of self-confidence, because I felt like it was bound to happen sooner or later. I knew what he wanted, but I made him work for it a bit. He'd come over to get away from someone at home who made him unhappy. I was still pining away for someone else. He was waiting for me when I got home from visiting teaching. I think it'd been raining, because I remember my yard looking damp. We talked for a while. He ate ice cream out of my freezer that had been there for heaven knows how long. I don't like ice cream. It may still be in my freezer, in fact. We ended up watching a couple movies. They were short, so it wasn't a huge deal, but I tried to kick him out of my house because it was late. He begged me to watch another one. I told him I was tired and that I might fall asleep. I guess that's when he decided to attempt a "move." He positioned me so I my head was on his chest, but ironically, I couldn't even see the television. Instead, I laughed to myself for the whole 45 minute video, not because of the corny goings-on on the screen, but because I could hear his heartbeat speed up and slow down rather consistently. I could tell when he was planning and anticipating and when he'd talk himself out of it. At the end of the movie, I thought he'd go home, but no such luck. I knew he wanted me. He kept saying ridiculous things like, "I really should go home, but here I am..." and it was lame. And cute. Finally, I told him that I wasn't opposed to this thing happening, but that if he wanted it, it was all on him. He had to decide. He had to make the move. That was all the invitation he needed. A few days after kissing him, I remember calling my girls and telling them I didn't know what I thought about it. But we worked past it and had a summer of love and happiness. And then summer ended. And then the relationship ended. And then my life ended, temporarily. But I came out of the sorrow like a butterfly from a cocoon. I'm not a monarch. I'm just a plain little yellow butterfly, not much more than a moth. But I have wings and were I to ever land on his shoulder, I'd sprinkle him with fairy dust and dance and thank him for teaching me to love.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A few quick Pop Culture Notes to Head into the Weekend

Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't give a shout-out to my musical bestie, Michael Jackson. And ok, he's not my Michael Stipe, and I'm really more into Erasure, Depeche Mode and the Smiths, but he definitely was leaps and bounds in front of Ricky Martin for me. And that's saying a lot, because there's a lot of Ricky in my CD collection (mostly in espanol, actually). Anyway, I'm pretty sad about the loss of our little MJ. I've always really liked him. It might be because it was tradition in gifted class to watch "Thriller" every year around Halloween, I don't know. I do remember being the only person in my office proclaiming his innocence during the last round of trials. Also, I used to get in mega trouble for always publishing AP MJ news instead of local stuff on the Daily Universe's Arts and Culture pages. But hey! I was the gatekeeper, and I just found Michael Jackson way more interesting than yet another Vocal Point performance. As I drove home last night, I turned on the radio and heard "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5. I cried.
But this is not all, my friends. There are other things in my life, and for brevity's sake, I'll just list them here:
1. I discovered I hate Richard Burton. How could have Elizabeth Taylor married him? Twice!?
2. I feel bad for Ryan O'Neil, but he really should have married Farrah years ago. He's ooky, though. So's Tatum. Love her work, but I think the woman is nuts. Like worse than Kirstie Alley or Tom Cruise.
3. Sev loaned me his copy of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus." I'm learning a lot-- particularly, that everything I do is wrong. No wonder men run screaming from my presence. Seriously. This book could be called, "How Rachel Sego treats Men like Women Without Meaning To, And How if she doesn't Take My Advice, She'll Burn in Hell... or At Least Be Lonely Forever." I'll try to finish it soon so I can give a full report. I actually think I like it much better than "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man."
OK. That is all. I'm off to a creative, arty weekend. There'll also be some good extended family time, which means someone's gonna get offended (more than one person if a certain aunt gets her way) and some pretty major bragging (thank you, Uncle). Another uncle is sure to prophesy and if my cousin E tells me again I look like Mama Cass Elliott, I'm outta there and back to singing harmony in gypsy clothing in the privacy of my own home. For now, though, I'm off to straighten the house before an evening with Russ and Natalie.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Single or Extra Single?

OK. I'm liberated. I've broken free from the fetters and oppression of a pseudo relationship. So not only am I single (as I always was), now I'm extra single, which means my one decent, legitimate, and somewhat-interested prospect has been tossed aside. Well, not tossed. But because he's made the decision to not get help and get healthy, I made the decision to move on. I have to. For my own sanity.
And if you want to hear the laughable, extra-ironic and knife-twisting bonus, I got an email from a platonic friend this morning telling me he wants space. I'm trying to not be mad, but I can't help being hurt. On the one hand, I'm super used to boys treating me like my friendship overtures were part of a diabolical and covert operation to trick them into wanting more (hello! I'm not that smooth, and I'm too old for games), but the ironic thing is I'd only ever tried to be the supportive, background friend. Funny how he started "needing space" when I needed a little support. I told him I'll wait for his call. What I meant is, I'm not going to hold a grudge. But I'm also not going to hold my breath.
It's hard, this lonely lot. Oh, I don't mean to sound ungrateful. The other night, the girls surprised me (nearly gave me a heart-attack, actually) by showing up at my gate while I was mowing my lawn. They're a wonderful source of support. My family is pretty awesome, and there are more people who are kind to me than I deserve. However, my temporary popularity with the fellas is over (probably because I asked them to stop treating me like a pawn in their game of Alpha Male Establishment). The plans I make inevitably fall through, but I'm never as sad about it as I should be. Sev is making me read his copy of "Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus." That pretty much has lost cause written all over it. But on the bright side, I can still listen to Destiny's Child "Independent Women Part I" on repeat and feel good about being one of the honies makin' money or whatever.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You know your Love Life is Bad...

... when your bank teller starts lecturing you. Seriously.
Ida, the sweet gal at First Community Bank, gave me the most piteous look yesterday.
I was out running errands. There was a new teller at the window. Matthew. He was cute. And probably 18, making me Mary Kay LaTourneau.
First Community is famous for knowing their customers personally, calling them by name, and basically being wonderful. Seriously, I really like that bank. If it weren't for the free checking at Wells Fargo and the hassle of switching (and the trouble FC has had recently, financially speaking, of course), I'd go ahead and switch. The people at my local WF are about as incompetent as they come, so I regularly go to another branch. Taking business stuff to FC is always a joy. Well, almost always.
So new Matthew, cute little drive-up teller, started to help me with my deposit. I'm sure they've got a database with all our names and info, but because I go to the bank most days, the ladies know me. Ida came to the window to introduce me to the new guy.
Then she asked, "How's your mom? I never see her anymore."
I told her Mother would be in later to sign a lien release for a customer and have it notarized, but that my parents let me run the errands as a bit of a tender mercy.
"When you work at your parents' house two miles from your own and your office is in your childhood bedroom, your life isn't too exciting," I explained to Ida. "Basically, I only work and go to church, so going to the bank and the post office keeps me from going stir crazy."
Ida clicked her tongue. "Don't you have a love life?" she inquired.
There wasn't much to say. I think I mumbled something about the boy I date being out of town. I didn't want to look like a loser in front of Matthew, but later I started thinking it probably sounded like I made up a boyfriend. Oh well. A lot of locals bank there. Maybe Ida can find me a boyfriend. Preferably one with a nice, fat account.

Monday, June 22, 2009

And Another Thing: A Change Would Do Me Good

Why I'm looking for a new ward:
*Because I've got the (not undeserved) reputation for being mean.
*Because "Perfect Spencer" told people to come to his campfire instead of my house and smirked when he told me, "Oh, of course you're invited Rachel."
*Because when we played "What if" there were nice little comments like, "What if Rachel weren't bossy" and "Then this game would actually be fun" and even though I pretended to laugh, I went into the bathroom and cried, and counted as far as I could in Polish to take my mind off of it.
*Because even though I try pretty hard, there's still the "I Hate Rachel" Club, and I'm tired.

Why I'm thinking of taking myself out of social networking:
*Because you know when people delete you or your postings, and it makes you sad.
*Because there are some people who only add you so they can get something from you-- like one of your friends or your expendable adoration.
*Because even though you are a social exhibitionist, it's rough leading the life of a public figure sometimes.

Why I need a personality overhaul even more than a new body:
*Because I alienate people without meaning to.
*Because I lost a friend I never had, and it makes me really sad.
*Because I've turned into a mean person, and people think I think I'm too good for everyone else.
*Because I spent last night alone, and really needed some comfort I didn't know how to get.

Why it's tempting to throw it all away and lead the life of a Gypsy:
*Because I don't know how to maintain long-term relationships.
*Because I could be anonymous.
*Because I don't have any stability anyway.

Bastian, Say My Name!

For the last couple of days, I've had a bit of time to ponder "what's in a name."
I've got these friends who have several children. These are the safe types-- they actually drive under the speed limit on the freeway and their idea of a wild time is popcorn on Sunday evening. They use oil to pop it instead of hot air-- those extra calories give them a big thrill. They are very good sort of people all around. You'd want them for neighbors because they're not throwing loud parties, and they keep their lawn immaculate. They'll bring you jam they canned themselves from berries grown in their own backyard. And they've got several adorable children-- all with very traditional, boring names. Their kids will never get made fun of because a) the names are so boring, no one could even come up with a witty nickname and b) half of their classmates will have the same name.
Now, don't get me wrong. There's something strong about a woman named Mary and noble about a man named John. I'm not into weird names like "Neveah" (because who thinks "Heaven" spelled backwards doesn't somehow invoke hell?) or weird spellings. Yes, "Jemima" has certain connotations, but I like the name. It's pretty, especially for a name ending in "a" (sorry-- I know that in most languages, a name isn't feminine without the "-a," but I've always been more attracted to names with alternate endings). One of my friends named his daughter "Clementine" and they call her "Minnie." Will people sing a folk song to her all her life? Probably, but who cares? People won't forget sweet Minnie, and someday my Gemma can hand out packets of syrup for her student body president campaign.
But children's names have very little relevance in my life at the moment, because I'm a barren spinster. It's another type of naming that gives me pause these days.
I think naming something empowers it. That's why "DTR" (define-the-relationship) talks are always so important to the person more emotionally invested in a relationship. There's this unparalleled bliss when you know you can legitimately call all the hanging out you do a relationship, or rename that girl or guy you hang out with your girlfriend or boyfriend or fiancee or wife or husband. "He" is more than "Peter," for example. "He" is "boyfriend" which means, "He" is yours.
But this goes far beyond relationships-- it touches everything. Having a problem? There are those who like to talk about it, because they think that identifying it will help them overcome it. "What's going on with my body?" they ask. "Cancer? Well, OK. I hate it, but now I know what I can do to overcome it." Or, there are those who think that if they acknowledge it, the THING will get stronger and overtake them, eg., Voldemort. These are the head-in-sand types (and we've all been there, haven't we?) who hope that if they ignore something, it'll go away. Sometimes if I've been inexplicably, unfoundedly mad at someone, for example, and then I get over it, I don't want to talk it out. I just hope (almost always without satisfaction) that everyone can forgive and forget and move on and pretend it didn't happen. It never works, but it is often my preference. Then again, there are times I like to face a problem head-on. You admit to me you've got, or you notice I've got, some sort of issue? Well, we've named it. So I say, let's solve it. We can't bury it if it's not dead, because suffocating it will make us murderers, and it'll just haunt us later.
Even nicknames aren't safe. Again, to use a Harry Potter example, calling Voldemort "He who shall not be named" empowered evil. You might have noticed my hesitancy in using people's real names on this blog under certain circumstances. If it's someone I feel secure with-- someone who falls solidly into a friend category, then no problem. I love you Sokphal and Lou and Pam and Mir and Kari and so on. I'm not afraid to talk about Reuben or Jacob(s) or Sean or Grant. With one noted exception, I'm not worried about abandonment. But with those girls who were part of the "I Hate Rachel" club or the boys I've been "in love" with, you won't find a name. Not a real one. And it's likely wise for me to stop even using the nicknames, because that makes them real. The Ray relationship proved it-- I'd no sooner named him, called him my boyfriend, and posted pictures of us together than it all came tumbling down like the Berlin Wall-- but instead of freeing us from the "oppression" of fidelity, I was long buried in the rubble.
Still, what's a girl to do? I know what you're thinking: just stop talking.
But I can't. I name everything. The swallows on my parents porch are "the Santiago Family." The chicken in the yard is Bertha, and her rooster boyfriend is Esteban. Skye's fetus is "Little Bean" and I suggested Ashley and Robert name their future first-born son Gargamel. One of the boys who sat behind me in church yesterday is now "Ginger" even though it would be just as easy to call him Cameron, if I choose to call him anything at all. Niece is Zozobra and my parents are Mamar and Father Pio. Pamsicle and Nashty and T and Trevie and Goonie and Uncles Brad and Caleb cannot be called by their regular names... I love them too much. Richard Luna even gave me a nickname, but it's really more of a nickname for my hair-- I don't think of myself as "The Duchess," just my insane, expanding coif.
So I'll keep talking. Even though I know I'm sabotaging myself by even acknowledging non-boyfriend (whose name is Jeff, and who it would be easy to love except he doesn't love) and The Guy I Flirt With (Rudy, because it's safe and no one means anything real) and the one no one else will ever measure up to (Andrew). I mean, now it's done. Naming them ends it all. Tonight, I'm staying home to play dirges on my piano.

Friday, June 19, 2009

"Missing Me": A Tribute to Jacob Divett

Jacob Divett with my cousin Mitchell Sego at "River of Lights" several winters ago.
As many of you know, there are many Jacobs in my life.
First, there was Jacob Greenwood, the smelly boy from church who used to pass gas in Mr. Peter's Senior Honors English Class in high school. Jacob always sounded stuffy because he'd had his adenoids out as a child. He was actually a little mean when we were young, particularly in that he tended to spoil surprise parties by letting the honorees know secret plans in advance. However, he managed to redeem himself a bit as he got older by telling stories about how fabulous I was to his friends at school, and he later introduced me to an important boyfriend in my life. He was odd, but he's a decent chap for sure. Now he's married and I wish him every happiness, as well as easier breathing.
Then, there was of course, Jacob Hatch. Hatch is my "boyfriend" who comes home from his mission in South Africa sometime or other this summer (I'm a heck of a girlfriend, aren't I?). He's a vegan and when I first laid eyes on him, his hair was a blond mullet and he was doing a crazy dance with glow sticks. I was instantly smitten. Later, when he gave me a Valentine sonnet (that he pretended I'd inspired, but really it was a leftover from class), I loved him even more. He took me to hear Switchfoot and made me Mary Kay LaTourneau. We liked to hold hands in church to get a big fit out of a certain Rachel James who'd rant and rave about how disgusting our age difference was (I maintain she's just jealous). That Jacob holds a large part of my heart.
Recently, I've been somewhat devoted to Jacob Dial. Dial is friends with my little pal Rudy ("little pal" because English lacks an appropriate diminutive, not a reference to Rudy's physical stature), and Rudy has been good enough to share his friend with me. I find conversations with said Jacob stimulating and sweet. I wore a temporary tattoo to a recent party, just to be like him (his tat is real, though). Jacob Dial likes to establish himself as the Alpha Male in any situation, and sometimes "fights" with Rudy for my love and honor. It's really amazing.
But as fantastic as those Jacobs all are, no one can touch Jacob Divett.
The night I met Jacob Divett. Miriam invited me to "River of Lights." She told me what a big crush she had on J.D. My cousin was my "date," I guess. Mostly I remember them teaching me a crazy card game, which I ended up winning, and Mitchell running to the window every few minutes to check the status of a big blizzard coming in (he's a meteorologist, he can't help it).
OK, confession. The truth is, I haven't really even seen Jacob Divett in ages. Well, I saw him a couple weeks ago when he went to a dance and wore his 1970s General Authority Glasses (I noticed, because I had mine on as well), but we didn't talk. I didn't want to cramp his style, I guess. But either he is busy, busy, busy or he is wicked mad at me (perhaps for making fun of the other band at his last concert? or because I only RSVP'd "maybe" for the next one? or because I told him he ought to be a better friend to me because I was sad he was going to the Eubank Ward instead of visiting the University Branch, and now he's afraid I'm in love with him [to which, I must sadly confess I would be if I didn't have a couple Jacobs in front of him, plus a few others]? or...? Who knows?). Regardless, in a desperate ploy for his attention and friendship, I hereby dedicate this blog post to him.
As you can see, Jacob has no qualms with being kissed by women, even married ones. Though at the time this picture was taken, Miriam was still single and not married happily ever after to Nick Wood, the true love of her life. Still, Jacob loves the ladies. One time I insinuated he was non-threatening, and he thought I meant I thought he was gay. For the record, girls, Jacob has raging testosterone. Or so he says.
The truth is, I'm rather ill-equipped to give a broad tribute to this man. In the friendship spectrum, he's more than an acquaintance, but not my bosom-buddy. I forget that sometimes because I'm an avid fan of his music and even more of his writing (see link above). Even when it's only humorous and not about anything real at all, I think, "Whoa! This guy is my friend! Awesome!" Through his blog, I've learned so many things that only a best friend (or a stalker) would know. Like just how hairy his legs are. Seems like there are a lot of those pictures.

It seems to me we had to fight off a bunch of little kids to get this picture. Jacob beats children. Just kidding. He's actually a child-advocate. For a living. Get this man a white horse and some armor!

So while I'm not quite the Jacob Authority I'd like to be, I submit to my readers this non-exhaustive list of Things I like about Jacob:

  1. When we met, he wore Converse All Stars. As you all know, that's the first way I judge people. By their footwear.
  2. He pretends to be old and jaded and mean, but he's not.
  3. We once hung out in a bookstore, and he let me ramble on and on for hours about all the books I loved.
  4. The ringtone on his phone is the Outfield's "Your Love." When I first heard his phone ringing, I thought it was just playing on my iPod. In fact, my iPod playlists have been greatly influenced by him. I wouldn't have MXPX on there without him. Or as many Kings of Leon. Sometimes, it actually makes me mad if he makes reference to some song or another on his blog that is on my playlist. Recently, there was an allusion to Paul Simon, and I thought, "Stop stalking my MP3 player, Divett." But he loves R.E.M. and didn't treat me like I was deranged when I told him about my great love for Michael Stipe and my yearly dreams of making out with him (M.S., not J.D.).
  5. He doesn't really eat very much meat. I'm not sure why this is an admirable quality, but maybe it just validates my own lifestyle.
  6. He has excellent taste in friends-- read: Miriam Moody Wood, the girl who brought us together as prospective comrades.
  7. His social causes are borne of legitimate thought, experience, and reflection, rather than a hypocritical and trite affectation. I've not always agreed with everything he's said, but he's made me stop to consider alternatives, and I know his stances on issues come from careful analysis, not a pop-culture or talk-radio icon telling him what to think.
  8. He can change oil, because he worked at Jiffy Lube. When he didn't have a job at the beginning of this summer, I tried to tell him my cousins (Pest Defense owners Justin and Garret) had openings, but he's clearly not doing that. He may be the only Mormon boy I know who's never sold pest control, and that is doggone impressive.
  9. Everything he says is either thoughtful, interesting, or funny--At the best of times (most of the time), all three.
  10. We once did an experimental beauty treatment together, with pleasant results. If he wasn't mad at me before, he will positively hate me now. But doing odd little things with Jacob Divett seems positively right, because while socially normalized and acceptable, he is far from ordinary. It feels like being his friend would be an adventure.

A weird reason for loving this less-than-attractive picture of the two of us: Our skin looks all freckly in the light. I don't know. Somehow it makes our mutual beauty so much more approachable! ;)

Sorry, Jacob. I have no intention of embarrassing you. I just think you're tops. Rock on!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Does it fit? Is it attractive? Is it timeless? Does it make me look and feel my best?

I certainly don't like deciding.
Remember yesterday, when I admitted to liking "more is more" when it comes to decorating?
It seems like I like that socially as well. Meaning, it seems like the more boyfriends, the better. Usually.
I know I'm not supposed to admit to this. When my cousin Garret talks about all his lady friends, the worst people think is he's a player. Mostly, he gets high-fives (even from me, and you know I'm a champion of and for women). But there is the very difficult position I've put myself in by being honest-- I can't decide how to cut most of the boys out, so I just rotate 'em. And that makes me sound trampy, though I certainly am not. A tease? Perhaps. A flirt? Unfortunately yes. But I'm no tart.
Still, every time I think about paring down, I'm seized by fear. What if I need that one later on? It's like when you clean out your closet and take clothes to a local charity. Some things are easy to cast off; sometimes they're even new-- something you bought on impulse but regretted as soon as you got it home and were too lazy to return it. Or worse, it was on sale, so you can't return it. Like an ill-fitting dress taking up room in your closet and still sporting the price tags, there are boys in my life who take up space, but periodic spring cleaning is enough to offer them to the less fortunate and more lonely.
However, there are always those "heirloom" pieces you think you've gotta hang onto. I tend to be very sentimental when it comes to clothing. For ages, I kept all these T-shirts I don't wear. They had catchy, irreverent phrases or represented some era of my life or another. I hated the way they took up space in my bottom drawer (I hardly wear logo-shirts at all anymore), and I thought maybe someday I'd turn them into something better, like a quilt. When I finally threw them away, I was surprised that I didn't miss them at all. In fact, I didn't even think about them until just now. There are men like that in my life. I know they're not a good fit, but I keep them around because there's something a bit likable about them. They're begging to be worn, acknowledged, and shown off, but they just don't get a chance at the light of day. Like my high school theatre troupe shirts, I care too much about them to use them for manual labor, but they just gather dust and take up space. When I do finally get rid of them, I forget I even had them.
Then again, in my closet and in my chest of drawers, there are the pieces I've simply worn out. I'm hard on clothing and I'm hard on my men. I once had this Matchbox 20 shirt. It wasn't the typical hokey concert T-shirt. It was simple and stylish and a great color for me. It was soft and I loved the way it felt and made me feel. I wore it in Poland my first summer. I wore it in college. I wore it again in Poland, but the second summer only as part of my pjs, because it was kind of hole-y (holy?) and faded. But I loved it best. I wore it for the two years I worked in independent film. I wore it when I lived with my parents and when I moved into my own house. Along with the vintage comic-strip pajama pants, I lived in and for this shirt. But one day not so long ago, I had to face the facts-- those jimmy jams were no longer appropriate. They had too many holes in too many important places. They were comfortable, but I needed to get rid of them. I bit the bullet. I threw them out. I got new pjs. I miss them still.
There are all kinds of things in my closet, just like there are boys in my rotation. Both are a little too packed for comfort, even though I love most of my clothes, and even most of my boys. Sometimes, you've just gotta figure out what you can live without.
*Stuff that needs major repair, but is still great: Sometimes it's easier to throw something out than hem up the slacks that drag because you're too short, sew on the button where faulty manufacturing or your hard wear has left a gap in the clothes, or patch the hole in your jeans so you don't look sloppy or exposed. Some pieces are worth fixing, but many are not.
*Clothes that no longer fit: This type of clothing can be particularly frustrating. If you're lucky, you've lost some pudge, but you find your new lifestyle and body make your clothing appear overwhelming and oppressive. It drowns you. On days when you feel bloated or chubby, it's a shame that those perfect shorts look a little too tight. They're your favorites, and the ones you'd choose again and again for eternity because there's an element of perfection to them. They were made for you, you think. Maybe you've outgrown them or maybe the universe is messing with you because even though you look and feel better than you have in ages, they still don't fit right. You want them, but they don't seem to want you.
*Matchy-Matchy Outfits Your Friends Have: My friends tend to have similar taste in clothes. Sometimes we shop together. And some pieces are so great, it doesn't matter if the girl is typically into a different style of clothing-- if it's amazing, she wants it. So while it's awesome to sometimes stage dress-alike days, it can cause a little bit of agony when you've got one piece that's the perfect fit and super flattering on all the women you know, but the store only has one available. I've always been about having my own identity, so my first inclination is to just give in and let others do the matching. If there's a scarcity problem, I know I'll be extra tempted to buy due to the off-limits or high-demand nature of the product, but no one wants to be the girl with the great wardrobe and no friends. It's hard to know if there's ever a time when couture is worth hurt feelings.
Anyway, my closet is full, and I need to get rid of some stuff. I like a lot of it, though. There's a shirt I keep threatening to throw out, but it just needs some fixing up. OK, a LOT of fixing up. But it hugs my body in the right places and though it wasn't what I expected, I am strongly attached to it. I hate to get rid of it.
I've got this trendy jacket right now. I think other people like it way more than I do, so I should just pass it on, but it's new and manages to hold my attention. Still, it might just be taking up precious space.
There's a pair of jeans I wasn't originally impressed with, but as I've tried them on a few times and worn them in, I've discovered they're pretty much perfect. But I can't find them when I look for them. They show up when I've got other things to wear. When they'd be perfect for an evening out, it's like they've run away because they know I like them too much. These jeans feel classic and edgy all at once, and like they'd be in style forever, but they're just not there when I need them.
And there are several shirts in my closet that match stuff friends have bought-- intentionally or otherwise. What can I say? I hang out with girls known for their good taste. Sometimes these are the pieces I like the very most, but I feel too intimidated to wear because they look better on the other girls, or because I'm afraid I'm stealing someone else's outfit thunder. It seems like such a shame to throw them out, but just wearing them around the house and away from my friends is not a solution. They just hang in my closet, and I can't tell if I really need or want them or not.
And let's not forget about my old stand-by pajamas. I sent this pair to Poland, and ended up reunited with them in Utah. I couldn't be away from them, even though I didn't move just for a pair of silly pjs. But they were appealing. I used to think they were too beautiful to wear, and just kept them on a high shelf. But when I'd put them on, I loved them. Now I know they're just jimmy jams, and there are a lot of others in my third drawer. They're made from organic cotton, and when I wear them, my dreams seem more pleasant, vivid and empowering. Sometimes when I wear them and look in the mirror, they're not as forgiving as I'd like. I can see my flaws more clearly when I wear them and parade around. But they're still comfortable. They managed to end up in Nicaragua for a month. I finally feel worthy of them, but like my jeans, they're just not around.
Anyway, I'll be cleaning out the closet again soon. Anything uncomfortable is going to charity. If it doesn't make me feel great and confident, say goodbye. The cheap impulse buys are a sunk cost, and they can be packed off to those whose closets are so bare they'd be thrilled with anything. The timeless, the unique, the stuff I try to be better for to look better in-- they can all stay. I wish I could find the right outfit, though. I'm tired of not dressing appropriately.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Stranger than Fiction, or Strangers no More

I made some new best friends this weekend.
First, there was the girl at Cost Plus World Market on Friday. I was able to skip out of the office a little early on Friday to spend time with my mom, my aunt, a lady I call my aunt, and a couple of their good friends for an afternoon of antiquing. But in between the antique stores on Central and in Nob Hill, and those in the North Valley on 4th St. (by the way, you'll get better deals in the NE Heights than you will near Rio Grande), we did a quick stop over at Cost Plus. I needed to pick up some Italian soda for my sister-in-law, and I found some globes for my collection. Anyway, I also saw a great quilt I thought my mom would lurve-- it was pink and orange paisley. It would probably be too loud for my father's taste, but I wanted to show it to Mum anyway. As I led her back to the bedding area, I saw a great quilt on the floor, and soon after, a sweet-looking girl pondering it. My mom wasn't so impressed with the paisley as I was, so she took off to the check-out, but I stuck around for just a bit.
"You really ought to get that," I said to the girl.
"Really, you think so? Why?" she asked.
"Well, because, it's amazing. Are you re-doing a bedroom?"
"Yes, it's all part of giving the house a feng shui makeover," she said. "But I'm also thinking about this one over here." She held up a beautiful teal blanket with a brown damask print.
"Well," I said, "for what it's worth, I still think you ought to get the first one. I'm no expert, but I think you'd really enjoy this one. The pattern is great. The weight is nice, because it's heavy enough to not slip off your bed, but light enough for summer. You can easily put a down comforter under it during the winter. This one with the birds and flowers is the last one, and it's so unique. The other one is beautiful, but it kind of looks like you could get it..."
"At Target," we say together and laugh.
"This one," I went on, "looks a little more Anthropologie."
"That's exactly what I thought!" she exclaimed. "I just needed someone to come over and confirm it. But what color pillowcases do you think I should get?"
And we were instantly friends. I told her in decorating, I tend to subscribe to a "more is more" aesthetic, and she agreed. Her boyfriend/husband looked like a hairier version of my ex-boyfriend. I wish I would have got her name or given her my card. She is me in an alternate universe. I was so pleased to meet her, and to hope I might be that cool.
I also managed to bond with some other folks I didn't know. On Saturday, the ladies and I went to the flea market. There was a guy trying to sell me some genuine "I like Ike" pins along with the naval mechanic shirt I bought. There are those who would argue he was only being nice because he was trying to make a sale. But we got on splendidly.
Another lady rolled down the window of her truck as Deborah and I carried a very heavy French armchair out to Aunt Sylvia's van. The woman looked like Carly Simon, laughed, and told us we ought to be on a commercial for the Flea Market. She was one of us. She was my friend.
You know, perhaps it's not using "common sense" to befriend all these strangers. But that's where the best stories come in. When you're not afraid to talk to random people, your life is enriched. I met Adam, my darling gas station boyfriend, in the Chevron. I thought he was cute, but I liked him because he was listening to reggae. I spoke to a Carny at the fair, who in turn introduced me to Tomek, her Polish co-worker. The next thing I knew, T was teaching Polish swear words to Hunter, and taking our "Homies Forever" picture for free. Jeff was a stranger at the Institute one night I was at choir, but just a couple of weeks later, he was moving large furniture into my new house for me. Louise and I went to a movie the other night, and sat in the parking lot afterwards watching an interesting, drunk couple in a fake-fight fraught with sexual tension. We knew them, somehow. Not because we'd been introduced, but we narrated their struggle and cheered for them from my parked sedan.
I don't know any strangers. There are just some people I've not yet got around to meeting.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Like instructions in Afrikaans, I don't follow...

Have you ever had one of those experiences where you feel like you're a huge mess until you meet someone else whose problem is worse than yours? It can really put things into perspective. Sometimes we start thinking we've got it pretty bad, but when we hear about others' trials, we realize we're getting off pretty easy.
You know, I like to mope and moan when the littlest thing doesn't go my way. I'm a big wimp, really. I generally acknowledge my life is much better than I deserve, but that is really reinforced when I hear about the things some of my loved ones are going through. Lately, I've been crying a lot, but it hasn't been because I've stubbed my toe or someone has snubbed me. I cried when I saw one of my besties unhappy recently. She's had a run of bad luck, and she's typically so strong, it's awful to see her down. I know it's a temporary thing, but knowing she's sad makes me want to a) feed her ice cream (or apple pie) and b) beat up the people giving her issues. Plus also, I wish I could do something to help her with the physical hardships, and the uncertainty with all kinds of other things in her life. But I don't know where to begin to help, and it's awful.
Once, a while back, a friend sat in my car telling me about some crazy things going on with her family. I love this girl so much! I had no idea any of it was going on, and had I been in her shoes, I would have wanted to keep it to myself as well. No one particularly likes to air the dirty laundry, right? However, when I've been in my deepest despair, she's been one of my main cheerleaders. Sometimes we can't fix the problem, but we can try to make life more bearable-- for the two of us this involves a little game where we discuss who amongst our mutual acquaintance we'd like to pair up in a boxing match, and who would win. It's amazing what this will do for one's mood.
The most recent personal trial I've learned about is a concept so foreign to me I don't know where to begin to help. The person in question is a friend who says he doesn't feel anything. No anger, no malice, no discontent, no pain, but also no connection, and worst, no love. These feelings of apathy are keeping him from so much happiness, and at best he gets fleeting glimpses of emotion. If anything, I'm the type of person who feels everything too deeply. I used to count it as one of my biggest weaknesses, probably because as a child I was always being cautioned to "control the emotions." Really, I remember that as the battlecry of my youth. But given the alternative in extreme, the world my friend lives in, I'd pick risking immense pain every time for the opportunity to love in any form. Loving someone doesn't mean everything comes up daisies-- in fact, it often means you hurt even more, on your love's behalf. At the risk of again sounding insincere, I really am blessed to love most of the people I come in contact with. It can be a burden, but it is never a curse. You would think such extremes in personalities between my friend and me would lead to balance. Unfortunately, everyone is left unfulfilled and frustrated, and I just don't know how to begin to help, nor that my help is even wanted. He and I are opposites, because he doesn't hate where I love. Where I love, he is indifferent-- less to me than to most others, but I ache in his behalf. How do you help someone with that kind of trial?
I figure so long as my burden is light, I ought to be out doing good. I'd love to start with helping those I love most, but what should I do?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It happens all the time

Weekends aren't always red-letter, but I'm rather pleased with the things I find normal in my life. Even the instances I once judged harsh realities now come as no surprise. I take it in stride. I roll with the punches. I throw a few punches of my own.
Friday afternoon afforded me a few hours of luxury as I ran errands. Truthfully, I can't remember everywhere I went without much effort, but I submit it as further evidence of the bounty and goodness in my life. I let the cat out of the bag and told my mother about transcribing grandfather's poetry only because in researching book binders, I've decided to take a more ambitious route to make the pending volume a more complete Stryjewski-Mulford family history, and I will need her help gathering information. Friday, I decided on a book binder, based more on the way I want the book to look and her positive energy than anything else. Friday, I washed my car, and chuckled when I found people later circling it at Sam's Club in admiration. As a matter of fact, I've decided that the next time my brother starts bragging about his (admittedly) adorable daughter who is a "burden" to take anywhere because people stop him constantly to lavish her with compliments and declare her the most beautiful child they've ever seen, blah, blah, blah, I will say, "Yes, I know the feeling. That's how people react to my car." Friday, I visited my sister at work. Friday, I bought a new workout DVD-- aerobic striptease, and my friends and I are planning a workout party (Rudy and I agree we will only invite people we wouldn't mind seeing naked, though no one will be removing any clothing. This is a workout, not a brothel or an orgy, after all). Friday, I nearly (and of course) accidentally snogged my platonic, male friend (see how "boy friend" would sound!) after a dance. I was powerless to his charms as I watched him pretend to fight his bestie in my honor, and when I meant to kiss him on the cheek, he turned his head. I don't think our mouths even touched, but I immediately began to scream, "My lips are on fire!" I'm sure it was charming for anyone privileged enough to observe it. On Friday, I chastised another young man after he complained about all New Mexico girls being ugly. On Friday, I pined away for a friendship inexplicably retired. On Friday, I made some men fall in love with me, and on Friday, I read a whole book just because I wanted to.
Saturday felt the same. I worked on mother's quilt with great progress and success. I called people to remind them to bring food for the next day's luncheon. I went to the temple, I went to the craft store. I did laundry, I lounged. I accomplished much, but felt rested for it.
Likewise, Sunday was typical, with the exception of a bad hair day. However, such things don't get me down. I made up from a tiff, embraced my dear friend, cried for another, and let one more chap benefit from my temporary attention. I came home and quilted some more, and laughed as I looked at my food storage and my schedule for church obligations. I realized I'm the Relief Society poster child, with the notable lack of Jemima holding my hand, Jude on my hip, and Brother Eternal Companion, my husband, picking Elaine Fairchild up from nursery. However, Emma Smith, I think, would be proud.
That night I talked to pseudo boyfriend, realizing it had been three weeks since we'd last been together, and sure enough, I may have mangled it. Or sabotaged it. My expiration date holds strong, but how glorious three weeks are at the time. I don't mind too much.
It is not unusual for me to go about accomplishing, and I'd only be alarmed if I could slow the brain down enough to truly relax. If you wonder why I tend to be tangential and parenthetical, I think it's because the synapses fire simultaneously, and a little too quickly. But I'm comfortable with the frenzy. So was it anything to write home about? I guess not, but here I am anyway.

Friday, June 5, 2009

What's Love Got to Do With It?

A few years ago, a friend called me to tell me he was getting married. He wasn't anyone particularly special to me, but we'd known each other for quite some time and I appreciated the courtesy call. I was happy for him at first, but the more I thought about his pending marriage, the more upset I got. The thing is, when we'd talked a couple of months before, he told me he was still single. He was still pretty hung up on an ex-girlfriend, and while there was a new girl expressing interest, he just couldn't get excited about her. Something changed, though, because about six weeks later they were engaged.
What a difference six weeks can make! If I'm not mistaken, I can think of dozens of people who've gotten engaged in that amount of time, which-- and no offense is meant to such couples-- I think it's crazy. I guess because I'm such a waffler, and I know how fickle I can be, I can't imagine making a decision of such consequence in such a small span of time.
Regardless, I remember growing progressively more upset about my friend's engagement as the weeks went on. I was so agitated, I even managed to ruin a date with a perfectly nice guy because I told him about it. Being this date was my first (and last) with said gentleman, he wasn't really able to understand my problem and my obsession. He assumed, as most anyone in his position would have, that I was in love with the man in question, and that he was wasting his time. Truthfully, though, the situation was revelatory and paradigm-shifting and upsetting. How, I asked myself, could anyone go from indifference to true love in such a short amount of time?
What was worse was when I discussed the situation with my mother. She revealed such a shocking sentiment I thought I'd lose my lunch-- she told me that she thinks she and my father got married because they were both in the right place at the right time. More than having a fairy-tale romance, they both had just had major relationships go belly-up, and they wanted to be married. It worked out. WHAT? The thought of marrying someone just to not be alone is hideous to me. My parents were on the rebound?! My mom went on to say she thought my dad was still in love with his former flame for the first several years of their marriage. She said she didn't even know the girl's name or anything about her, but she wondered if he was still pining.
Fortunately, my parents ARE in love. I'm sure they loved one another to some degree at the beginning, but as tends to happen in good marriages, love grows and strengthens over time. They've had a happy life together, worked together, overcome things together, laughed together, etc., etc. But it was rather shocking to hear just how far their courtship had been from the Hollywood version of things.
And that's the thing you hear all the time-- "Love's not like in the movies." Well, I should hope not-- at least in my life. Except that I do. I totally do. Or perhaps worse, I find myself in the wrong movie pretty consistently.
Recently, I've mostly identified with Eva Peron as portrayed in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Evita." Eva was a social climber, and surrounded herself with men who were going places. Now I don't think I'd trade someone in because something better came along, but I do think one of my problems with the men I've dated in the past has been their lack of direction and drive. There are, perhaps, several young men who fancy themselves in love with me (some of them have even been kind enough to tell me themselves), but these men do not work with my plans. I am incapable of loving them because they are stagnant. The bumbling fellow who stops in the middle of an intersection with a green light, freaking out because he thinks there may have been a red-light camera? I'm sorry. You must go forward. The chap making one quarter of the money I make? He sleeps all day and stays up all night and accomplishes next to nothing. And he's content that way. The moocher, the indecisive prat, the downtrodden loaf-- they are not acceptable.
Not that I'm looking to be the next Michelle Obama or anything (truthfully, I don't know that much about Michelle, but there's a lot to like about her). I know a guy who can't be away from his PDA, talks about his politically-important friends, and puts on such an air of snobbery to make anyone queasy, but the worst of his faults is his propensity for riding other's coattails. He's not doing anything on his own, really. He just wants to be famous by association. Kind of like all of Paris Hilton's friends. I'm not necessarily impressed with the well-traveled or the chap who got into this or that Ivy League grad program. Such men tend to rest on their laurels and because they achieved some mild success in their youth feel they've paid their dues and do nothing interesting or of import ever again. I'm looking for someone with a life-long drive for greatness and contribution-- someone I can work with and help, and who will help me. But maybe he only exists in the movies.
I like men who are going places. If I can't see some potential for growth and accomplishment, I move on. I cannot possibly saddle myself with someone who will wallow in mediocrity. Truthfully, one man of my acquaintance has a lot less certainty about where life will take him, but I strongly suspect he's a shoe-in for heaven, which keeps him in the running. I guess if you're determined to go somewhere, that's better than anything. However, if all the calls to settle down are tempered with the advice that I'm not going to get my fairy tale, I might as well marry someone to push and pull, who will push and pull me.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"Not to be rude or anything..."

If it's a day ending in "y," you know I'm in the doghouse with somebody.
The criticism has been coming for so long that I've learned to tune most of it out.
"Rachel, you talk too much."
"Rachel, you shouldn't wear socks that match your shirt AND your scrunchie. Shop at Wet Seal."
"Rachel, you just missed your last chance at happiness by not marrying that mute with the mole on his neck. Sure, you'd have to live out on a ranch in the middle of nowhere, where the thrill of your day would be shoveling cow manure, and you'd soon lose your mind, but at least you wouldn't be alone."
"Rachel, please stop sending money to accounts in the Caribbean." Oops, wait. That one wasn't me.
But you know, when you try to give people what they want, they find they a) don't like the results after all or b) are all too happy to give you a new set of critiques and instructions.
"Wow, I've never heard Rachel be this quiet before. Rachel, stop trying to see how many cherry stems you can tie with your tongue and validate my point!"
"Rachel, could you please stop all the mismatching? Your gypsy garb is so last year."
"Rachel, when are you having babies? Don't you dare name your kids Reagan, Elaine Fairchild, Jemima or Jude, or they'll be scarred for life. Maybe because you're too lame to get married, you could adopt?"
Darned if I do, darned if I don't. Sometimes some body's mad at me and I don't even realize it, and then they get all huffy and demonstrative because I haven't paid enough attention to their tirades. "Don't you get that I'm mad at you? You didn't? Well, just for that, I'm going to have a party and have my mom call your mom to let you guys know that you aren't invited."
I've been accused of a lot of things, and been guilty of many of them, whether intentional or not.
"Rachel, you're always trying to steal all the men." (Not Guilty)
"Rachel, you're too divisive." (Guilty)
"Rachel, you won't go out with me so I hate your guts." (Guilty)
"Rachel, you are single-handedly causing global warming because of your insane carbon footprint." (Not that guilty-- I carpool and recycle and reuse as much as possible)
"Rachel, I can't believe you haven't done more to plan my wedding/take care of my child/feed me a delicious meal and then clean everything up by yourself/called someone stupid because they were acting like it." (Guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, but do I really even care?)
One time I cut a friend out for her criticisms. Usually, I'm pretty good about letting things roll off my back, but I think I'd just had it. I told her about an upcoming work/social event I was going to, and how I was excited to have a date with a boy I'd crushed on for years. She offered to go shopping with me, and suggested some places I might go. I told her I wasn't really interested in those stores, because I thought their clothes were too small (read: immodest). She said, "Can't you even wear a size...?" and I dropped her like a hot potato. I just stopped taking her calls. The negativity was too taxing.
Not that I don't appreciate true friends helping me with course corrections here and there. Sometimes, even though it's unpleasant, it's good to hear.
"Rachel, I feel like when you said this to that man in the folk art store, you introduced a little hostility into the conversation. While I know and love you now, when we first met, I thought you were a little intimidating or overwhelming."
"Rachel, maybe you should take a break. Not only does the world not revolve around you, but also it does not depend on you. Things will not fall apart if you are away for a short period of time. In fact, I doubt people will notice."
"Rachel, stop putting that man on a pedestal. You are in love with an idea of a person who does not exist in reality, and the actual man just isn't into you. Yes, I know that you have so much in common and he'd be lucky to have you, but guess what-- he doesn't want you, so there's really not much point in moping about."
"Rachel, that eye makeup makes you look like Uncle Fester from the Addams Family."
Well, whatever. I'm listening, and it even makes me feel bad. But don't expect a big reaction. When the little girl with the lisp in Brownies once told me "I'm pwetty and yohr nawt" I think I cried. And when the little girl with the prosthetic leg in a play with me in fifth grade said, "My family thinks I should have been the one featured in the newspaper instead of you," I rolled my eyes and bought extra copies of the Albuquerque Journal.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Dates and Babies

Good weekend. The key to happiness, perhaps, is low expectations.
Take my recent date, for example. One of my very nice friends has asked me out for ages, and I always found I was previously engaged. Of course, part of that was because I'm not interested in him in that way as we used to say in sixth grade. But I generally book up several weeks in advance, especially where weekends are concerned. I had a slight bit of apprehension concerning the evening, mostly because when he asked me out, he used President Brown's program of "How to Ask a Girl on a Date." This includes calling at least as early as Tuesday for a Friday event, telling the girl you want to take her on a date (as opposed to "hanging out"), telling her you'll pay for it, letting her know the time, activity and dress code, and finally how you'd like the evening to wrap up.
A sample script is as follows:
Hello, Rachel, this is Matt Lauer calling. I'm so glad you are available to talk to me this fine Tuesday evening. I was wondering if you are free this coming Friday evening, because I'd like to take you on a date. I'll be paying, of course, and I'd like to take you to a premiere of a new Broadway show. Afterwards, I thought we'd eat at Tavern on the Green, and end the evening with dancing at the Rainbow Room, so you'll want to wear something smashing, but comfortable because I long to spend hours and hours with you. As you live in New Mexico, I've arranged for my private jet to pick you up on Friday morning, and you'll arrive in the city with plenty of time to change clothes. I know you love H&M, so I've instructed my driver (you'll be riding in my limo, of course) to drop you by the 5th Avenue location. I'd love for the evening to end with a passionate hug, and a peck on the cheek. Would this be acceptable?
Of course, that date has yet to come to pass, and you'll remember I'd never presume to actually go out with my celebrity crush Matt, because he is married and I'm not a home wrecker. Instead, while I was waiting in the parking lot of the Espanola Wal-Mart, I received the following phone call:

Hi Rachel, this is A__. Can you talk?
Yes, but just for a moment, I said, expecting my mother to be done at the pharmacy at any moment (little did I know it would be another hour before we'd be back on the road and I'd lose reception on my phone).
I would like to take you out next Friday if you don't have plans.
Hmm... actually, I DON'T have plans, I said, after hemming and hawing. I couldn't think of any plans I might be able to conjure up to avoid this date.
Well, wonderful. I'd like to take you to a 3-D movie and to dinner at this excellent cafe. Casual clothes will be fine. I'm a hugger, so I'd love to end the evening with a hug, but I'm not opposed to making out if you would like to do so.

Anyway, the date was better than expected. More like they should be-- two old friends spending a little time together. There was a hug. No kissing. At one point, A__ talked about our many mutual friends getting married this summer. He said, "Well, H__ isn't getting married until August." And without skipping a beat, I said, "And I'm actually not getting married until October." The look on his face was priceless (it rather reminded me of the time I was dating a rather naive young man who, like so many before him, was enchanted by my kissing ability. However, said chap got a little concerned and said, "We'd better stop before we make a baby." And I said, "It's OK, I'm on birth control." Hahahahahahahahahah! Of course, I am, but it's for my skin, and what's more, there was NO WAY things would have gone any further than a bit of kissing. Plus also, someone really needed to tell him where babies come from. Anyway, he couldn't speak for several minutes, and my Friday date had that same shocked look on his face). Rather than let him suffer long, I told him I was joking, because he was just about to congratulate me on my engagement. Now, I may be a bit of a player, but I doubt I'd accept a date from someone were I engaged to someone else. Besides, that would have been an excellent excuse last Friday.
Anyway, it was a lovely evening. Aside from me nearly inducing a heart attack, A__ and I had many interesting things to talk about, and I was happy to have him further educate me on steam punks. Bonus!
The weekend was not without some mystery and intrigue, however, as poor Mother called me yesterday on my way home from church. She was in tears, and I could barely understand her. Molly, our little dog of 13+ years, had run away, and Mumsy had already scoured the neighborhood and ditch banks looking for her. I tried to keep her calm, and raced home with all the speed of someone who drives a 300C but just got a speeding ticket less than a week ago could muster. Happily, after a little more searching, we found Miss Molly at the neighbor's. They'd kindly taken care of her, but put her in their house while they'd been to church, which was why my mom hadn't found her before. After that, Mum was a bit wiped out, and Molly just pranced around, looking quite proud of herself. That dog is an ingrate, but how I love her!
Fortunately, the rest of the evening was quite pleasant. My brother-in-law's cousins are visiting my sister for a long weekend, and the guests are an odd couple of 16-year-olds. Most enchanting was Robert's cousin Aaron, who is outrageous in every sense of the word. My favorite part of the evening was when he and his cousin Crisselda (that's really her name) came over to my house to demonstrate all the dances they know from "High School Musical." Aaron took all the girl parts, leaving C to be his backup dancer. I loved every moment of it!
What's more, my own cousin Justin and his wife, Janalee, came to my parents' house last night for a brief visit. In tow was their little ginger-haired princess, Abbie. The following picture does not begin to do justice to Abbie's cuteness, but here is a fairly neutral expression from Miss Abbie: Generally, though, Abbie likes to give me the following expression:
What can I say? Children don't much care for me. Zoey was on rather good behavior last night, and perhaps even more affectionate than usual, trying to keep us from giving Abbie all our attention. This does not bode well for the coming of her little sister, because I think the charming act can only last so long before she's pushing little Bean #2 out of her bassinet, much like her favorite Aunt Rachel did to her father (who she now calls "Ben" instead of "Dad") so many years ago. 17 months apart tends to do that to children, I suppose.
Anyway, Abbie charmed the pants off everyone (not literally, of course) last night, with her newest trick. Despite her sometimes saturnine disposition, the girl loves to kiss.

And yes, that's the face she makes every time she's ready to give you some sugar. I pretty much stayed up all night laughing and thinking about how cute and funny she is. Crisselda, in line for dessert, told me I must love babies and wish I had some. I told her the truth-- that I actually only like other people's. But I am glad there are so many charming ones around. Even the surly ones are good for laughs.