Monday, August 31, 2009

So it wasn't the WORST day of my life, but it's up there...

On this blog, I consistently brag about my independence.

I'm generally rather prideful, and it's bad, but I don't need people to tell me what a good person I am or all the great things I have going for me. I don't know who my future husband is, but let me tell ya, he's getting a heck of a deal. I come with a lot of signing bonuses. If the base contract is just my love, loyalty, sustaining support, basic domestic skills and in-born nurturing, I'm well qualified. But in addition, I bring to the table:

* EXCELLENT and advanced domestic skills-- I love to clean, I'm a super cook (not that I do a lot of it anymore, but I promise I'm pretty good in that department), I'm great with a budget, my home is beautiful and inviting, and I'm like a little Martha Stewart.
* A house with some pretty decent equity
* No debt (except for the above-mentioned house, but again, I manage this very well)
* I am educated but understand that I really know nothing, so I'm always interested in learning more about whatever I can. I think this makes me interesting and a good listener.
* And last, but certainly not least (and did I mention this list is not exhaustive?), my friend Jeff told me last night about some advice his dad once gave him-- Papa R. said that if a man's wife can't cook, you can always hire someone to do that for you. If a man's wife can't clean, you can get a maid. Jeffy's dad just told him he couldn't pay someone for sex. Um, good call. Anyway, the implication is that I should be good at that to have an edge over the other women, but of course, this is one area where I am 100 percent ignorant and inexperienced. However, I feel like my eagerness to learn and practice, practice, practice once I'm married makes me an excellent candidate in this regard.

OK, so anyway, yesterday was pretty awful. The punchline, in case you aren't interested in reading everything is that I got dumped by someone who wasn't my boyfriend, and I had a bit of a breakdown because there was a lizard in my house. I know that sounds stupid, but it was terrible. I ended up kneeling in the dirt, crying in my front yard. I don't know how long I was there. Sound traumatic enough?

It all started with a dream, a premonition. I woke up for my Sabbath from a dream where I was supposed to marry Johnny Cash. Don't ask me-- I suppose he wasn't dead in my dream. Regardless, I was in the mall, just waiting to go downstairs to some Vegas-style chapel, but I kept telling people at the various kiosks how I absolutely didn't want to marry Johnny. So when I went to face my fate, it wasn't Johnny at all, but Mike M., a man 28-years my senior, who had once asked me out in real life. I really didn't want to marry him either, but he carried me off somewhere. We were married, and I was terribly afraid of what my life would be like. But he just rowed me around on a lake-- very Victorian, right?-- and I started to warm up to him. He didn't look 56 years old. And then I fell asleep in my dream, after kissing my husband Mike, but then when I "woke up" Mike wasn't Mike at all, but my ex-boyfriend Ray. Ray was lounging in a hammock, waiting for me to wake up, and I remember being happier than I could have possibly imagined. And then I made out with him. And I woke up so happy.

That is, until I listened to my alarm's obnoxious buzzing and I realized that it was a real problem how much I still loved Ray. Even if it was in my dream, and I couldn't be held fully accountable for it. Because I do love what Ray-Ray gave me, being my first REAL boyfriend. I loved having him in my life. We don't talk at all now, of course, but I wish him well. I really do. It's just that sometimes, when I start thinking about how the aftermath of that relationship changed my life, it's hard. It's not like I'm in pain, it's just that there's this big empty space that nothing can fill. Most the time, I'm able to ignore it, because my life is so full of other love and responsibilities and stuff that it doesn't crop up too much. But instead of getting ready for church right away, I sat on my bed thinking about the way Ray had kissed me before telling me how he wasn't in love with me. And I remembered the hole in my heart, and I wished someone could fill it.

Well, fast-forward through the day. Church was marvelous, actually, and I left feeling spiritually fed. I went home and took a 20-minute power nap and was ready to go. I visited my cousin's family and they gave me fresh produce from their garden. I talked to a great friend on the phone, and felt awesome that I could do some listening and advising instead of always using him for my soundboard and comfort. And then Jeff came over to watch a movie. And though I had a huge list of things I could have been doing (artistic pursuits, mostly), I was glad to have him around.

Now, the other thing you ought to know, is that I have been a little frustrated with some of the men in my life. The friend-men, that is. I am perfectly aware of my dire social situation, but I've lately been trying to do something about it-- remember how I took all those boys out of my phone because it was just consistently disappointing to have them treat me like a convenience? Anyway, I guess I figured if I can't have a husband, I can at least utilize my male friends to fill some of the roles and the voids that a traditional boyfriend would do. For example, there's one guy who acts as my go-to for hanging out, doing-crazy-things fun. Our relationship is very sibling-esque, and I love it so much. If I need to go out, he's the guy. There's another one who understands my inner-artist, and really stimulates my creativity. I've got another guy who I like to talk with about spiritual things, and he's a real strength to me during the challenging times. One is my favorite dancing partner. One is my guru and wise old man on the mountain, guiding me through life. They all are special to me, but none of them fit into that hollow space just the way they should.

The thing is, with the possible exception of the dance partner, these are all things I can get from my inner-reserves, or even better, my gal-pals. The girls in my life are all these things and more. I count on them for so much. And because I'm little-miss-capable-face, I generally don't even think about "needing" a man in my life.

Except for the little things, like getting some shelves built. Am I capable of figuring this out? Yes. The boxes are too heavy for me to lift, but I could open them and move them piece by piece, for heaven's sake. I mean, I built my desk on my own. How hard can some shelves be? But I don't want to build them. I want someone to do it for me.

And yes, I can wield the baseball bat under my bed just as effectively as a man could, but I wish there were someone there to check the noises that usually just end up being my ice-maker.

And I guess I'll likely just have to toughen up about the reptiles and rodents around my property. The bat flew away on its own. I can flush centipedes down the toilet. But so help me, if I ever find a mouse in my house, it'll be the end of me, I know it.

So anyway, like I said, Jeffy was down last night. He'd told me half a dozen times he'd help me build my shelves, but they're still in my garage, in their boxes. In his defense, he's not the only one who offered to help and then didn't follow through. It's just he's the one who I thought would actually do it.

But last night we were both so tired. We watched a movie and nearly fell asleep, but we didn't. And here comes the embarrassing truth: I needed him. So much. I was so glad to have him there, because as stupid as it is, that morning's dream really threw me for a loop, and I just felt like I at least needed another man around, just to remind me that there are other men in my life, and that I've moved on and so on. It's very lame, but sometimes a girl just needs a boy's arms around her. And Jeff was good enough to deliver. He is (was) my cuddling friend. Check.

The evening wore on, and it got late and he needed to drive home and I needed to sleep. But that didn't keep me from wanting him there a little longer. He obliged, but then told me he just wants to be friends. And at first, it didn't bother me. Especially because a) that's all we've ever been and b) that's all I want too. Except the selfish person in me wanted a little bit of benefit to go with that friendship. It's been wonderful to have him to safely fulfill that other fundamental need. Sometimes a girl just needs to be kissed. But just because you want or need something doesn't mean you're gonna get it.

So, when I started to enthusiastically tell him how I was on the same page, it was ok. But then I started listing the reasons I didn't want him for a boyfriend anyway. And it all came out between really awkward, stifled sobs. Like the way I don't really like military boys. And the fact that he didn't talk to me for a whole week while his possessive best friend was there, and the way I felt like he was ashamed of me in public. And the way he'd told me time and time again he'd help me build those blasted shelves, but that he never followed through. And he said, "You're right. I'm not a good friend." And then he left.

Except that I then went to my room, ready to shed my clothes and a day's worth of awfulness, and I saw the nasty little blue-tailed lizard by my curtains. At first, I hoped I was only seeing a piece of lint on the floor and that my imagination was running away because of distress. But it was there, and I started screaming like a maniac. Blood I can handle. Lizards, not so much.

I ran barefoot, screaming out of my house, calling Jeff's name and flagging him down before he pulled out of my driveway. I asked him to take care of the thing because I just couldn't do it. And then I knelt down, crying and praying and crying some more, thinking that this would look like an awful domestic dispute were any of my neighbors to drive by. Because my face was eventually hung over in the dirt, and I was covered with tears and nasal excrement, I didn't want Jeff to see my face. It was mortifying enough for him to see me lose it over a six-inch lizard in my house. He brought me some tissue and I made him promise not to look at me while I got up and went in the house. I don't know if he kept his promise of not, because I just kept my head down and cried some more.

The thing is, I wasn't really crying about Jeff, or even that stupid lizard. I wasn't even crying about Ray, lest someone misinterpret and think I belong in a mental institution. I just felt awful, because there are some things I can't handle alone, and even when I ask for help, it doesn't always come right away or in the way I think I need it. Little-Suzy-Prideful-Face that I am, I hate admitting I can't do it alone. I hate that I haven't just built the shelves myself. I hate that I freaked out over the ice maker again last night. I hate that when I had that dream, I wasn't able to roll over and kiss someone who DOES love me, and doesn't just take advantage of the physical closeness (insignificant as it may seem to those of you authorized to do more than cuddle and kiss a little bit) before giving me the boot. Last night was a small scale repeat of my Ray debacle, and I thought it would break me.

But I woke up this morning, and I groaned a little bit, but I got out of bed. My family is blissfully unaware of my current heartache. My cover was almost blown when Jeff sent an apology text, telling me I didn't have to be his friend anymore. But darn it, I'm not fair-weather. My eyes stormed up again, but I'm committed to making it past all this weirdness and moving on and being friends again. And maybe, just maybe, he'll still help me with my shelves. Eventually.

Friday, August 28, 2009

St. Rachel-- Our Lady of Perpetual Energy

Obviously, I mean no disrespect to my friends who venerate real saints, but this is who I'd like to be known as if I'm ever canonized. Of course, I think that would require me performing some sort of recognized miracle, and while I get a lot done these days, I'm no miracle worker. If I were, I'd first fix things for my friend-- she's been sad for a few months. You know who you are-- I can't really intercede, but I am praying for you.
Next, I'd make it so I could eat popcorn and black olives again. These are two of my favorite things in the world, and both make me a little sick. In extreme moderation, I do ok, but a popcorn miracle would be welcome.
Also, were I a saint in the traditional sense, maybe I'd be more concerned with healing the world than my sad, sad social life. I'm having a bit of a time kicking some of these guys to the curb. I'm trying to be a little more ruthless-- took a bunch of fellas out of the phone the other day, including but not limited to a) the guy who expects me to bend over backwards helping him, but won't acknowledge me in public, b) the guy who promises to do things with me but never does, c) the bloke who promises to do things FOR me but never follows through and d) one who manages to do all of the above. But if I were a real saint, I'd be more forgiving. Don't get me wrong. I forgive. I hold no malice. I just don't want them calling me anymore, and I certainly don't want to be tempted to call them.
Hmmm... I don't really know what else. I'm rambling. It's the weekend. I have furniture to refurbish and projects to complete. It's not such a big deal that my only plans are to hang out with my mom and sister on Saturday. I like them. I love them. We will have fun.
And now, because my writing level is at about 8th grade today, I'll stop.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Scoping It Out OR Abandoning Tunnel Vision

Sometimes I like to fool myself into thinking I'm open-minded. I've been blessed to grow up in a time, culture, family and geographical region that promoted and celebrated diversity and squelched racial prejudice. I have friends of every ethnic background, every religious persuasion, every political camp, every socio-economic category, etc., and it's not because I'm "collecting" people (think Mormon Julie from the Real World New Orleans who claimed to have never met a black person before... that girl was a moron), but just because I've known tons of people, and I'm generally predisposed to like everyone. I'm glad I know those truths that we're all children of God and all men are created equal, and I'm grateful these beliefs are hard-wired into my paradigm, which sometimes I take for granted. My grandparents weren't like that. My great-grandparents certainly weren't. Even my parents occasionally disappoint me on that score from time to time, but we're all doing our best, right?
But I'm a lot more narrow-minded than I'd like to admit, and I have some rather hard-wired notions that may keep me back. Perhaps the worst ones are the ones I hold about myself.
For example, the other day I was at the flea market (where else would I be on a Saturday, right?) and I found this booth with a very obnoxious little man. He was selling off some pretty pricey taxidermy-- like a polar bear and a warthog, or something just as odd. I don't really remember. My eye initially went to a convertible game table, but I quickly found the real treasure: a jar full of old clockworks and watch pieces. His junk was way overpriced-- he wanted a dollar per piece, and the old crook had taken the watches apart and was selling the insides separate from the faces. But the stuff was exactly what I'd been looking for-- just what I needed for my new obsession with steampunk art and decor, so I started picking through the pile. I called my Aunt Sylvia over to check out my most excellent discovery, and she too got a little thrill from combing through the clutter. The little man, an obnoxious and unsavory sort, mockingly asked, "Are you an artist?" I didn't miss a beat. I said yes. And he then said, "Yeah, only an artist would care about little tchotchkes like that." But I remember blushing and hoping my aunt hadn't heard the exchange, because it felt so pretentious (and untrue). I'm not an artist. I'm a dabbler. I take other people's stuff and turn it into something else. Yes, I create things all the time-- jewelry, glittery silhouettes, floral arrangements, hats and scarves, even furniture... but I wouldn't call them art. I just call them my projects.
But later, the whole thing bothered me a bit, and it took me a while to figure out why. Were he to have asked if I'm a writer, I'd have had not one bit of hesitation saying I was. Of course I'm a writer. I wrote for a living for several years. I edited a newspaper and magazine. I blog frequently. When I suffer insomnia, I write essays. I have huge portfolios of my work, and I'm not ashamed of it. I am a writer. But why am I not an artist?
Likewise, I don't mind being called Bohemian, because it's a lifestyle and an aesthetic I admire, but I often wonder if it's the right word to describe me. When someone says "Bohemian," for me it conjures a picture of a dark-haired beauty, not Miss Auburn Ordinary. I don't feel fashionable, because while I do my own thing, I think my style would be taken more seriously and look better on a waif. I've seen pictures of myself recently and been distraught over my resemblance to Mama Cass. Sure, she was boho, and a sex symbol even. But I'd really rather be Juliette Binoche.
And of course, my harsh judgments are not limited to myself. Were that the case, I'd not worry so much. But I judge people ALL THE TIME. Not on the color of their skin or how much money they have or what they think about Deity. I judge them on their choices. I judge them for their personalities. Which comedian was it who said, "I never hate anyone based on the color of his skin, because when I take the time to get to know him, I find there are so many other, legitimate reasons to hate him."? And while I don't really hate anyone, I could stand to be more charitable.
The other night, a friend asked me what it would be like if we were to get married. I told him I'd never marry him. He said, "Is it because I'm brown? Is it because I'm not a Mormon yet? Is it because I'm in the military?" Oh my goodness, no! It's because while I hold him in very high esteem, I don't feel that he takes me seriously, and he often breaks his word to me. He doesn't treat the things I value as important. His friend then chimed in. "It's because she's going to marry me." And I told him, "No, I'd not marry you either." He probably thinks I said it because he's short, but we all know I have no problem going out with little people. It's because he's gotten into the habit of treating me like a convenience, which I got over after my high school boyfriend used to do that to me. I don't tolerate it. I don't like the way that boy thinks he can coast on his charm. That doesn't impress me.
People who are selfish, people who are takers, people who are ungrateful-- those are the ones I judge harshly. I'm not a huge fan of ignorance or stupidity, but sometimes folks who fall into those categories are victims of circumstance. We can't dictate the hand we're dealt, but we can each choose how to make the best of it. I strongly believe we are blessed so we can in turn bless the lives of others, and I have very little use for people on the take.
I know, I know. I'm a self-righteous prig, as C.S. Lewis would say. I don't care if your clothes come from K-Mart or Abercrombie & Fitch. I just care how you treat people who'd shop in any store.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Maybe I Shouldn't Complain...

... You know, there are girls out there who've never been asked on a date. Believe it or not, there are girls out there-- my age!-- who've never been kissed! Sometimes I have to check my behavior, because I find myself complaining about some dating woes or other and then I realize just how bratty I sound-- especially when I'm complaining to someone who hasn't been on a "real" date in ages. And don't get me wrong-- I know I've got a kickin' life. Even socially. I recognize that I'm super fortunate to go out with some really nice boys from time to time. But sometimes, I have to laugh and laugh at the social scrapes I find myself in. Like last night, for example.
So you know how a woman is supposed to be at her most attractive mid-cycle? Sorry if that's too much information for you gents out there, but it's purely biological. At ovulation, you give off more pheromones or whatever. And maybe because of the magical birth control (hooray for nice skin!) I might not be ovulating. Who cares! Regardless, such knowledge has always given me a laugh, and a little feeling of empowerment. And when you've got 28 little pills lined up for you, it's easy to see when that ovulation would occur, which just so happens to be this weekend. So last night I had plenty of social plans, and couldn't help thinking, "Watch out, boys. You are powerless against my feminine wiles backed by Mother Nature." And maybe that was true, but it seems like my pheromones were only calling out to the ookiest chaps at the dance. It was terrible enough that I had to leave early.
So this is the scene: Awkward Mormon Young Single Adult Dance. I'd really thought this was going to be a good one, because the last few I've attended have been wonderful. But it was like all of Albuquerque's weirdest people had congregated at the Eubank Building. At one point, Sara the Church Nazi (not my nickname for her) yelled at everyone from onstage. I hate to say it, but I laughed. I also laughed when she and her new boyfriend slow-danced. She had her arms on his shoulders and his were around her waist, but they were still about a foot and a half apart. Good thing they both had long arms. Wouldn't want to actually be able to talk to the person you're dancing with, would ya? Anyway, they kept making people play these dancing games to encourage mingling, but I had very little desire to mingle with that crowd. First thing out of the chute, I had to dance with a certain boy I'll call Wallace, who'd picked up my cute little shoe out of a pile. He is tolerable, but mostly obnoxious. He and his brother, who I will call Grommet (I know, this is terrible-- I should be a little more considerate and not talk smack, but this is my blog, ok? This is where I vent!), just kind of loaf around all day, and when they're not loafing, they are making me queasy. At one point during the evening, I could see Boo Radley (a nice, probably harmless, but also perhaps crazy chap) headed my way to ask me to slow dance. I ran out the door, pretending I wanted water, and nearly straight into the arms of Grommet. FAIL! When Boo did ask me to dance later, I made up a lame excuse about needing to make a phone call. And when Stuart Little (what can I say-- the guy reminds me a bit of a rodent) came over to tell me how he'd been trying to get my phone number, I didn't make any bones. I just excused myself to go talk to some other people. With MB, I just ignored everything he said. Rude? Truly. But it's survival of the fittest, and all such stuff, so a girl has to do what a girl has to do.
And on the way home, I was a bit grumpy as well. Part of it was knowing I'd only get a few hours of sleep, with the contractor coming before the bum-crack of dawn to fix my front door, but part of it was a disgust with men in general--enough to launch me back into Sabbatical Mode. I griped to myself about their ingratitude, their issues. I'm still annoyed with the one who was good enough to tell me he needed space just after he couldn't see how I'd be of further use to him. I'm annoyed with the one who feels like he has to hide me. The ones who break their hollow promises are also on my poo list.
Not that there aren't plenty of men to love. There's my brother, for example. Heaven only knows what I'd do without him. Ben's working on a fence for me right now, and I'm pretty consistently amazed with his talents. I know Benny's got my back whether I need a blessing or protection, or just some heavy-lifting. Thank goodness he lives just a mile away, and that he feels like he owes me for taking care of his (sometimes devilish) daughter. But you can't marry your brother. A) This isn't Arkansas. B) Ew. No, Quadruple Ew.
Again, it's days like these when I'm glad I've grown into a capable woman. I painted furniture most of the day. It kept me distracted for a good 10 hours, until I came to feed my parents' dog and noticed another one of my besties is "in a relationship." Ugh. Facebook facilitates stalking, and I'm "friends" with all five of my special boys from last night. Hmm. I possibly need an internet sabbatical as well.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

On My Mind

Good things in my life:
* My niece being super affectionate today. She's told me she loves me multiple times and has been (mostly) well-behaved. We're sharing a Diet Coke with Lime right now (though she really prefers my mom's Diet Dr. Pepper) and watching "The Barefoot Contessa."
* My awesome brother is helping me out with my mailbox woes. I'm supposed to get the thing tonight, which is pretty good. I guess on the whole, being without one for three days isn't too bad, and there's really no complaining when you've got someone else picking it up, welding a post, and setting it in concrete for ya, right?
* I'm finally zooming along with projects for the Boho Boutique. Worked on some Halloween votives today. This evening, I'll finish off the gift boxes. Tomorrow I hope to finish assembling the ghosts and their tree display, and over the weekend I want to take care of all the Mucha pictures.
* The Luna Mansion is back in business. Hooray for Los Lunas!

Things for me to ponder at the moment:
* Should we (meaning Mumsy and I) get the 50s diner chairs we saw for sale? Very cute, but I don't think we need them. One lady jumped out of her car and got to the four-piece wicker set (which we really would have needed and used) literally 30 seconds before we did. Oh well. Also, there was a great red couch for $150. I certainly don't need it, and I'm a little disappointed Pam didn't wait a week (only because it's exactly what she originally wanted, though I'm in love with Pammie's new blue couch, which was also a steal... and new) but I'm trying to find it a home. I think it would be a vast improvement over the burnt-orange couch Jeff got for free, but he just doesn't care about furniture. I guess I should just be glad there's something to sit on when I go to his house. I did text him a picture of the $110 table and four-chair set. Sometimes it's so awful to not need furniture! I wish my funds were a little more fluid-- I'd get this stuff for the people who need it, or store it until someone did.
* Trying to decide what color to paint the bed Sylvia brought me this weekend. Black would be good if I thought I were going to keep it and put it in my guest room. It's beautiful. But I think it would have so much more personality in green or pink or ooh! Coral?!?! But because it's gonna be for re-sale, I'm not sure everyone else would love coral the way I do. Good thing I'm a few projects away from that. I'd really like to finish my chairs before tackling the bed, but we'll see. The bed is a one-day project, and the chairs would take me about 3.
* Figuring out just how to spend my weekend. There are several things that HAVE to get done-- like getting the front door fixed and finishing the yard work (come back, Myka! You're almost done!). But which concert do I go to? To dance or not to dance? Usually, that's easy-- dance, for sure! But these boys just drive me crazy. Blech. There are a couple I hang out with who won't even let me finish a single thought, and I don't like having Scrambled Brain. And Saturday's T's b-day, and I need to finish up the little gift thing I'd thought up. And there are about six movies I'd like to go see. No time, and no money. That simplifies things a bit. I guess it's just nice that I have so many choices.

What I'm Listening to at the Moment (Because B.C. is over)
* John Mellencamp's "Authority Song"
* She and Him cover of "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want"
* Bob Dylan-- "Highway 61 Revisited"
* The insurance adjuster asking me questions about all my stolen jewelry

What I Wish I were Doing at this Moment:
* Getting a haircut, because I'm starting to look like Shaggy from "Scooby Doo"
* Planning a trip somewhere
* Having my eyebrows threaded again
* Looking over my Savings Account and discovering I weren't so poor, or
* Earning the Kissing Kitty

Things I'll Do Tonight:
* Help Brother with my mailbox
* Try to fix my hair to disguise the shagginess
* Go to Hobby Lobby (I hope, I hope!) to pick up the supplies I need for my Alice Table
* Hit the Enrichment Meeting for Girl Bonding
* Finally try out the "Fit to Strip" Carmen Electra workout video

And that, my friends, represents just a few minutes of scattered brain waves. Sometimes, I seem to be very distracted or like I'm concentrating very hard. I'll often catch myself staring at someone without really seeing them. It's usually the tangential to-do list ever scrolling like ticker-tape across my mental stage. I'm weighing this option next to that, I'm sweeping out the dusty corners. If it seems like I'm not 100 percent with you, I promise it's not personal. I'm just likely trying to figure out how to squeeze in another ten minutes of transcribing family history or wondering who I'll invite to the next dinner party.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Boo and Hiss and All that Jazz

Coherency is not my strongest suit this morning. Sleep and I are long-lost friends. We are briefly reunited each night, but not for long. It beckons as I burn the candle at both ends. I'm running out of wick. I'd like to hibernate. Perhaps tonight.
Of course, this is mostly my own fault. And I'm blissfully happy. This weekend, Aunt Sylvia came for an all-too-brief visit, on a quest for antiques. Someone bought out most of her stuff at Carlsbad's "Keepin' Up with the Joneses" (voted Best Antique Shop this year), so she needed to get stuff for the booths she shares with her wonderful friend Deborah. Of course, Syl brought ME an awesome bed to refurbish, and I think I got more stuff than she did at the flea market and the antique stores. But we had fun. And as she relaxed, I rode a wave of creativity. I made my friend Pam some Rosie-the-Riveter-inspired pillows for her new couch and stuff for the Boho Babes Boutique. On Saturday night I stayed up baking (and cleaning and re-cleaning) in preparation for a little Sunday-night get-together (just under 30 guests, I think). Sunday night Audrey, Pam and I stayed up late laughing about a guy we know who looks like a baby T-Rex. And though I should've been sleeping, I just had too much fun. I don't get to see any of my aunts often enough, and friend Audrey will be back to MO much too soon. Who needs sleep? You can sleep when you're dead. Or married. (Just kidding, married friends!)
Last night's lack of sleep, I'm afraid, was all together another matter. Yesterday I discovered someone had torn my mailbox down. Now, after the break-in, I really didn't feel too awful. Yes, I missed the jewelry, and find it a pain that my door still doesn't match my house, but these are little things not worth complaining about. But seeing my poor little mailbox smashed to the ground is another point entirely. Last night, I was afraid I was going to be murdered in my sleep. Thievery is selfish. Vandalism is sinister.
Add to that anxiety (based not only on my safety, but also regarding how I'm supposed to receive mail before my sweet brother has time to help me install the new mailbox) the little visitor outside my window. It wasn't a person, thank heaven, but yesterday morning I discovered a bat sleeping just above my back door. Edmond, I think I called him, yesterday. He looked like a little, chubby, charcoal-grey rat. And I thought Bertha the Chicken was awful! Edmond was creepy! I didn't know how I was going to send him on his merry way without him giving me rabies. This morning, fortunately, he'd gone, but now there is a bird perched in his place. I'm living "The Raven." Nevermore, nevermore.
Today I am alone in the office. It's very tempting to go sit in the massage chair and take a power nap, but who naps at 9:15 a.m.? And I don't want to sound groggy if someone calls. It's just not very professional. I am frightened, but I think my perspective would benefit greatly from 40 winks.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Well, At Least I didn't Scream in his Face

Quick funny story--
The other night I was out on a pseudo date with a friend of mine. He works in town every summer and we've gotten to be fair chums. The first summer I met him, I found him frustrating because he liked to talk about his high school accomplishments, but now that he's attending a very prestigious Ivy League school for a great grad program, he's dialed back. Somewhere over several years, he grew up and into a nice guy.
Last summer, we went camping and rafting and all that jazz. We were grand confidants as we muddled through our respective, massive relationships (which both ended badly, unfortunately). But we kept up with one another and all was well.
This summer, nearly all our attempts to spend time together were foiled. Road trips here, break-in there, we're too tired, we're too busy. I felt a little guilty, but this is one of those convenient friendships where the relationship has stood the test of time and many miles, so one doesn't worry too much.
Friend moved today. We knew this was coming, and while we couldn't get any time in to watch episodes of "Faerie Tale Theatre," we thought we could at least go out post-FHE for a drink at Sonic. It was fun. It was normal. We talked about all kinds of things-- like me visiting him in Boston and what we've done this summer and what we wished we'd had time for and blah blah blah. For whatever reason, he always likes to talk about kissing. We tend to have divergent styles-- I find myself launching into kissing, but I've changed my ways. I'm much more selective in my old age (and by old age, I mean beyond 26 and 27, my high-quantity kissing years). Plus also, I'm in a pseudo-relationship with another boy that involves periodic kissing. It's still very undefined (which I'm happy about), but it is significant enough that I think twice about the other boys who take me out. Friend, on the other hand, has always been VERY conservative, and said he really liked to spend a lot of time getting to know a girl before ever kissing her. I mentioned the other night how I really admired that and it was something I'm trying to emulate. But we also discussed how being too restrictive can lead to problems. I illustrated this point by relaying the unbelievable fact that I never kissed a boy at the Brigham. I started out with good intentions, not wanting to kiss any old Joe, but how I really moved into a socially-awkward stage, ruled by my bussing phobia. The height of this handicap most dramatically manifested itself when on a date one night with a WONDERFUL guy, I managed to really muddle things. The boy in question tried to kiss me three different times throughout the evening, and I managed to scream in his face each time. The first time I thought he was making fun of me. The second time I thought he was just kidding. By the time I ran screaming from his arms in my living room, I began to clue-in that fella might actually have legit feelings for me. Oops. We didn't go out again. He's happily married now.
Anyway, sorry about the long exposition. The heart of the story with current friend at hand:
After a very brief visit in the Sonic parking lot and quickly polishing-off my Diet Cherry Limeade, we made our way back to the FHE building and parking lot. Our mutual friends were all driving away as we pulled in. We had scarcely been in the parking lot for two minutes before a very socially-awkward young man (the non-tipper, if anyone is paying that much attention) drove up to my car in a futile attempt to step into the role of hero. I rolled down my window, and he rolled down his. He asked if I were OK. Without skipping a beat, I lied (mostly because I thought it was funny, but partially because it would be awkward enough that he couldn't stick around pestering me). I said, "Oh yes. We're making out. Thanks for checking in though."
"Really?!" my frazzled, would-be hero interrogated.
"Yep," I said cheerfully. "We're doing super-well, so have a great night!"
He drove off puzzled.
This would be a greatly funny story, IF the next bit had not occurred.
As I laughed at my own wickedness, I turned around to see Friend's arm around me and him leaning in! And I laughed some more.
"What in the world are you doing?" I chortled.
"Um, heheheh (fake laugh). Is he looking, is he looking?" Friend attempted to cover.
And that's when I realized that he was actually going in for the kill. And I accidentally laughed some more.
At that point, we politely said goodnight. He said he'd always been happy to be my decoy (and he'd been a handy one, I must admit). No kissing. I laughed at him. I didn't even mean to. It all came out of nowhere! But at least I didn't scream, right?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Designing Women

OK, this post is going to go few on words, heavy on the pictures. It's that special time of year when people are moving into new places-- Pammie's got her first solo apartment, and Lou will be moving one of these days. Caleb will need to get sheets for his full bed in his pre-furnished, 420 square feet apartment, and Jeff just moved to a new house. While I am in love with my own place, I always get a touch jealous when I know someone is moving someplace new-- that fresh, clean palette of possibilities makes my brain start running double-time, and my hands itch to help. I guess that's why I was so excited to hang Jeff's clothes in his closet for him the other night. Then he decided to change rooms, and he's got a smaller closet now. But if he'd turn me loose, I could do so much more than color-code his shirts!
Anyway, I spent a bit of time this weekend at my aunt's home in Lake Arthur, NM. For those of you who've been privileged enough to see Sylvia's home in person, you'll see my photographs don't even begin to capture the most-excellent decor, nor do they communicate the warm, comfortable feeling of her home. But for my friends moving to a new place, or just those looking for some inspiration, here are some random photographs--
Sylvia was Steampunk before it was even invented!
A sitting area upstairs:
The desk where the Johnson Farm Payroll magic happens (also, my cousin's room for the next several months as he graciously offered his own home to his church's new music minister and family).
Black toll trays--
Sylvia's study. Love, love, love it! My favorite part of this are the family photos.
Anyone been to my house? You won't be surprised to know my own fine globe collection (as well as most of my furnishings in general) has been provided by my amazing aunt with excellent taste.

Here's a simple idea-- Sylvia saved the pictures that come on a book of stamps and framed them. If it's beautiful, use it again and again, we say!

Going upstairs-- I love the bead board so much! It's one of my favorite interior architectural details. My former high school theatre teacher had it on her ceilings. Someday I might use it in a future house.
This hall is bold and beautiful.
Closeup from what I lovingly call her steampunk workbench:


This vignette is one of my favorites in the upstairs guestroom. Around the holidays, vintage ornaments make you feel like you're living in Anthropologie's Winter Wonderland.

And speaking of Anthro-- anyone see the catalogue before last? The clothes were awful (new cat is much better), but the decorating was inspiring. The large mirror used in all the home furnishing shots immediately reminded me of this one my aunt has behind her bed:

I'm including this odd little shot of Sylvia's medicine cabinet so you can see the green watch (if you can call it that-- not exactly a clock, but pretty big on the wrist) I picked up for favorite auntie in Roswell. She was so good to hook me up with some wicked alarms and photocopies of her antique clock faces, I needed to return the favor (more about that later as you scroll down).
This mat is from Curious Sofa. Sylvia, Uncle Jimmy, and their friend Deborah took off to Kansas City to meet the CS folks after becoming obsessed with the blog.
The master bathroom--
Here's some of my aunt's jewelry. Displaying it is almost as fun as wearing it.
A sitting area in the guest room--

This is one of my favorite area's of Sylvia's house-- the buffet downstairs:

The upstairs guest bathroom:
I guess it's pretty clear Sylvia is one of my strongest interior decorating influences. See the way she layered these frames in the downstairs guest bath?

That display technique later led to this in my own home:

And remember those clock faces she sent me? Anthropologie's catalogue sent me on a frustrating mission to find some, but Sylvia came to the rescue. Here's a closeup of some of her clocks:
...which led to me creating this for the cabin:

The best part? She made a similar-looking coffee table out of the same copies!
Thanks, Aunt Sylvia! You are a domestic diva and the best hostess. I love you immensely! You've done more than I could ever thank you for over the years-- for all of us. So now, thanks for letting me take photographs to inspire even more people.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Close to Home

Did anyone else read this and think, "That's what's been going on with Rachel!"? Cuz I did.

It's a Beautiful Life

Ahh. My life is WONDERFUL!
I love being Rachel Sego. I love being happy. I love helping others be happy. I love the funny things I see and do. There is just so much joy to be had, if you'll only look for it.
Happy Thing #1-- Sweet little Road Trip.
So for my mommy's birthday, the girls went to see Aunt Sylvia. I had some church responsibilities so I had to come home early, but it was uber-worth it. There's just something good about getting out of the routine for a bit. I like driving to southeastern NM. I like listening to my iPod and realizing I like everything on it. It's a constant surprise. I like the way the 22 oz. soda cups at Allsups have kind of a gross smell-- like fried chicken and chimichangas under a heat lamp-- and that it's my stopping place. I liked the good antique finds in Roswell and Carlsbad and at my aunt's house (note-- took several pictures of her very, very inspiring house, which I imagine I'll post in tribute to her one of these days). I even loved peeing on the side of the road. OK, loved is an exaggeration, but it made me feel more legitimately nomadic.
Happy Thing #2-- New accessories.
In Carlsbad, I bought a little green veil. I might just save it for my wedding someday. At a boutique at their mall, I got a bracelet which reads, "Live while you live." Good advice, right? My friend Sasheen brought me the most amazing headband/scarf yesterday at church. She said she saw it in Arizona and she said I had to have it. I'm in love with it. And I'm in love with all those who have been good enough to help me replenish my jewels. It feels good to start fresh, though I'm a little frustrated with the way my dresser looks junked out-- gotta find a way to effectively display the jewelry. It'll come, though. I know it will. And I have time on my side.
Happy Thing #3-- People Watching.
So. I'm gonna admit something I'm mortified about. I broke the Sabbath. I NEVER do. I guess that's why I thought it wouldn't be a big deal, but a bestie and I went to see Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Bob Dylan last night. We got the tickets ages ago, and I've been consumed with wicked, wicked guilt for the last several weeks, because I'm just not used to doing something like that on Sunday. I'm happy to say the show was really fun, and I ended up enjoying myself, but no more Sabbath-breaking for me. Can't handle it. But this is about my happiness, so forgive my big-time lapse in judgment, and join with me in the glories of watching weird, weird old hippies dancing like crazy. I tried to take a video of some people behind us, including a 65-year-old woman's insane pelvic thrusts, but it was rather dark. Anyway, other highlights:
* A woman two rows behind us informing a lady sitting next to Lou-Lou that she'd taken her picture to send to South Dakota. We asked our seat buddy if she knew the gal. She said no, but she imagined she was having her photo taken because she was a Native American. Outrageous, yes?
* Because it was the 14th anniversary of Jerry Garcia's death, we saw the whole crowd give Jerry a peace sign.
* There was an awesome girl fight in the box seats right in front of us. The girl with the negligee dress and knee-high boots was fighting with the girl in the shiny/shimmery 70s gym-shorts skirt, and the girl with the tattoo sleeves tried to break it up. It was kind of funny to see Boots "apologize" to Gym Shorts, but also super awkward.
* Old folks dancing in general is very funny, but get the hippies involved and it gets even better. Some of these poor people looked like they were being careful to not get their prosthetic hips out of joint, but they were still very enthusiastic. There was a man who really thought that Bob would be greatly augmented with some head-banging and air guitar, and another gal who proved you can stripper-dance to ANYTHING, including folk music. Amazing.
* Plus also, I fell in love. There was a rather clean-looking, youngish-man (early 30s I'd say) sitting by himself across the aisle. I wish I would have talked to him. Instead, I stared at him, because I have a staring problem, and he stared right back. Staring evolved into furtive glances and then to laughing across the aisle about all the crazies around us. I thought about saying something and grabbing his elbow afterwards, or giving him my card (which would have been really lame, I know), but he was politely talking to another guy who'd come to the concert by himself and kept loaning my evening's boyfriend his binoculars. I'm considering posting the following in the Missed Connections on Craig's List or in the Weekly Alibi:

Dear Handsome Man in the Cross Canadian Ragweed T-Shirt in Section 4 of the Bob Dylan Concert-- I loved the little bit of grey at your temples and that you weren't wearing socks. Wish we would have talked. Love, the Girl in the Feather Fedora.

I'll let you know what comes of it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

For the Love of the Less Attractive

So everyone has their personal tastes. I get that.
Some women are into guys with body hair-- Burt Reynolds, for example, was very popular in the 70s. Some ladies like the smooth talkers with the Benjamins (because, let's be honest-- Sean Coombs, aka Puff Daddy/Puffy/P. Diddy/Diddy or whoever he is these days isn't really what you'd call good looking with his buck teeth and buggy eyes, right?). Sir Mix-a-Lot liked Big Butts and he could not lie about it, and you know what? To each their own.
In my life, I tend to get attached to homely or helpless things.
A really good example of this is Desmond:

Here he is with my little brother Ben. Ben, of course, is the one on the left. Ben is handsome, and a great brother, and I love him. But I mostly loved Desmond the Puppet because who else would? I am, however, happy to say that the Raymond Sego family actually all has learned to love Desi's unique attributes. My niece kisses him. Even my brother-in-law is a fan. But we all like Desmond, despite his physical appearance.
Likewise, there's my poor hen Bertha. You'd think Bertha was living the good life-- plenty of grain, a handsome boyfriend (Esteban) all to herself, room to roam, a coop for protection, etc. But Bertha has some stress in her life, because every time I see her, she's missing even more feathers.
Plus also, she's got some really nasty skin. At first I thought she was just molting and that we'd be seeing some downy feathers come in any time. But this has been going on for months, and frankly, she looks revolting. But that doesn't make me shun her. Indeed, it makes me love her more. Thankfully, Esteban appears blinded by her personality or her pheromones, because he still thinks she's the bomb.
This is why I always have a bit of a laugh when my dad says, "Rachel, you don't want to marry a guy who is too good looking." I ask, "Have you SEEN the guys I've gone out with recently?" And no offense to those chaps. There are some who are handsome-ish, but I think if we did a slide-show of all my boyfriends of yesteryear, you'd see that looks aren't that important to me. As a matter of fact, I might just have to do that as a tribute to all the men I've loved before, as we get close to the centennial date mark. Yes, while my friend Brecken is getting close to her 1,000th post, I'm getting close to my 100th guy. I thought that I was doomed to go out with some really awful guys for 99 and 100, but I found in my original list, I'd skipped from 54 to 56, and there was a glimpse of dating salvation. I know it's dumb, because it's really no better to have a creeper as 101 instead of 100, but you know.... Anyway, #98 was a good date, but in the end, my little friend will just be a place-holder. And he was good-looking. But he was the exception.
Of course, maybe I'm just selling these guys short and lots of girls would love them. It's hard to tell. But I told my cousin about a secret crush I have, and he said, "Ew, that guy is SUPER UGLY!" So then again, maybe not.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Happy Birthday to the Man I love Best, Andrew Stewart

Today is my friend Andrew's 30th birthday. I once wrote him a cheesy poem to celebrate the cosmic event of his birth. I was sick last night, so there wasn't enough time to make it rhyme or write it iambic pentameter. Instead, I think I'll just enumerate the reasons I love him.

1) He is an enthusiastic dreamer. Right now his dream is to open a tortilla shop in Provo. I want to see him succeed. No, I want to help him succeed.

2) He is an accomplisher. Andrew sees his ideas through. At the risk of being redundant, I'll just remind everyone of the BYU smokestack.

3) He is a lifelong learner. While many would be more than satisfied with one master's degree (Transportation Systems), Andrew is starting an MBA program in a few weeks. He already speaks Polish (the best foreign language ever), has a good command of German, and is constantly working on Spanish. He wants to know how things work. Then he finds out.

4) He actually has some fun fashion sense. Andrew is a really handsome chap, but what makes you notice him is the way he does things in a little bit of an unexpected way. He let the girls buy him some man-capris in Poland for his b-day (5 years ago!) and he faithfully wore them even though they were a couple sizes too big. He looked great. When he came to visit me in January, he not only wore his brother's hat (and no offense to James, who I'm sure also looks cute in it), but he also looked better in it than any other man possibly could. Plus also, he wore the charming belt-buckle I got him one Christmas.

5) I love Andrew because he pushes me. Sometimes physically, but not in an abusive way. I'm deathly afraid of heights, and I remember my knees shaking as we started to climb the tower in Old Town Lublin. But he just yelled, "Hurry up!" and gave me a little shove. I probably wouldn't have made it otherwise. Sometimes the pushes are more difficult... like the time he told me I wasn't allowed to wear makeup for a day. I think he really thought it would save us some time, but when he watched me put it on in the train later, he realized that I'm fast. Regardless, he still made me take pictures sans face paint. Sometimes, he gently chastises me, like when I was a little less than kind to the proprietor of the Pol Art store in Santa Fe. Usually, though, he just inspires me. Andrew is going to Poland again? Why shouldn't I? Andrew is considering grad school? Let me go out and buy a GRE-prep book.

6) I love our inside jokes. Ta-da!

7) My darling friend is a grand gentleman. He didn't get (too) mad at me when we had to find a toilet in Prague only half an hour after we left our hotel. He carried the big heavy backpack (with all my clothes) leaving me to take the light load (his, of course). Even though we had to share a cabin with a stranger on a train from Warsaw, I knew he'd look out for me, and I remember him watching our things. When we stayed over at Michal's mother's house, he slept on the floor and pretended to be Jason Bourne while I took the bed. I don't think he minded too much when I laughed about him not falling asleep right away, and I think I made it up to him a bit when I ironed his shirt. He saved me from having to eat some hard-boiled eggs one night. He even claims to have not seen me in the bathtub at Aska's house, even though I'm pretty sure that he did. But he was still nice to me, even though he'd seen how bad I looked naked.

8) Andrew looks good (in a creepy way) with a mustache. And you know what they say-- "Un beso sin bigote es como un huevo sin sal."

9) Andrzej is always on the move. I've ceased being surprised to hear, "Well, I just got back from Nicaragua" or "I'm planning on a trip to New England/Mexico/Germany/South Carolina/etc." One day I'll call and he's leading the choir in church AND teaching Sunday School in his ward AND subbing his dad's Sunday School class, and on and on. He overbooks, like I do.

10) He loves his family more than any boy I've ever seen, particularly his sister. I love the way he protects her. I love the way he was so careful in carrying pottery back to his mother. I like hearing about the way he helps his brothers with various projects.

11) Andrew let me break him down a bit and he let me in. He's shy, but he went against his better judgement and let that crazy girl in Dr. Talbot's class be his friend.

12) I love the way he let me stay in his condo before he ever did. I loved that I was the one to tell him how comfortable his bed was, and about the effectiveness of his bathtub. I loved the way I used to email him for his address and he'd always also include the security code to his garage.

13) I thank Andrew for letting me hold onto him (and Nathan) on the Tram.

14) I love our mutual love for Mucha.

15) I love that we had dinner with President Hinckley and that he wore his Neapolitan tie.

16) I love that he thought my co-workers from Excel were cool, even when they were at their dorkiest.

17) I love that every time I use a heated mud-mask, I think of my dear friend. Remember that night I put them on everyone? How we ordered Telepizza and had a party in my room? Remember how your face looked like melting candle wax and how Josh got all surly and how Emily was the sweetest person alive?

18) I really liked when Andrew would stick up for the little guy. I love his compassion. It was pretty cool when it was demonstrated in some big (yet quiet) social cause, but just as nice when he got mad at the girls for making fun of his roommate's weird behavior with his girlfriend.

19) Once, Andrew gave me a ride home from campus, even though it was out of his way. He was listening to the Dixie Chicks. I don't know why I loved that, but I did.

20) I always loved having Andrew in my house. I liked when he'd go play the piano for a while (what doesn't this guy do, right?). I loved sitting across from him at the breakfast table, telling me and Nathan how he'd woken up with the sun streaming into his room. I loved finding him doing dishes in my kitchen, wearing a BYU shirt to match the ones he'd brought us.

21) I really appreciated that my little friend occasionally let me mother him. He had some major allergies to Linden trees, but he let me take care of him with water and medicine and tissues and whatever else. It made me feel like I could contribute a bit.

22) I also love that he's consistently there when I really need him. Advice? He's got it, because he's my sage. I want to rage about something, and he'll listen. If something crazy goes down, he's glad to hear it-- especially when it involves a 55-year-old man confessing his love for me. He knows I talk too much (and he's let me know), but he still listens.

23) I like his blue eyes, even though he's legally blind in one of them.

24) I like that he drives a station wagon. It's kind of hip.

25) I love that he believed me when I told him his passport picture made him look like Matt Damon.

26) I used to like sitting with him in church in Lublin and listening to him sing. Sometimes he didn't like to sit with people (a sentiment I understand and echo), but sometimes we'd sit together anyway, and he didn't treat it like a sacrifice.

27) I remember when he asked me if he could read my final paper for Dr. Talbot's class, and how he said, "That's pretty good." I remember thinking, "Uh-oh. He thinks it's stupid," but then him telling me how he got an A- (I think) to my A.

28) I liked when we were on the world's longest bus to Krakow, and he let me listen to his CDs with one of his earphones on the bus.

29) I've heard him pray, of course, but I've also seen him praying when he didn't know I was looking.

30) I love that we're still friends after all this time, and that he's had a profound influence on who I am. Dearest Andrew, you have helped make me the woman I am today. May you live 100 years for all of us.

Daylight Robbery

OK, so I know this is long overdue, and most of you already heard, but here's the quick-quick update on getting robbed:
Last Wednesday, I'd just returned back to the office with Mom and Zoey-- we'd run some errands in Albuquerque and had a pretty pleasant day. I'd found a great free-standing globe for a song (seriously, it's one of the least expensive ones I've ever purchased, and definitely one of the cooler ones) and I was pretty excited to take it home. I'd even thought about dropping my purchases off at my house on the way home, but decided it was best to get Zoey back to grandma's, stat.
Well, I'd only been home for a little bit when my brother called. His neighbor had called him, in response to another neighbor's call. Apparently, my alarm was going off and the police were at my house. I gave Zozer to g-ma and drove the three minutes to my house, all the time hoping my storage room door had blown open or something and that there was a mistake.
But no mistake. Someone kicked in my front door about 3 p.m. (right about the time I would have taken Ma and Z by my house) and stole my jewelry box. They ransacked the guest room (it IS the fanciest, but ironically, houses the most old stuff that no one else would really want), and when they couldn't find anything, they conveniently took my whole jewelry box and my 35 mm camera on top. At first I thought they hadn't even got anything, but the dust line on my dresser was evidence enough.
So there's been a great outpouring of love ever since. My little bro has worried like crazy, and he's very gung-ho about finally building my fence. Anthony offered to buy me a vicious dog, but because I don't even particularly like non-vicious dogs, I've begged him not to. There's not room for an animal in my life right now. Spencer and I were supposed to hang out that night, but he took me to lunch on Friday instead. Toby, my door guy, is amazing, and so is his staff. They took care of me after hours, and now the only way you can tell my current door isn't the original is because the paint doesn't quite match. But it's ok. The thieves left my rings and earrings (I guess they could tell they weren't too fancy), but I was much more devastated by the loss of my plastic, gypsy jewelry than by the gold (of course, the gold was worth quite a bit, and I'm sad to lose all those interesting travel pieces-- Nefertiti from Egypt, the garnet necklace from Prague, my big chunky green amber from Poland, etc.). My darling, darling little sister knew how sad I was to lose those bracelets I wore nearly every day, and she gave me one of hers that matched my ultimate favorite. I cried a little last night when I thought about how sweet that was.
At the end of the day, there's a lot to be happy about. I feel really blessed to have been prompted to go straight to the office, because who knows what harm could have come to Mom and Zoey? I'm grateful that as annoying as it is, and as much as I love to shop, I'm actually not a very materialistic person and wasn't really upset about the things that were missing. And, funny enough, I was really glad I'd cleaned house the night before so when I found the police taking pictures of my entire house, I took comfort in the fact there wasn't laundry lying around or toothpaste on the bathroom mirror or dishes in the sink. I was pretty annoyed that the criminals tracked mud in, but what can you do?