Saturday, October 31, 2009

Seventy Times Seven, OR Oops, I Did it Again

Deep Breathing.
I wish I did yoga.
My mouth is as dry as the desert, but I expect a downpour on the cheeks soon. The surface-tension on my salt-water reserves will burst any minute, but hopefully not until I get out of my parents' house, away from the prying eyes of family members who love me out of loyalty and who will ask too many questions. I won't answer them.
Remember how I thought I'd made such progress on the kindness front a while ago? I had a flash of reality last night and saw I was wrong. And my burgeoning hope for reconciliation with several important people in my life was dashed a bit ago. I'd fooled myself into complacency, and thinking that progress was enough. I'm only human, but it destroys every shred of happiness I have to know that I've robbed someone else of even a bit of theirs.
Once upon a time, I was on a mini-road trip with some friends. One girl suggested we play a get-to-know-one-another game. Each person would ask a question that everyone else in the van had to answer, including themselves. One person asked what was our favorite quality about ourselves. I said that it was my propensity for forgiveness. I generally don't hold grudges. Or so I thought.
Oh, in some ways, I do pretty well on this score. I've been blessed with experience after experience to realize my previous judgments were wrong, and to see people more clearly, and to focus on their goodness rather than their mistakes. Anyone who knows me has a very clear understanding of my imperfection in this quest, but I can say with complete integrity I try very hard. But this virtue I've worked so hard to cultivate has become a vice, inasmuch as I take it for granted that others will frankly forgive my follies as quickly and completely as I forgive theirs. Oh complacency-- carefully leading me to hell.
Maybe I like to forgive because I know how much forgiveness I require-- especially from the people I love most. Why do we manage to hurt the people we care most about? Last night, I got my feelings hurt. First, I took it out on someone who didn't have anything to do with the situation, and I hate myself for it. I tried to apologize, but only time will tell if the person will forgive me. Then, I was short with the person who did the initial hurting. I don't think he understands how consistently he's managed to tear me down over some period of time, but I really regretted it. So I stayed up til 3 thinking of how I could sincerely apologize and try to rectify the problem. It was my number one priority today, but it wasn't well received. As a matter of fact, it led to more hurting (with me as the recipient this time). But before my loyal friends and fans go hating the person inflicting this recent grief, I beg you not to. I feel awful, but his honesty was invaluable. I'm not as kind as I thought I was. The image I present to the people I love and care about is not the one I meant to project. I'm now faced with the immense challenge of fixing it.
So in the meantime, gentle reader, do me a favor. Forgive those who trespass against you. Please give people the benefit of the doubt. Love in spite of weakness and err on the side of compassion. Please forebear, because those around you are doing their best. Or in my case, I thought I was. I see now my imagined "best" was really weak. I can at least guarantee better.
And if you've been one of my victims, intentional or otherwise, I am sorry. I've got a lot of repenting to do, a lot of apologizing, and a lot of better living.
Deep breath.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Like Being Shot out of a Cannon

So there are a lot of things I COULD be doing right now.... work related, fun related, sleep related (hey, it's Friday afternoon, cold, and quiet... tell me you wouldn't be tempted), but I've got all this nervous energy. And it's not because I'M nervous, I'm just flitting around waiting for tonight's festivities.
Yes, all the good stuff is happening tonight. Tomorrow may be a little bit of a let-down, because we've kind of abandoned the annual Sego Halloween gathering in the past years, but Mom and I are still planning on logging time with Ashley and Robert. But TONIGHT is the big dance, and I'm pretty stoked to go. I don't think I've been to a good dance in a while (the last one was pathetic!), but the Halloween Singles' Dance is usually one of the best of the year. Plus also, I love seeing everyone in costume. I'm disappointed they've done away with the bad talent show, because I'd envisioned everyone from the Uni Branch dressing up as a different incarnation of Michael Jackson and doing a medley homage, starting with "ABC" and ending with "We are the World." Still, it'll be good to see what my friends come up with, costume-wise. The problem with Halloween is it only comes once a year, and narrowing down costume options is terrible! Oh, I'm pretty pleased to be going "Out of Africa" with my safari outfit, but I've always wanted to be Bob Wiley. And I have a great Vegas Showgirl head dress and boa that I hope someone will use sometime. And my friend Arlinda told me today that UNM's theatre department was selling off a bunch of their costumes and wigs and shoes, all at reasonable prices, but I just didn't have time to go up there. Probably a blessing in disguise-- can you imagine what kind of junk I might have ended up with? Sigh.
Anyway, I'm TOTALLY pumped for the dance, and also relieved that there will be very little social pressure this evening. Now that I'm saving myself for Eric, who cares that the dudes here are all a little lame? And speaking of Eric, I was thinking the other day that when he proposes (TAKE NOTE E.C.-- this would win you major points), he ought to put my ring in a nesting doll. That would be very Slavic-chic. Now, if I can only convince him to take the NM Bar, because the Land of Enchantment is so superior to Virginia...? Nope. I don't have a good reason. I just want out of the dating scene, and with the housing market in the toilet right now, it makes more sense for him to move out here. Hmm... gotta start doing those Carmen Electra "Fit to Strip" workouts with greater consistency. Please, Eric, take away my reproach! Our children will be so smart-- we'll probably have to get them into some kind of social therapy because everyone knows there's that threshold you pass-- too smart=socially maladjusted. But still, think of the good times we'll have, snuggling in front of the pellet stove, watching "Pee Wee's Big Adventure." Ahh. That's romance at its best.
And speaking of the pellet stove (I'm trying to figure out how many times I can use "and speaking of" in one blog entry), I've not used it yet. I'm too poor to use my heater (another reason Eric, my lawyer-future-husband will come in handy), and I've got all kinds of Halloween stuff around the stove, so it's a brisk 63 degrees in my house right now. It makes for an invigorating morning. Only two more days!
Another thing on my mind-- Christmas. Yes, friends, that's right. I guess thinking Halloween for the last three months has really filled my ghostly canteen. I was super-into it until Wednesday, when I happened into Cost Plus World Market (one of my all-time favorite stores) and saw all the Russian stuff. Yes, they are the oppressors of my people, but it's so gorgeous! And just like that, I've got a theme for Christmas this year. I have a real weakness for wrapping paper. Anyway, I'm hoping that tomorrow-- because it looks like I'm not going to get the painting done around the doors (boo! criminals!) I can get some Christmas shopping done. It may sound crazy, but the sooner I'm done with it, the better. Then I can focus on all the other things I need to take care of.
Finally, I've been thinking in terms of lists, as usual. I've got hundreds of things to do that I HAVE to do, but just for the fun of it, here are all the things I'd like to do in the next week or so (don't judge, it's a wish-list):
1) Go to the movies. A LOT. On my immediate list of "to-see"-- "Whip It," "Amelia," "Coco before Chanel," and of course, "This is It." Final movie is most important to me, but I need to get those behind me before "New Moon" comes out. And I haven't seen "Where the Wild Things Are," and I wouldn't mind doing so.
2) Hit some antique stores. No, this will not help me in my quest to finish the Christmas shopping (well, not much anyway), but I haven't been for a couple of months, and I feel like there are some treasures out there that need repurposing.
3) Go to Michael's and Hobby Lobby. This is always entertaining for the uninitiated to watch. I run through those places like I've just been shot out of a cannon. I'm not really at liberty to discuss the current art endeavor, but rest-assured, I'm stoked-- Like the fire I can't have at my house yet.
4) Have people over. I had to cancel on the First Lady of Los Lunas and her venerable husband because my house looks like a construction zone/disaster, but I'm feeling the need to entertain. At Wal-mart the other day, I found Halloween Oreos. If those aren't a reason to have people over, I'm not sure what is (I don't dare open them without enough people over to reasonably and not gluttonously eat the whole package, otherwise I will, and that is NOT conducive to having the kind of hot bod I'll need for my marriage to E.C.).
5) Go do some theme-activities with friends. I know, I know. This sounds so BYU-freshman year, but there are so many great things out there right now. As a matter of fact, TWO of my favorite local bands are playing a show together tonight, and it's the only sad thing about going to the dance. I hate the thought of missing Le Chat Lunatique AND the Squash Blossom Boys. But there are other great things going down. Tomorrow, there's a show at the Launchpad that sounds promising (except I'll probably be passing out candy to the kids in the Garza's neighborhood), and I've been wanting to get a group together for Cafe Bingo. Oh, one of these days I'll have time for fun again. Maybe with the extra hour I'll get on Sunday...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Quick Love Story

If you want to know why my life is great, it's because I've got great people around me. Heavenly Father has blessed me immensely-- indeed, my cup of love runneth o'er.
So this particular post is a shout-out to all you wonderful people who reach out in love. If I haven't called you back or gotten back to the texts and what-not, it's not because I don't appreciate it. You know how sometimes you get tired of telling the victim story again and again? Yesterday was emotionally draining, watching the door guys rip out the frame. It was awful to see the exposed studs and insulation and Sheetrock. It was terrible to see the big void when the doors should be. And because I didn't have time (or knowledge, for that matter) on foaming the penetrations, I still don't have molding around the new doors and the molding doesn't match because I've not yet repainted them. What's more, my insurance agent (who is a wonderful man) did mention I'd be at risk of getting dropped if I filed a claim, which is exasperating. It's not his fault-- it's the system. But at the end of the day, I just wanted to watch "Desperately Seeking Susan" and go to bed. I love you, Aiden Quinn.
But right-- this is about love. Sokphal, I love you! Yes, send your Cambodian uncles on over!
Pam and Lou, I love you! Thanks for the good news, the laughs, the chat about Bob, etc.
Daniel, I love you! You are a GREAT home teacher.
Sylvia and Trish, I love you! And Uncles Jimmy and Mike too! Please don't be upset. This is not a big deal.
Facebookers, I love you! Aunt Bev, I love you (Mom and I loved the flowers!). And all you other folks who deserve mentioning, I love you too. But I promised to be brief.
Quickly, let me pay tribute to the man of my life, my little brother Ben. Ben is the one who flew to the rescue when the alarm went off (Preston Roberts, I love you! Thanks for watching my house, and my brother's as well-- you're the best neighbor in the world!) and the one who's been trying to protect me by building me a beautiful fence. Ben is the one who fixes things for me and saves my day. I love you Skye, for loaning me your husband because I don't have one. I love you Ben, because you are the best brother a girl could ask for.
Skye told me the sweetest story yesterday morning. I'd called her, trying to find out if she knew what had freaked Ben out at my house after initially thinking everything was OK. She told me Zoey overheard all the chatter about "Rachel" and she kept asking after me. Skye didn't exactly know how to tell her about the attempted B&E, so she just said, "Aunt Rachel's door is broken." "Rachel sad?" Zoey asked. "Yes, Aunt Rachel is very sad." Skye said Zoey then adopted a very solemn face and kept saying, "Rachel is sad." When they were saying prayers with Zoey later that night, Ben and Skye said, "Please bless Rachel" and Zoey interrupted (I'm sure God didn't mind) by saying "Rachel's sad" again. I love that little girl. Talk about being willing to mourn with those that mourn.
So I love you Zoey, and always have, but I'm warmed by your love. I love you Paizlee, for not pooping when I held you last night. We're making progress and you are my sweet little bean.
I love you Diana from Guardian. D works in the accounting department for one of our major suppliers. She and I were talking about an invoice and I mentioned I was on my way home to get my doors fixed. She offered to pray for me. I don't know her, but I love her for it, and I pray she is blessed in turn for her goodness.
You know, when hard things happen (and let's be honest-- this is a TINY blip in the scheme of things!), there is the blessing of people manifesting their love and having the perspective to see it. So it's worth it. But I'm trying to remember to appreciate and return the love so I don't have to have a mini-problem to remind me again anytime soon.

Monday, October 26, 2009

An Open Letter to the Jerky Person(s?) Who Tried To Break Into My House Tonight

Dear Criminal(s),
Listen. I get it. You need drug money or your kids are starving or your gang initiation called for it, or you are bored. You already kicked in my front door and stole all my jewelry a couple months back. Seriously, maybe you were just coming back for the television, but it's not really that good. Wouldn't you prefer a flat screen? My DVD player isn't all that slick-- it plays VHS as well, because I'm old school like that. But you could have had it if you'd just asked.
And now, you've broken my french doors as well.... Not to mention the damage you or one of your hoodlum friends did taking out my mailbox a month or two ago. Maybe you think the mailbox thing was a favor, but it was really nice that Jeff put it up for me a couple years ago. He tried really hard. He really did.
But do you know the worst thing? I hate that I don't feel safe in my own house. If you needed food, I would have fed you. If you needed money, I don't have that much, but you could have had everything I made at the Valley Lutheran Church Craft Fair this weekend. But now, not only do I have to call the door guys to replace my doors, I'll have to pay for those doors out of pocket because the folks at Allstate will take their sweet time with my claim. What's more, I'll have to have my contractor come over and paint the new doors. This is a real drag, because the last time they did, the doors were off for so long that I got that awful lizard in my house, and this time there won't be someone to catch the lizard's brother for me. My housing insurance fees SKYROCKETED this year, and thank goodness I've already paid the premium through October 2010, but you can bet I'll get another virtual middle finger when I open the bill a year from now.
My jewelry is plastic now. I don't have that old SLR I loved so much anymore-- you know, the one I took the beautiful pictures of Mikolaj Gladun and the River Liffey with? Digital just doesn't have the same soul. I guess you guys just thought you'd try to get in again before my brother could finish putting up the fencing he's been working on constantly. The pipe fence is beautiful, but even with the wire, you probably would have found a way in.
I'd also like to discuss with you the expense I'll now face because my family and friends will not stop harassing me until I get a big, scary dog. Can I be honest? I hate mean dogs more than you do. They only stop you (maybe) from breaking in my house. I will have to be the one scooping poop. I will be the one who will have to pull the ticks off of them. I am the one who will have to take a second job, not to replace the things you stole or to make repairs to my house or even to get all that horrible, so-called-decorative ironwork that will take away from my beautiful windows and doors that are too easy for you to get in. Oh no. I'm going to have to scrimp and save and never set foot in Anthropologie's sale section again, because I'll be paying for Parvo shots and dislocated hips. I am the one who will have to deal with doggie breath and shedding and did I mention the poop?!
Plus also, my friends aren't too happy with you either. I was supposed to go to a movie with them tonight, and I'm pretty sure they didn't appreciate me having to ditch them to deal with you. They told me to tell you they hate your stinkin' guts (actually, this is not true, but they were pretty cheesed that I had to ruin our plans to go meet up with the sheriff). Well, better you than me.
I actually don't hate you, and I'm certainly glad I don't have to judge you. I'm really a pretty nice, reasonable, forgiving person. I don't know if that matters to you or not, but you might notice all the pictures of Jesus I have in my house the next time you B&E. He loves you, which you may have forgotten. I'm trying to love you too, but could you please give it a rest? I already had a head cold. I'll bet you'll feel really bad if it turns out to be H1N1 and I die. My great-grandmother actually died of swine flu when my grandfather was just a baby. But anyway, like I was saying, this has been a hard enough year without your little visits. The recession has gotten to us all, and business is down. We're in the process of restructuring some things in the business, and I'm sure you can imagine it's stressful. You know from casing my house that I'm never at home. I don't have a lot of time to do things because there are a lot of people who need me, and I love them, and they've got it worse than I do, and I'm out trying to lessen their suffering. And it's super hard for me to ask for help, because I'm more comfortable with the giving end of things. Anyway, this really isn't a good time to break into my house, or to take out another mailbox or set fire to my yard or to harass my family, or whatever it is you plan on doing next. If you're feeling mischievous, could you just toilet paper the house instead? I don't even think that would trip the alarm, which should also save you some embarrassment and consternation.
Anyway, thanks, I guess, for not doing more damage. I'm estimating it'll only be about two grand this time, which really is better than before. But please, give me a break. I'm kind of a lonely girl and I don't always have someone to protect me, and I'm sure my little brother is getting tired of the job. And I'm not so much in the looks department, so I think it would be nice if my hair were not to turn prematurely grey and for my skin to stay wrinkle-free just a bit longer. Please don't ruin my chances, because my social life has taken a beating recently.
That's all, I guess. Thanks for listening. I hope things get better for you soon and that you don't feel like you have to steal from me or anyone else anymore. And seriously, next time, just knock and let me give you some cookies (or at least a Fiber One Bar) and my extra copy of "Labyrinth" or "Dirty Dancing." It's gotta be worth something on the black market.
Your Intended Victim and Weary Friend,

Monday, Monday

Sometimes I'm glad when I've got the weekend behind me. Seriously.
Not that this weekend was bad. Just draining.
First off, the craft fair with my friends at the Valley Lutheran Church. Talk about a lot of work! I doubt this is a particularly interesting topic to most people, so I'll sum up by saying this-- I had the coolest booth. I also didn't seem to have much that anyone wanted. Of course, it was hard to tell, because I was in the smaller room with fewer vendors, but sales were slow. As a matter of fact, in the first two and a half hours, I only sold a $4 decorated bottle my mom made. Things weren't looking too good, and I overheard the bazaar director say that most of her vendors were happy so long as they just made enough money to cover their booth rental. Oh no! It was only $15! And, as a matter of fact, the one girl I did know beforehand probably wouldn't have made back her rental fee if someone we all know didn't go buy a few things from her at the last-minute. Most people left pretty disappointed. I came out with about $120 profit, but I'm not so sure I'm ready to do another one of these things anytime soon. I'm still putting things away at my house!
Anyway, Sunday was 95 percent joyful, so I can't really complain (this statement will become ironic in exactly two paragraphs). I got some sweet niece time in, and my little stone-cold heart nearly broke when Z didn't want me to leave. I ended up being half an hour (OK, OK, 40 minutes) late to Pam's, because I just can't say no when she's throwing herself into my arms and acting like she loves me so much. Oh, how I love my munchkins! Paizlee continues to poop every time I pick her up, and she's not too keen on getting her diaper changed, but we've got a good rhythm going, and I love her like crazy.
Also, last night with the girls was super, super fun. What wouldn't be fun about eating cheese curds and drinking herbal fruit tea (sweetened with honey-- oh, my heart!) and listening to our friend tell us a story about his HORRIBLE first date post-mission? "Pat" and I talked the whole way home (a service I always appreciate when I'm driving home late at night) and laughed some more.
So what was the 5% hang-up? Dennis. Dennis is gone, by the way. First of all, he told me that he's "dating someone in Utah." Um, yes. Thank you, Napoleon Dynamite. Bet you've got one of her "Glamour Shots" in your wallet too, right? No, I'm sure it's legit, but there's something so off-putting about the whole thing. I mean, boys break up with me all the time. Wait, let me clarify. Boys I'm NOT DATING break up with me. I generally have an exasperated laugh at their expense, but most the time don't bother correcting them because I don't want to crush their fragile little egos. And I'll admit it-- Dennis served a purpose for a time, but seriously! He's fun about once every three years, but the rest of the time, being with him is about as exciting as watching paint dry. Anyway, the thing that SERIOUSLY GOT MY GOAT was actually completely unrelated. I told him I was on my way to hang out with Pamsicle, and I mentioned that we'd invited this new kid, who I think I'll call Roman. Ro is a little new to our circle of friends, having only been around for about three months. We met him when he started coming to church. R is an awesome guy-- seriously the nicest person I've met in ages-- and before he came to the 'Tute, he went to church with Dennis. So when I mentioned Ro was skipping out of the Pam-Time because of homework, Dennis said, "Roman? Has he been going to church over there? We were just saying today we'd not seen him in a while." OH. MY. GOSH. Dennis, you are not only a menace, but a LOSER. How can it be that you don't notice a person is missing for THREE MONTHS?!?!?!?!?!??!?!? This is the height of self-absorption, I'd say. And that's what made me tell him he was a crappy friend. And that's what made me take his phone number out of my phone for the last time. Yes, there's my hurt pride with the whole weird, pseudo-breakup, but no one will be so callous about our new fav, Roman (my public apologies to Sokphal-- she happened to call me right afterwards, and I was still emotional... Phal, I didn't get a chance to email you today, but rest assured I'm back to my normal, confident self, and I didn't even have to burn D in effigy). This ought to be the last time anyone hears about him from me.
Anyway, I guess I'm still a bit grumpy, but it's mostly because I'm coming down with something. Zozobra has been kind enough to share the latest incarnation of illness with me, and I feel pretty crummy. This had best not mess with my Halloween plans! I've got a pith helmet to wear, after all. Tonight is a brief cinematic outing with the girls (because no one bothered to call us about FHE) and then off to bed. I've done very little today except go to Wal-Mart and assemble little presents for my mother's visiting teachees, but sometime you just have days like that I guess. Anyway, pray for my speedy recovery and for no more fake breakups and for more time with my pals and for Saturday plans. Oh! And the dinner with the mayor! Oh no! Trepidation and nerves are setting in!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sista's Got Your Back

My second summer in Poland, I returned to some pretty great friends I'd made in Lublin twelve months before. I was super pleased that I was able to communicate in their native language better, but imagine my surprise and delight when my friend Sylwia told me she'd been teaching our friend Beata some English. My first summer, Beata and I were pretty much communicating via facial expression, warm embraces, and very simple phrases on my part. But it wasn't long before I realized Sylwia was teaching her some funny, but not entirely useful phrases. On cue, Beata started parroting, "Men. Men. I love men. Big men. Sexy men. I love men!"

I love men too. No joke. So, so much. But with that said, I'd never want to be one.

Being a woman is super for so many reasons-- being and making things beautiful, offering our hands for peace and healing, our nurturing natures, our ability to do a million things at once, etc., etc. I'm sure I could go on all day about the pleasure of being female, but I've got insulation work to finish and a craft fair to prepare for (yikes! Don't know how I'm gonna pull this off, but I'm excited). But one of the coolest things are our friendships with other women. When women grow up and get past cattiness and territorialism, they can fill so many voids. I love my gals!

And what exactly triggered this love outpouring?

I don't know. Maybe it was talking to my friend about her driving a really ridiculous dude out of her life. I'm proud of her. I gave her the empowering "you go girl" speech, but I felt like I was speaking to women everywhere. If brotha is treating you like garbage, kick HIM to the curb, am I right?

Or maybe it was thinking about my cousin's wife, who completely cracks me up. My cousin Justin is one of my favorite people in the entire world, and no one can make me laugh as much. Of course, he's plenty abusive to me, in that he'll grab me by the wrists and make me feel his chest hair, or he'll throw me over his shoulder and spin me in the air, WWE-style. His wife HATES this. When Justin acts up, Janalee always tells Justin to get a life. Sometimes, I think he's extra naughty with company around just to get Janalee to say it. And, though I'd never do anything to purposely irritate her, I get such a kick out of it when she starts modifying the phrase in exasperation. "Yes, Justin, get a life. Get like, the biggest life ever." She's so awesome. Also, when I'm begging for mercy, trying to get released from Justin the tickle monster, Janalee will come over and beat on him to get him off of me. She's never abusive, but thank goodness she's there, otherwise I'd probably pee all over their couch or something. I love that Janalee.

And there are other great women in my life as well. I look at my sister-in-law with her two darling girls, who are sometimes at least as difficult as they are beautiful. But she's a great mom. My little sister is so driven and hard-working, I worry she'll never take a break, but she's accomplishing so much and running circles around most girls her age. She's so graceful and beautiful and fun.

Unfortunately, I don't have time to pay adequate tribute to all the angelic (Mom), creative (Sylvia and Debra), brilliant and spiritual (Amber), compassionate (Van Time Girls) women in my life. But I'm blessed to know so many good women-- to emulate them, to learn from them, and to laugh with them. Someone cue the soundtrack from "Flower Drum Song" because I enjoy being a girl.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Menace

You know your social life is stale when you get a phone call from a guy you go out with periodically, talk for a bit, and when you hang up think to yourself, "What a waste of 24 minutes! Just think of all the glitter I could have put on stuff in that amount of time!" Yep, that's where I'm at. I'm not even sure why he called, or why I ran from the other end of the house to answer. Maybe it was because we were supposed to go out this weekend. But now he "doesn't know" if that'll work out. I don't even think he noticed my sarcasm when I said, "That's OK, so-and-so. I'll just sit here, waiting for you to call me when it's convenient for you." Bah! Yeah right.
For the sake of being more sensitive (or something like that), we'll call the boy in question Dennis. Yes, Dennis seems like a good name. Anyway, so Dennis is a little on the boring side. Love him in many ways, but I wonder if he just called me because he was bored. Maybe he needed some entertainment. And things started off all right, I suppose. I told him it was good to hear from him (it had been a few days since our last communication via text message) and asked how he was, and what was new. He didn't have much to offer. Well, D isn't much of a talker. He can be, but you really have to work him into it. Usually, he does his best talking before we start kissing. I think he's just more attractive when he's animated. But last night, he gave me the standard, "Not much-- what's new with you?" line, and I took the bait. As a matter of fact, I DO have a lot going on in my life. I excitedly told him about my current foam-core creation, and how I was getting ready for Saturday's craft fair. I expressed my disappointment over having to miss "Thrill the World" and "Aida" as part of the "Live from the Met" series. I told him all about the new political campaign I've volunteered for, and some of my plans for research and grassroots efforts. I told him about a relative I have who is an expert in his field. And what did I get? A few grunts here and there. But at least there was some noise, so I knew we'd not been cut off.
I know no one likes to listen to even their most interesting friends ramble on and on, so I tried to engage him in conversation, but all he could contribute was, "I'm so tired." I didn't say it, but I really had to wonder why he'd call if he really had NOTHING to say, or was going to act so bored by my life. I actually asked him if he were on drugs, because I'd not heard him sound so lethargic and incoherent since the time he called me from the hospital to tell me his appendix had ruptured. Incidentally, that little event led me to visiting him and getting a major look at his naked backside, which was shocking and scarring, but also so funny that it made his drugged-up state quite humorous. Also, when he was under the influence of whatever pain medication they give you in the hospital, he confessed his love for me, which I found rather charming. But last night, he assured me he'd not taken anything, and I had to believe him because frankly, I liked him better on drugs.
Oh, the poor little chump. He's really not all that bad most of the time. In fact, he can be quite wonderful. But if this is some passive-aggressive stunt to propel me to giving him the boot, he can keep it. Really. I may not have another man in my life right now (except for the ones pictured a couple of posts ago), but I do have a full, beautiful existence. So I'm just sayin', the next time the phone rings and I'm up to my elbows in Elmer's, don't expect me to dive for the cellular.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I hate that October is 75 percent gone. I wish it could last at least twice as long. Get rid of August and the unbearable heat. Take a bit from November, and keep my Indian Summer. We've had monumental rain for the last couple of days, and it's making all the beautiful golden leaves squishy and shiny. My overcast days inspire indulging in life's little luxuries-- like a candlelit bubble bath in the morning (by the way, I don't even want to remember baths before the jetted tub-- the churning water produces suds high and dense enough to make me modest and comfortable enough that were a stranger to walk into my bathroom, I'd feel fully clothed) and a cup of hot herbal tea (how I love the Black Cherry Berry!) at my desk as I crank out the invoices and proposals, and look longingly out the window to the peaceful gloom of the weather.
Last night was luxurious. I made vegetable soup for my parents with leftovers from Sunday night's mini soiree. Then I took a drive in the rain because I wanted to enjoy it before snuggling in at home. I should have been crafting some great Christmas items for Saturday's show, but instead I got into some polka-dot pjs and watched "Everything is Illuminated" and talked to my sister and one of the besties. I've been re-reading the forever-long to-do list books to see what I can check off since the last examination a few months back. Those check-marks make me feel like I'm accomplishing something.
And now, work is calling. The day will be busy, but I may just get to squeeze in some time kissing the nieces (I kissed Paizlee's foot the other day while she was sleeping in her swing, and she woke up and smiled-- like my pal Brecken, I can tell the difference between genuine baby smile and gas, especially because P has some kind of reaction to me holding her-- it always inspires her pooping reflex). I've also been itching to visit my sister in Rio to cuddle her doggie children. Well, Winnie, the Shorkie. Gus the Bulldog is lovable, but a little too rough and drooly and strong to invite much snuggling. There's always tonight to do craft projects. Or not. Whatever. We'll see.
In the mean time, I'm just grateful to have been able to wear sweaters every day this week and for different umbrellas to coordinate with all my different cardigans. It sounds excessive, or obsessive compulsive, but it just one of life's simple pleasures.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Why I Need A Trophy Boyfriend

So when you think of the 1950s and pop culture, it's pretty hard to not picture June Cleaver, making dinner for Ward and the boys. She always was the picture of elegance and grace. Her dresses flared perfectly and her hair was never out of place. She wore pearls to do dishes. She greeted her husband with a kiss and the newspaper so he could unwind as she slaved away in the kitchen. But June wasn't the only television mom with these responsibilities, plus more. I remember watching "I Love Lucy" in reruns and Ricky calling to tell Lucy the boss or an investor was coming home for dinner, so she'd best have everything ready. Chaos ensued for the sake of a story-line, but women of yore had the distinct responsibility of impressing the husband's boss. The promotion was generally on the line, and the hospitality shown by the wife would make or break the deal. That was her job, and even Lucy got Ricky extra funding for the Club.
Well, of course, the times have changed a bit, and more and more women are out in the workforce. Fortunately, my boss has been pretty impressed with me for the last 28+ years, but no amount of excellent dinners are going to get me a raise. Still, there are times when, as the professional and breadwinner in my home (plus the cook, maid, interior decorator, landscaper, accountant, handy-woman, etc., etc., etc.), it would be nice to have a little support so when such important social occasions arise I'd not have to go it alone.
So what's the latest occasion? I'm having dinner with the mayor.
Yes, the MAYOR. Of Los Lunas.
And OK, OK. For those of you who've been to LL, you might not be impressed, simply because it is a rather small community. But it's a pretty big honor.
And it's not just that I'm having dinner with him. I'm MAKING DINNER for him. And his wife. And really, it's more for his wife, and he's coming along, because she's my former teacher and a wonderful friend and mentor. She was just in a car accident a couple of weeks ago, and I called to see if I could do anything to help out. I didn't even realize her husband WAS the interim mayor until a week ago. Anyway, I've been meaning to have this wonderful woman and her husband over to see my home for ages. In a lot of ways, their approval is like my parents', because she was my mom at school, and her husband was a big part of the students' lives as well.
So, anyway, teacher and I were on the phone yesterday afternoon as I ran various and sundry errands, and we decided to set up a get-together. No big deal-- I'm sure I can come up with a delightful menu. But then I started asking about her husband's new political career, and I found myself volunteering to aid in the re-election campaign (!!!) and then everything took a serious turn.
Suddenly, I wasn't just Rachel, former student, honored to host the Vialpandos at my home for a quiet dinner and catching up on theatre, education, current events, and so on. For the last 24 hours, my thoughts have been consumed with campaign strategies and to-do lists. It's exciting to dust off the PR-side of my brain (and shake out the insulation for a while), but when that started happening, I started thinking about PR as it concerns ME. And for whatever reason, it seems the evening would go so much more smoothly if I had someone to co-host and take care of conversation and being charming while I put the dressing on the salad and make sure the place cards are arranged just so. But because I'm already June Cleaver/Donna Reed/Martha Stewart of the 21st century, I realized I need a trophy boyfriend.
Oh, of course the Vialpandos love me despite my long-running single-hood, and none of this would really matter to them so much, but I think it would make me feel a little better. But who in the world could I choose? I'm having a heck of a time finding a worthy candidate for the evening's festivities. It's like going to the Academy Awards alone. I've got to walk the red carpet by myself anyway, so it shouldn't be a big deal to sit by myself, but my picture in People Magazine would look so much better if I were to show up with say, George Clooney. But sadly, I don't know George Clooney. Not by a long shot.
So who would I even get? I started to review possible candidates. I immediately weeded out the guy who gets mad if we talk about anything but him and his High School State Track Championship (he graduated from HS about eight years ago) and the one who treats everyone he meets like a potential dollar sign. Boys with poor personal hygiene were definitely out, and so was the one who has the disgusting palate expander (not because he slurps so much as his general lack of discretion). The politically extreme aren't a great match for this kind of event, nor are the politically apathetic. So not only is George Clooney missing from my circle of male friends, so are many with basic motor skills and fully-developed frontal lobes.
Of course, it's not like all the guys I know are brutes-- they just aren't a good fit.
Remember my friend Jacob, whose writing I worship?

Well, the last thing I heard about him socially is that he has a cute little (and I mean SHORT )gf, so I wish him every happiness. Besides, he's saving children in Santa Fe, and he's generally too busy recording some political ballad or another to get in the trenches with local politics. (Just kidding JD-- you know I still think you're darling, right?)

Then, there's my friend we like to call Hot Mike. Another Platonic Ideal, Mikey is not available to co-host because a) he lives 600 miles away and b) he has a girlfriend. M's girlfriend actually is from my home county, but the chances of them being in town are slim, and the chances she'd give up her man for one moment are zilch. It's really a shame, because I've taken him to important corporate awards ceremonies in the past, and he was a champ. And better looking than anyone else. So there.
Oh, it really doesn't matter who I'd think of. There was always a problem.

Too broken up. :(

Too far away (don't think Ahmed really has too many frequent-flier miles, and why leave Egypt if you don't have to?).

Too engaged (above and below).

Oops! Too married, Sean!You'd think my friend Nathan would be ideal...
.... And I think he'd marry me to take away my reproach, but he's such a romantic, I think he deserves better than that. Even if it just would mean being my boyfriend for the evening. Plus also, he lives at his office (in L.A.) and I'm not sure his political ideals would necessarily align with those held by my honored dinner guests.
Andrew, on the other hand, is at first glace an excellent fit. He's informed:

And philanthropic (that's him building a well in Nicaragua):
But he is busy in grad school in Provo, preparing for the not-too-distant future when he'll need his own brand of June Cleaver (by the way-- when I told him I was volunteering for a political campaign, I could imagine him foot-noting the fact in his mental Rolodex for when HE runs for office someday).
My handsome, handsome friend Blair (pictured below with our married friend Gabe, singing a Backstreet Boys song to me on my 27th birthday), has a lot of charm, and has that nice quarterback confidence Ward tried to instill in Wally.

But the boy wears a lot of jewelry, and might come across as a used-car salesman.
Plus also, check out this picture from his Facebook page. He looks like a pretty tough bench warmer. (Just kidding Blair! I'm sooo still president of your fan club, and love you sooo much!!)
So it looks like my best option is....

Actually, Eric is my friend who jokingly suggested we get married at 30 if we haven't found anyone else yet. He's two days older than I am, and we've got tentative plans to be married in the desert by a gypsy, with our friend Sexy Rexy singing "Lady In Red" for the music.
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't want you to think Eric is my last-choice. Not by a long shot. I don't want to sound creepy, so every day I do my best to not face-stalk him and suggest we don't wait the extra year and a half, but just elope now.
Here are some good reasons to love Eric, and why he'd be excellent at my dinner with the mayor:
* Eric is smart, smart, smart. Dangerously smart.
* Eric is handsome, handsome, handsome. And I'm not just saying that because he looks so good in front of St. Mary's in Krakow (a destination he visited upon my recommendation, and loved). Look at those eyebrows! And his earlobes! Perfectly respectable in Corporate America, and edgy enough to look good doing karaoke or participating in a poetry slam (not that I've seen him at either, but you know what I mean).
* Eric is charmingly political. Many times we disagree. He's kinda aggravatingly pro-Russian, but I think that's been moderated by the time he spent in Ukraine. I think we could come to a compromise by naming our second and third children Reagan and Kennedy (I'm still holding out for the name Jemima for baby no. 1).
* Eric is manly and loves sports. I used to not think this was a big deal, but his obsession with the Denver Broncos is one of his likable quirks. If he loved the Dallas Cowboys, he would have never been an option for me.
* Eric is funny. Sometimes he's a little mean, like the time he made me go out with his cousin Brett, but he's mostly just funny. I remember his diatribes on girls without chins. I remember watching "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" with him on Valentine's Day and the odd things he'd laugh at. I remember seeing a picture of him on the Halloween after J.K. Rowling mentioned Dumbledore was gay, and Eric's Albus costume was priceless. And, because he's a Mormon Democrat, there's always something funny to laugh about in connection to Eric's epic fight against the man.
Of course, there are plenty of reasons I'd be a great trophy wife someday for Eric as well (keep in mind, this list is not exhaustive):
* As noted above, I'm a domestic goddess.
* I'm certainly smart enough to keep up with him, and if not smart enough, competitive enough to do so.
* I'd still let him be besties with Eric Otto and Dan Milton and the other mean boys we've known since freshman year at the Brigham.
* Our children would be GUARANTEED a great head of hair.
* I'm fiercely good-looking (um, OK, fiercely might be a stretch. Sublimely?).
* I come with great signing bonuses-- house, car, job-security, a 401k, etc., to get us started.
* My PR background will certainly be good for his own political career, and, let's not forget--
* I have great contacts. I mean, hello, I'm introducing him to the MAYOR of Los Lunas.
That's my man!
PS. Thanks to all the boys gracious enough to not be mad that I posted/stole pictures of them for the sake of blog illustration.

Monday, October 19, 2009

As A Clam

I'm ready to start the new week-- for once, I feel well-rested (despite a mere 6 hours of sleep last night), and I'm coming off a fantastic weekend!
Here are some highlights:
* The house is (relatively) clean and finally decorated for Halloween. Oh, how I love all my glittery decorations! I walk into the dining room and everything sparkles, and that makes me feel sparkly too.

* The fashion inspiration is flowing again. Today's outfit is ballerina meets Amelia Earhart. If you're looking for a new cardigan or two (because Modest is Hottest), check out NY&Co. So many great things. Yesterday, I was accidentally Blair Waldorf. It wasn't planned, but the result was effective.

* At church yesterday, Rudy gave a talk on Dating and Sexual Purity. Two major highlights:
-"I don't know what Heavenly Father was thinking-- He must have way more faith in us than I have. He's given us this awesome power, but it's really like letting a three year old run wild in a wood shop."
- "And it's not that we, as members of the church think sex is wrong. Sex is GREAT!" (And then, back-tracking a bit, because like most of the rest of us at the Singles' Branch, he is a virgin and pure as the driven snow) "Just ask these guys behind me!" (Indicating the branch presidency, all married men) It was super, super awkward, but really quite the memorable talk.

* I've started the Christmas shopping. The bad news: I'm so poor! The good news: I've got my sister, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law all taken care of. And I've got a good jump on the friend gifts. I've got at least an idea of what to get my dad, and my mom is always a snap, as I expect the nieces will be. Brother will be the biggest challenge, but I feel good-- like I can have it all done by Thanksgiving. Too bad property taxes are due soon, but at least the house insurance, car insurance, and other major bills are behind me for the year.

* Found many bargains on Saturday during the errands, and a few surprises. My best find? A $70 globe that ended up costing me about $11.50. The craziest item? A wedding-planning book in the bargain section at Borders. I knew I'd be hanging out with Paul and Kacie soon, and now that they are engaged, I'd certainly let K look through any and all of my wedding and event planning books. I've got quite a library these days. Those books are great for inspiration for ANY event, and they are beautiful, but are generally super-pricey. However, if I find them on clearance, I save a ton of money and my decorating skills and imagination expand exponentially. So I saw a huge wedding book for $5, and the cover was GORGEOUS. I picked it up without really looking at it until I finally went to bed hours and hours later. The surprise? It's about planning weddings for "women of color." I LOVED IT! Kacie isn't as pasty as I am (well, really, who even is?), but to call her a woman of color would be a major stretch. Still, good design knows no race-- the best design is influenced by myriad cultures, so I'm glad to add the book to my collection. Still, it was a pleasant surprise, and good for a chuckle as well. I should've known it would take a woman with some soul to pull off the verdant wedding dress on the cover.

* The next craft show is fast approaching, and I've not really done anything to prepare for it, but I'm excited. Participating will keep me from joining this year's "Thrill the World," but I made my commitment to the good Valley Lutheran Church Women, and I plan to deliver. A double booth! What was I thinking? Probably that I just have a ton of stuff to sell, but still, the creative juices are flowing now and I'd like to have a few more winter items to sell.

* The ambitious family history project is progressing slowly but steadily. I've got almost all the pictures and certificates and news clippings archived (the ones I have access to anyway) but the thing about genealogy is you could always do more. Still, it's been really awesome to finally understand who the Mulfords are, especially. By the end of printing off the 527 records for individuals on Michael's GEDCOM, I felt like I could generally place people in families.

Anyway, that's about all for now. Work is calling, and I can't shirk. I've got so much to do before feeding the missionaries tonight and then hiking with the kids. But autumn is surely here. I'm invigorated.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I'm SO Excited, I'm So Excited, I'm So...So...Jessie Spano

Please forgive the reference to mid-90s television, but I'm very out of touch with pop culture these days. I realized a bit ago after checking my email that I RARELY even check entertainment news anymore. This is a big switch from my old Excel days. Now I'm lucky if I even know what people are talking about. I no longer read "People" (unless there's something about Princess Di or if it's the 50 Hottest Bachelors or whatever), I only watch the Food Network with my mom (I don't even have time for the Today Show or Jeopardy! anymore) and series from Netflix, and I STILL haven't seen the latest Harry Potter, when in days of yore, I'd never miss an opening-day opportunity. I don't know if I've gotten old or just busy.
So last night I was having a bit of a whine party with my cheesy friend Aaron (hahaha! get it?!?!) and I told him how I've been feeling socially deprived. Part of it has been because I've spent every waking moment covering something or other in glitter, but after church on Sunday and FHE on Monday, I can't help a) being grateful for the legit friends I DO have, and b) wondering why there are so few people I can relate to.
Yes, I know, I know. There comes a time in every woman's life where she has to put away childish things and take care of business. That's why I don't join up with the so-called Midnight Ninjas on their adventures-- call me old-fashioned, but I like to sleep at night! After dances when kids hit the casino buffet, I get my booty back to Los Lunas, inevitably stopping at a sobriety checkpoint (because they're at the same place in Bosque Farms every single weekend) and chatting it up with the cops about how I've never had a drink. I don't have the school thing in common with my church chums, and the peeps who I relate best to are all married or are in serious relationships. Well, nearly all of them. But I had to delete some chumps out of my phone again, because even though I'm Jessie Spano, I'm not Screech. Screech always got way more respect than I ever do.
And it's OK, because Jessie ends up happy (not to be confused with Elizabeth Berkley and her stripper-movie downfall) and successful. As I recall, she made it into Stanford (or did she? I really hated that show so much and never watched "The College Years," but episode after episode is ingrained in my subconscious thanks to my sister's love affair with Zac Morris). She got things done. She had a cute boyfriend who she could boss around and he bossed her right back and they had a mutually-beneficial, symbiotic relationship. She managed to do music videos and get a nice desk job at the LaRosi's country club and she was student-body president and a cheerleader (counter-intuitive) and a viable competitor in a dance competition (personally, "The Sprain" never did it for me-- no offense to Lisa Turtle, of course). Jessie was a bit neurotic, but in a lot of ways, she owned Bayside because she was above a lot of the drama. But it must have gotten lonely for her when Zac and Slater fought over Kelly, and Lisa was off with the fashion club, and Screech with his robots. So much of the time, she had to be the voice of reason and came across as a drag. Even the smart kids are sometimes misunderstood.
My problem is, I don't want to be on Saved by the Bell. I'd much rather be on Arrested Development.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Boho Babes Boutique Pictures

SO I think it's pretty safe to call this weekend's boutique a success. But it's probably also fair to say I'm glad it's over for a year. I imagine we'll do it again, but I'm certainly glad for a break.
Anyway, here are some pictures. I don't think they begin to do justice to the ladies' creativity, but I didn't have time to think much about composition (which is why you'll notice random boxes, bad lighting etc.)-- just don't judge based on my lack of photographic prowess. Still, for those who missed it, the boutique was a roaring party. Good sales, but we've got a lot of merch left, so if you see something you like in the pictures, let me know and I'll check to see if it's still available.

Hope y'all had as much fun looking as we did making!