Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflections of NYE Past

All over the papers and magazines, you see the 2009 retrospectives and notes on the first decade of the 21st Century. I don't know that this year has been particularly interesting, and there's a lot that's gone on in the decade, so that might be a little overwhelming to attempt. I hereby give myself 3 minutes to sum up:

* Significantly reduced the average number of boys kissed per year-- I think I only had three. Four if you count the accidental Rudy snog. Snooze.
* Paid off another chunk of the mortgage, but there are several more years of mortgage chunks to go.
* Had lots of good friend visits, including Nate and Andrew (February), dinner with the Wards (January?), Kimball and Chris (April), Jen (July), etc., etc. And by "etc., etc." I mean I was out way too late last night and can't remember much. I need a nap!
* Attended the high school reunion (twice) and had a laugh.
* Discovered how good I am with glitter and foam core.
* Spent some time in the Mediterranean.

* Went to and graduated from the beautiful Brigham Young University
* Learned Polish and spent two summers in the Motherland
* Made sooo many friends-- some of them at the beginning of the decade who I still spend much time with.
* Went to about a million weddings for the above-mentioned friends.
* Worked for a couple of years for an independent film company (which sounds much sexier than it really was).
* Edited a magazine
* Got the crappiest movie ever on "The Today Show" but didn't get to meet Matt Lauer (sad-- even though seeing Dr. Maya Angelou was pretty doggone amazing)
* Kissed many, many boys
* Became a True Aggie
* Built a house
* Became the Queen of Insulation
* Discovered my niche of meticulous eclecticism and Bohemian Gypsy Beauty
* Fell in love, got my heart stomped out, got better
* Became an aunt (twice over!)
* Traveled the world... or at least a good chunk of Europe, dabbling in Asia and Africa.
* Kept dreaming, kept accomplishing.

OK. Three minutes up.
Anyway, 2010 will afford much time to discuss upcoming goals. As this is the last day of the year, I'm looking back with fondness. Even though my 2009 wasn't all that exciting (and actually, it was tough on many fronts), I think it was happy. BUT what I'd really like to pay tribute to are the many New Year's Eve Celebrations of Yore.
You know, the New Year Celebration is one of my personal favorites. Of course, it appeals to my Type A Personality-- I start the year with a clean desk at work, a clean home, a clean conscience, and lots of hope for improving over the next 12 months. Those resolutions don't often stick the way I'd hope, but I like that motivated feeling.
Still, I'd be lying if I didn't acknowledge my mad love for the party the night before.
Oh, they're not always magical. There was the huge snow-storm of 2006, when Albuquerque got 16 inches of snow and the traditional festivities were canceled. That year, I went to my sweet friend Miriam's house, but the storm had me scared enough that I left early. I spent much of that evening with a certain chap BG, and he isn't exactly what you'd call a barrel of monkeys. That was also when I broke up with Lance Romance, who was the best guy ever, but I just wasn't feeling it, and it was a little on the sad side.
Last year's celebration was also a touch sad. It seems like my girls were all out of town, so I danced the night away with Paul, Anthony, Adam and Brandon. Oh, it wasn't all that bad, but sipping sparkling cider with the boys just wasn't the same as the crazy times with the gals.
Still, there have been very grand years as well. Two years ago, on a whim I kissed a boy who would later be known as "Carl's Jr." But there was something very funny about fogging up the windows of Tresann's Crown Victoria. And Sam Hobbs taking pictures of it.
Another fun year in High School, I went with M & L to the dance. My mom took us, along with my little brother and his friend. It was a minivan of madness.
But my favorite New Year Dance memory was probably the "family dance" I went to when I was a lass of 13. My little brother and I went, but our family didn't turn up. Still, we were allowed to go to the Los Lunas Chapel and dance around to Joe Doty and the Good Old Boys. I'd just been to the Copper Bowl in Tuscon to watch BYU beat OU (58-6, I think) and was riding high. I remember thinking I looked super stylish in my blue plaid shirt with an embroidered Mickey Mouse on the pocket (give me a break-- I was 13! And still wearing tapered-leg jeans, which is a crime against humanity). Also, for Christmas that year, Santa had brought a little Victoria Secret Freesia Lotion to my stocking, and I remember being so nervous when I found out my childhood crush Grant Farnsworth was going to be there that I kept hitting the mother's lounge and reapplying. For years, any time I'd smell that lotion, it would remind me of the magical dance. Actually, as I type this, I have to laugh. Grant, did you know what a grand effect you had on me? After the countdown, Joe and the Boys played "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and then Granto kissed me on the cheek. I felt like I'd never wash that side of my face again. The memory of his lips burned on the apple of my cheek for like, an hour. Or apparently more, because that was 15 years ago! Hahaha. I celebrate that moment of perfect innocence and joy to this day. And that's why I love New Year's Eve.
Of course this year, Grant will be kissing his beautiful wife Ashley and adorable baby Kendra. And I'll be planting one on several different chaps... but not on the cheek. Too bad they don't make that freesia lotion anymore.
Happy 2010 everyone!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Proud Cougar

And here you were, guessing I was going to discuss my love of younger men, weren't you?

I actually just wanted to give a quick shout-out to my Alma mater, and the great football team, for their 44-20 win over Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl. Yes, I know this is old news, but give me a break-- I've been busy. Here's hoping we can have a BCS bid next year, though, because they might as well rename Las Vegas as "The BYU versus some crap team from the Pac 10 Bowl." Right? Sorry Oregon Beaver fans (seriously, the Beavers? Who thought that was a good idea?). No. 18 is nothing to sniff at. Anyway...
Lest I disappoint you, gentle readers, NOW I will discuss why it's nice to have a bunch of young boyfriends.
Garret, my cousin, is a big Cougar fan, and I'm not talking BYU athletics. As we ditched Sunday School a couple of days ago (one of my weaknesses-- as the president, I can't very well ditch Relief Society, and sometimes I just need a mental break... or to work on my lesson for the third hour), he explained to my friend Louise just why he likes cougars. "You know, if you get a cub, they're just too demanding. They want you to feed them, and cuddle with them, and lick them and feed them again, and take them out to play. It's just constant work. But a full-grown Cougar just needs to go out about once a week to feed, and then she wants to go home to her own cave and not be bothered." Garret has always said "older women make beautiful lovers." He also told his family, when he was about four years old, that he likes his women "a little on the trashy side." Someone needs to keep this kid from listening to country-western music.
Garret and I agree I'm technically too young yet to be a cougar. I guess that makes me a panther, right? Heck if I know all the trendy talk. I do know that in this calendar year, I've not had a date with a man older than I am. I guess the last couple of guys I've had dates with who ARE actually older would be my friend David (now happily married, but remember how I once caught him doing shirtless push-ups to Mariah Carey music?) or my friend Brad, who took me out to dinner a while back. However, these fellas are the big exception. I'd like to say it just started happening after I moved to NM, but even as far back as high school, I've liked the younger guys. Part of it, I'm sure, is necessity. When I was about 14 or so, I tended to like the boys about two grades above, but when they graduated and later when I became a big-bad senior, I used to snog the sweetest little guy back stage all the time. He was three years younger, but I didn't even care. In college I had a few little boyfriend-types who I'd tuck under my wing of wise sisterhood but end up with little crushes on-- like my friend Ben. We were in a play together, and it was just so fun to hold hands with him, even though he was completely delusional and was convinced he was best friends with Britney Spears via the internet. What can I say-- I have a weakness for the clueless chaps. Need I remind you of young Bobby Hill?
The only time I get wicked-grossed out is when I stop to think my boyfriends are younger than my little sister. But I just block that out most of the time. I still have a secret hope to end up with someone my age or older, which is why marrying my friend Eric in a year and a half remains an appealing idea. He is two days older than I am, which appeals to the traditionalist in me. But until then, I guess I'll have to keep spending time with the younger boys.
On an unrelated note, here is a picture of the beard Jacob is working on. He's a little embarrassed because it's patchy and blond and you can't really see it even though he's been growing it for a couple of weeks, but it's still kind of sweet. Maybe in a few years it'll come in better.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Holiday Greetings

I know there are a lot of people out there who get offended if you say, "Merry Christmas" rather than "Happy Holidays." I don't think I'd be offended if someone wished me a nice Kwanzaa or Hanukkah, but I don't get bent out of shape over semantics most of the time, and if people are wishing me any kind of happiness, I gratefully accept. I am of the "Happy Christmas" persuasion myself, but to cover my readers' bases, I hereby submit two holiday greetings. Please accept either (or both) with my sincere love.

First, the secular:

"May you have made out like a bandit today, and may you make out like a teenager next week."

And for those not put off by my religiousness,

"Friends, you are my brothers and sisters. I am so grateful God has blessed me with you in my life-- You are the answers to my prayers. May we all spend this special time of year (and hopefully the whole year long) emulating our Savior Jesus Christ. Not only is He the perfect example of how we ought to treat one another, but more importantly, He led a life perfect in every aspect, atoned for our sins, suffered for our pain, and was resurrected that we might live again, even as He does. May we strive to be like Him today and all the days after."

Regardless of your particular persuasion, thank you for being in my life!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

At last-- Christmas Spirit on Christmas Eve's Eve

Well, it took long enough, but I think I'm finally over my bah-humbugs. I am bursting with Christmas spirit! Woot woot!

To answer Pammie's text query, no, I never did manage to hang up a single bough of mistletoe. I'm a slacker! Perhaps tonight. Definitely before a couple of my special friends come into town for the new year. Honestly, it took me so long to get those decorations up, I feel like I ought to leave them out till January 1.

Perhaps the magical change came last night. Ashley and Robert are spending Christmas in Texas with his family, so we had them open their presents last night, and they brought some down for us as well. Zoey and I had picked up pizza and ice cream (she managed to get Daiquiri Ice all over my car, but I don't care) and then we did some gift exchanging. Z loved her shopping cart from Aunt Ashley and Uncle Robert. She also did a good job with the potty-training stuff, so she got a prize (amazing what little kids will do for a Disney Princess sticker, isn't it?). Paizlee was very pleasant. She's "talking" now, and seems to like me best when I'm changing her diapers. Of course, after she's clean, she thinks she's hungry, and I'm very little help to her. But she did suck on my cheek last night, which was funny and disturbing all at once. At first, I thought she was just giving me a little kiss, but then I realized she thought my face was a boob, and I don't really know what to think of that. Still, I love my little girls!

Anyway, it's never about the getting, but I do have to say I'm loving the nesting doll pitcher and CRAZY suitcase from Norb and Rasputia (my sister and bro-in-law's self-imposed nicknames), and it was super-duper fun to see Zoey's eyes light up over the whole thing. She kept bringing Ashley presents, regardless of who they were meant for. I now happen to know I'm set to receive a beautiful orange blouse on Friday morning. But that's OK... we tend to have at least one present mix-up every year. I nearly (accidentally, I might add) absconded with one of my sister-in-law's gifts our first Christmas with her in the fam. It was so embarrassing! But it's a good story.

Also helping my Christmas mood? Grocery shopping, believe it or not. Yes, Albertsons was a mad-house, but I like the way holiday shoppers bond over seriously odd things. I made a friend in the dairy aisle as we discussed the best deal on whipping cream. I told her I wanted a clean house for Christmas, so this evening I planned to clean for Baby Jesus. I wasn't trying to be disrespectful, but y'all know Santa tends to freak me out. Also, I made a life-long friend of a man who was buying four cans of pumpkin. A cashier opened an extra line and motioned me over. All I said to pumpkin man was, "Sir, this gentleman has just opened another line. Why don't you go in front of me?" Now I'm going to be his grandchildren's godmother. Also, as I walked out to my car, I noticed everyone grinning at me. I thought to myself, "What pleasant people are the good citizens of Los Lunas!" But maybe it was because I was grinning. I like when joy is contagious.

Also helping my mood is my selection of Christmas tunes. I've been trying to be careful about which holiday songs I expose myself to, because some of them put me in a terrible mood. That Christmas Shoes song, for example, is perhaps the most obnoxious thing ever put on the radio, and I'm rather convinced that if I go to hell, it will be the soundtrack. Other so-called Christmas songs I don't care for: "Santa Baby" because it's greedy and a little too burlesque (not that I don't like a good Moulin-Rouge-y tune, but not in conjunction with something that should be holy) and pretty much anything by 98 Degrees. I think I'd like the one Christmas single a lot, but my roommate freshman year at the Brigham nearly killed me with that song on repeat. OK. I take it back. That one is tolerable. Boys II Men's "Silent Night" is a little too jazzy. I prefer Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass doing "Jingle Bells" if I want something with a little swing. I absolutely can't abide listening to Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" because once I walked in on one of my boyfriends working out to it. Shirtless. In June. He answered the door to his studio apartment in just pj pants, with Mariah blasting. He said it pumped him up for push-ups. It was truly bizarre.

But anyway, in case you were curious as to what IS on my iPod Christmas playlist, here you go:

* Breath of Heaven-- Amy Grant (I know, I know, you don't have to tell me, but I think it's beautiful anyway)
* Christmas/Sarajevo 12/24-- Trans-Siberian Orchestra
* Winter Song-- Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson
* Happy Christmas (War is Over) -- John Lennon
* Adeste Fidelis-- Andrea Bocelli
* Ave Maria-- Josh Groban
* Song for a Winter's Night-- Sarah McLachlan
* Do They Know It's Christmas?-- Band Aid
* God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen--Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan
* Little Drummer Boy-- Bing Crosby & David Bowie
* Feliz Navidad-- Jose Feliciano
* Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas-- Judy Garland
* The Nutcracker Op. 71: No. 2 March and Op. 71: No. 12d, Character Dances: Trepak-- Tchaikovsky
* The 12 Days of Christmas-- Straight No Chaser
* Christmastime is Here: Vince Guaraldi Trio

Finally cementing my Christmas-y mood-- I had dinner with my friend Sister Frances tonight. She's a nun. I told her the story of the time the nuns drove me to the hospital in Lublin and the three in the back said the rosary for me, while the driving nun had road rage. I also told Sister about my date with the priest, Father Richard. She finds me humorous, I think. I love Sister Frances. She's one of the best people I know. Mum and I spent a good chunk of the day with her.

All in all, I'm feeling warm and fuzzy. I'm officially "on vacation" now-- er, not working, that is, though time with Frances did keep me from completely finishing some invoicing, so I'll likely work a bit tomorrow. But here are my plans for the next 36 hours or so (sleeping is not accounted for in the to-do list, but you can bet your boots I'll be doing some of that):

* Making and delivering Egg Nog Pound Cakes to friends (I've got six more to go!)
* Cleaning house and finally hanging the mistletoe
* Making the baked beans for Christmas dinner (Friday's, that is-- I'm also in charge of the ham, but that's easy and will go in the oven before I go watch Zoey's Santa reaction).
* Wrapping my father's presents (don't ask me why his are the only ones that have been neglected, but I want them to look spectacular) and putting a giant bow on the big thing I got for my sis-in-law (it won't fit in a bag, I mean, and it's not wrapping paper friendly-- don't worry, it's not alive).
* Working on costume pieces for the live nativity my cousins and I are planning for our family Christmas Eve party. My cousin's preggers wife will be Mary, and I nominate Paiz to be the blessed child. Janalee thinks her husband Justin should be the donkey so she can ride him in, and I'm hoping Garret will step in as the inn-keeper. That leaves either my father or uncle for Herod. I guess I'll either be Anna or an angel. Anyway, here's hoping I remember my camera tomorrow night. And the party crackers (as in boom, with favors and fortunes and little hats, not the kind for cheese). I'm also doing some pretty awesome sandwiches and a chocolate dessert tray with tuxedo cheesecake and berries. Mmm. Can you say Christmas tummy? Boo!
* Working out, meditating/yoga, pedicure (I hope, I hope) and possibly having my monster eyebrows threaded. If not, this must be done pre-NYE.
* Swirling around in the Christmas dress-- Dillards at Winrock has been partially redeemed, as I found said dress, tried it on, and paid for it in under 10 minutes. It was a Christmas miracle to find a modest one that fit and flattered, and came in at 40 percent off. Ahh! Cue those heavenly strains!

One final thought for the evening: Saw "Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging" last night, post presents, post BYU whipping some trash in the Las Vegas Bowl (maybe the game put me in a grand mood?). My review: Not as good as the books by a long shot, but sweet nevertheless. Georgia wasn't as sassy as I'd hoped, but because she was sweet, there was a better message for the whole thing. Loved Robbie and Tom, though movie Tom was WAY hotter (and I know, this makes me a big time Cougar-- even more than from my BYU days-- because those little chaps are like, what-- 5 years old?), and poor Dave the Laugh got bad treatment. When it comes to the books, I'm definitely on team Dave the L., and I just felt sad about it. Another beef with the movie? WHERE WAS SVEN? Sven is one of the best characters. Someone was listed in the credits as Sven, but I sure as heckfire never saw him in his silver flares, nor did I feel Rosie was nearly bonkers enough. Jas didn't even have her flicky-fringe, and where was Jools? I know she's the B-team of the Ace Gang, but still! And for the 99% of you who have neither read the books/seen the movie nor have any interest in doing so, I'm sorry. Still, I'd give it 3.25 stars.

PS. Jacob got a haircut, and looks cute as cute can be. Even Sister Frances thought so.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Feliz Taco Cabana

Sometimes I really have to ask myself if my brain fell out. My mom just said, "You don't have to go to Albertsons, I can go." And I answered, "But I need a lot of stuff from Taco Cabana." I walked by her while she was unloading the dishwasher, and I really like putting the silverware away. Don't ask me why-- probably because of that "place for everything and everything in its place" feeling of organization. I get in on some of these odd jobs working out of my parents' home. It's not always all insulation. So I even commented on how I love putting the silverware away, and then I just walked off, thinking about how with my hat on, I look like Fivel from the "American Tale" movies.
But at least I did have a reason to mention the T.C.-- as promised, I've got some pictures for you faithful readers of my late date with Sev, aka Steve Young's mini-me. And now that I look at the picture, no, he doesn't look much like Steve, but really, does it matter so much? We had a nice time, and our food was really good.
We sat under the tree to inspire a festive mood. We didn't really sing Christmas songs so much but a variation on Barry Mannilow's "Copacabana" about the Taco... Taco Cabana. It sounds dumb now, but it went well with the taquitos.

You know, I've gone with several gents to the T.C., and it's not such a bad place. Y'all know I tend to choose Sweet Tomatoes more than frequently, so it was a nice change. And at S.T.'s, you don't get signage like this:

The magical evening ended with...

Not exactly that. But Sev did give me a kiss on the cheek, which I thought was sweet. And besides, what's the point in kissing, when we've already done that dozens of times (thank you, spin the bottle)? I told his mom and sister about it on Sunday at church. Plus the whole Relief Society. Points to Sev. He is a sweetie.
Finally, this has nothing to do with the Taco Cabana date, but I saw this sign a couple nights later on a van at "River of Lights":

Does anyone else think this is funny? The startling part is the website underneath-- I'm doing a bit of a TAMN Frownsmile right now.
Anyway, in case I get busy and don't get to say it-- thanks for your readership. Love you all. Happy Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

On its Way

I know, I know. If I were Lucy and you were Ricky, I'd have some 'splainin to do.
So explanation:
* I'm jamming five days of work into three (one down, two to go).
* I was basking in the glory of my date for the last couple of days (not really, but I will post pictures).
* I've been spending a lot of time with the nieces. Quality quotation from Zoey, tired after a long day of potty-training (and going without underroos, and being a "princess" because "princesses use the big-girl potty"): "I don't want to be a princess anymore. I want a diaper."
* STILL trying to get the house outfitted for the festive season. Finally got the tree up after some lighting brouhaha. I'm not putting the tree up in the study this year. What would be the point? I'm totally Mr. Ebenezzer "The Grinch" Scrooge this year. I think it's because I don't have children, and Santa can't really bring me an immaculate conception, or even just a boyfriend.
* But never fear, my little chums. I'm happy. Saw "The Princess and the Frog" and it gets two thumbs up from me, because I'm a work-a-holic like Tiana. I'm busting through the Georgia Nicholson series again, and I expect the movie version to arrive tomorrow via Netflix. Made some amazing Barefoot Contessa food last night, and I'm feeling like The Next Food Network Star. I'm pumped for NYE, and my part in promoting oral hygiene. Anyway, more to come. I promise. Someday. But now I'm off to the Club to bust into Ricky's show (otherwise known as Christmas caroling with the little loons who all think I'm their mother, ie., the kids from the branch).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Oh, and By the Way

Tomorrow night is a date with Bachelor #99. And for the record, Bobby Hill is offended that he is described as Bobby Hill, and wants me to make it perfectly clear that we have not gone on a date. I thought it was perfectly clear, but just so you know-- tomorrow night I'm going out with Steve Young.
Not the real Steve Young, of course. Even though I loved him from sixth grade on (which is a long time), he lost some favor in my eyes when he wouldn't grant me an interview with the Daily Universe for the Education Week editions in 2002. Still, you can't hold a grudge against a family man, but remember how LaVell Edwards was gracious enough to answer my questions? So was Michael Ballam and Robert Farrell Smith. And a number of other people. I think my friend Heather helped me out with an interview from Orson Scott Card. So there, Steve Young Big Britches. Anyway, I still love the real guy, and have a cardboard cutout of him in my garage. I don't know where I got it, but it's served me well over the years.
In the mean time, I'm going out with Steve's doppelganger tomorrow night. We're just friends. I asked him. I got to thinking this morning there is no reason to stagnate at 98 (and no offense to whoever 98 was-- is it terrible that I can't remember these things?), and because Steve is moving in just a few days, and he's already on the kissing list, it's all very inevitable. I'm gonna miss the little guy. We're having dinner to toast to the good ole days. Ah, Steve Young the real, and Steve Young the impostor, how I love you both.

I've Got that Happy-Happy Joy-Joy-Joy-Joy Down in My Heart

A few notes.
1) I have now edited a post because I was insensitive. I am apologetic. Don't think I'll make a habit of it, though.
2) Last post=emotional constipation. Yesterday was double poo, and I am happy to have it behind me.
3) Fortunately, my life is super-duper beautiful. Here are some things I love:

* My little friends, the Tafoyas, extended a tender mercy to me by telling me their sister liked my talk at Young Women in Excellence last week. She was a really cool little girl. Actually, all those Haines Ward girls were. Their value projects were amazing! But it made me feel so good last night. I really needed a boost. I can't believe I'd not made the family connection. Also, I love that Goonie Tafoya. He's going to be a good missionary. Love that Adam Tafoya. He's going to be a superb husband to sweet Diane Hanks. I'm excited for them. And I love sweet Curtis Tafoya, because no one else can wear pants like that. Love, love, love them so much.

* I love my supportive, sweet and fun friends. Pam is pretty much the queen of comforting people. I love Daniela for being my phone advocate and pretty much the sweetest person who ever lived. I HATE that I never get to see my little Lou-Lou, because I miss her and her antics. I love Becca for laughing about another friend's convulsing laughter with me (seriously-- the guy looked like he was having a seizure-- we were worried for a bit). I love Jacob Hatch, because he's a really good guy. And I loved the booty contest, and that I got to be the judge.

* To elaborate on the big booty contest, this is what went down: In the hall, we were discussing who had the biggest bum amongst our friends. I voted Rudy. Some one else voted for Garret. I don't know if anyone really thought Jacob Dial's behind was nearly as big as it really is, but he got included in the experiment out of politeness. Now, before you think this is some cruel, cruel game, you ought to know that all three boys are adorable (yes, that includes my cousin, but not in an incestuous way) and are very proud of their backsides. Jeremy W. cringed as he watched me measure the contestants. Surprisingly, they were all within about half an inch of one another in size, with biggest going to Gare, 2nd place to Jacob, and 3rd to Rudy. You would think a woman as prudish as I am would not really enjoy the close proximity to these boys' bums, but the honest truth is all three almost use their butts to greet me. Garret shakes his or does Nacho Libre impersonations for the benefit of anyone who will watch. Rudy frequently dances over (even if we're not in a dancing situation) and I find his booty up in my grill. Jacob just kind of attacks from time to time. Boys are a mystery. Also, these boys are bum-touchers. Garret is a pincher, which is a little uncomfortable, given he is my cousin, and also I'm not a fan of being pinched, but he is funny. Rudy gives me a good-game nearly every time I see him. As a matter of fact, we were once at a baseball game and I said, "Rudy, you just touched my butt!" and he said, "Actually, that's like the third time, only you just now noticed." Jacob exercises restraint in that department, but if one day he makes all of his friends line up like at the end of a sporting event when people typically slap hands, but instead he gives everyone else a little love tap, I'll not be at all surprised. Oh, how I love them. How I love Becca for talking about one chap's ability to fill out his jeans, and saying another guy's bum was his best physical feature. I laughed. I loved Rudy's text, calling for a rematch, insisting that Jacob cheated and that he'd be doing his special butt exercise constantly for the next three months while he's away on his special PJ training (incidentally, the thought of Rudy going away to be put through that kind of awful, awful survival training makes me so sad-- I don't doubt his abilities in the slightest, but I just hate that he has to go through it... last night I started to cry a bit when we talked about it. I went down the hall to blow my nose. On the way, Rudy was good enough to give me a good slap on the backside to take my mind off of it. I love him so much!). The last word goes to Jacob Dial, though, who said, "Only a thin piece of fabric separates you from the majesty that is my butt." Um, yeah.

OK. I'm thinking I had more to say, but after the butt story, I'm having a difficult time concentrating.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Not Necessarily a Retraction, but a Follow-Up OR Eye of the Tiger

Remember how I said we don't often see ourselves as we really are? There's a bit of a problem when other people have the same blurred perception about themselves and about others. My senses are misfiring.
Once upon a time I fancied myself a bit of a journalist. I loved reporting the straight facts and making sure there was no editorializing. But because so many of us writer-types think we're witty, there's this secret longing to be the next Dave Berry or something. Occasionally during my time at a certain news establishment, between editing special sections, a magazine and the arts and culture pages, there'd be a hole to fill, and the editorial board was OK with me spouting off my two cents. The first time I did this, the response was marvelous-- it even got me a temporary boyfriend. Another time, after I'd left the news-- selling out for a "cushy" PR job-- I submitted an editorial that I thought was fun, and still I run into a few people who remember me for my writing. But there was this one time I tried to be funny, and a lot of things went haywire.
It was during the days of the Martha Stewart/ImClone insider trading scandal. Martha was getting skewered by the media and in the court of public opinion before she even went to trial and long before anyone had heard of "Camp Cupcake." And let's be honest-- Martha is not the most popular celebrity-- she's certainly good at what she does, but she comes across as very cold and serious. Well, in an attempt to give readers a laugh, I wrote a satirical piece "defending" Martha. I noted all the good reasons to admire her, including but not limited to her "good business sense" and the fact that she and I share a common cultural heritage. It was salty and over-the-top, and I thought it was pretty good.
Except two days after my piece was published there was a letter to the editor calling for my beheading.
Actually, it wasn't so bad as that, but it did enumerate my "logical fallacies." It's the kind of thing you really have to let roll off your back because either a) the gentleman writing the letter completely missed the humor or b) (and very likely) he just saw it as an opportunity to see his own writing in print. Option b is obviously rather attractive-- otherwise I wouldn't have written a column in the first place.
What did hurt my feelings a bit was later in the day, working on the next day's news in the editor's bay. Print glory doesn't even last a full 24-hours anymore. But I digress. One of the other editors knew the kid who'd written in about my column, and said she heard him celebrating and bragging about how he'd torched me. It made me feel really bad that he'd get that much satisfaction publicly kicking me to the curb, even if he'd missed the point completely. It seemed really mean.
OK. Put that story on hold for just a moment.
Story Number Two goes back to the other night's party at Clark Kent's house. A lot of the kids were playing "Around the World"-- that ping-pong game where you run around the table. I remember playing with Peter and Brett and Chandler one night and having a great time back in college. But I KNEW those guys really well. And at the party, I got overcome with a bad case of shyness. When one of the girls asked me why I didn't play, I told her I was too shy, and I'm not sure she believed me. Because anyone who's had any real-life interaction with me probably wouldn't guess I am. Oh, I don't mind speaking in front of people, or talking to strangers to get a news scoop or making sales calls or even being onstage. But particularly in small groups, it sometimes takes me a while to get comfortable. Even when I fake it.
Anyway, what do these two stories have to do with anything?
I'm in trouble. Big-time.
This morning I cheerfully joked about my weekend, and gave myself a virtual pat on the back for being clever and thinking all is well. I even included stories I wouldn't have originally, only because I'd misunderstood and thought that someone had asked me to. When he said, "Oh, you're always writing about me," I thought "Oops, I probably haven't yet," so I was trying to make up for lost time. Tra-la-la-la-la-la-ooh-la-la.
I was even so silly as to think he'd be flattered that I'd written about him, so I sent a little "Ta-Da, You're Famous" text (not what I said, by the way, nor what I'd even imply, but you know what I mean). And then all hell broke loose.
And by all hell, I mean I got a new one ripped, and now I feel awful. Not even because of what I'd written. Not even because I'm embarrassed that my family (aka my coworkers) saw me crying in my office. Not because I'd been misunderstood. Other reasons.
For example, I feel awful that I hurt some feelings. Not my job to enforce Hammurabi's code on anyone, even in loyalty, and even when that wasn't my intention.
And I feel doubly awful because along with the chastening regarding a specific action, this person said, "It's cool. I've heard you're like that anyways. [SIC]" I didn't know what thing I was supposedly like, so I asked. "Extraordinarily negative," he replied. And that's all he said.
Which brings me back to story no. 2. I'm not sure people understand what I AM really like. I'm guessing they understand their perceptions. I know that's all I've got on anyone else. And not only am I shy, but I'm also pretty fragile. Sometimes I've gotta take charge and power forward through a situation, but I'm afraid I give off the impression that things just roll right off my back. I am strong, I suppose, and I am accomplished, in a way. But mostly I see where I can improve and keep my focus on that. That's not a negative outlook on life, though. That's me seeing realistically just how far from perfect I am, but how grateful I am for this life-- for opportunities to course-correct and to grow and overcome weakness.
You know how from time to time I talk about how I'm trying to cultivate charity in my life? I'm hoping this experience (along with a few others) will help me refine my capacity for love. Charity suffereth long and is kind. Um, check and generally check. Envieth not. Big-time check (which is a quality that came built-in, not one I posses because I cultivated it, but I'm so grateful I can mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice). I'd even say I've got the "rejoiceth in truth" bit down. But that still leaves "is not puffed up"-- because, of course, I am; "seeketh not her own"-- because I'm rather discouraged still when the love I give out is not equal to the love I get, even though it's what you give out that counts; "is not easily provoked"-- this post speaks for itself, "thinketh no evil... believeth, hopeth, beareth and endureth all things"-- well, let's just say I have plenty to work on in this department.
If Bobby Hill were just some dorky guy trying to give me my comeuppance, I'd probably take it on the chin and dismiss the whole thing as a big misunderstanding. But because I actually liked old Bobby and respected him as a person, it wasn't my chin that got hit-- my feet got knocked out from under me, and whether knowing it or not, he went for the jugular, fueled by some meanness that I'd suspect originated from people who I've defended him from privately.
From time to time Reuben cautions me against being so honest and open in such a public forum. I might be wise to follow his counsel, but I like the accountability of it all. So, gentle readers, thank you for your attention. I mean to be reflective, not negative, but I promise to post again when something interesting happens. I get knocked down, but I get up again.

The Illustrious and Illustrated Life of Rachel (Revised)

Note: The following post has been edited, with large chunks of text removed. If you are confused, so am I. But now you know how journalists feel when they obtain documents from the government under the Freedom of Information Act with large chunks of information blacked out or cut from the page.

So remember how much I was looking forward to a quiet, relaxing weekend, with only hope of something exciting enough to write about transpiring? Got my wish. Sort of.

However, before I launch into the gripping tale of my Friday through Sunday, I got to thinking it was time I illustrate my blog a bit. Don't count on it all the time, because uploading pictures is such a pain-- you kind of have to decide what order you want everything in from the beginning and work around them like the first-grade squiggle books of yore, right? But anyway, I thought I'd reward my loyal readers with some pictures to go with my musings this morning.

OK, for the sake of my stories, you should also know that sometimes I forget what people really look like. I'm really great with names, but if I'm trying to think of faces (especially early-on in friendships), I get a little confused, and so I have to cast the stories in my mind with more familiar ones. Also, I've noticed that most of us have very little concept of how unattractive we really are-- that's why it takes you by surprise in the dressing room of a department store when you see yourself in those three-way mirrors and you think, "My word! I'm short, and my bum is much bigger than I thought. Thank goodness no one sees me naked." Anyway, by way of caveat and explanation, you should know that in my mind, I look like Zooey Deschanel:

And of course, I don't look one bit like her. To be fair, I just snapped a camera-phone pic so you can see the difference.

I know, I know. Face like a fist full of worms, right? But I had a hard weekend, and have a busy week ahead (as evidenced by my messy desk in the background). Anyway, the halo of light is not super-imposed. Maybe it's the morning sun streaming in from the east window of my office, or perhaps I'm just that angelic. I'll let you decide. Regardless, the purpose of this example is for readers to understand the pictures included in this post are not necessarily accurate representations of the individuals discussed, though there are some striking similarities (my striking similarity to Zooey is a coordinating fashion sense, I'd say).

But on to the weekend.

Things started out all right. I got home from work and had a message from an acquaintance inviting me to a party. Want to know what he looks like?

Yes, something like that. Anyway, new friend said, "Please, please, please let me get what I want and come over to my party this evening. I know you want to dance the night away, but you really ought to come over and hang out." More or less.

I told this gent I really DID feel like getting my groove on, and if I heard the gypsy call of the music, I might have to stay and trip the light fantastic till the cows came home. However, if the stars aligned just right, I promised I'd make an appearance.

As I got ready for my evening out, making Clark Kent love me for my quick wit, I received another set of text messages, this time from my friend Jacob:

(Jacob is nearly as sexy as John Stamos as Uncle Jesse, except for when he's dropping it like it's hot.)


A boy I think is super
The party was, largely, a smash. It was a very casual gathering, and I got a lot of artistic inspiration whilst there (don't ask me why the muses visit in the middle of a living room full of people, ping pong, and puppies, but they do). The highlights for me included meeting Clark's brother with the nice teeth, and noticing how Bobby Hill always wears the same shirt every time I see him. I actually love that about him a bit. Another grand moment: getting to tattoo Bobby's little brother. He was dressed up like a gangsta, but was missing some critical ink. As you might guess, I have no drawing capabilities whatsoever. Still, I found myself scribing the Pledge of Allegiance in espanol and a Zia Symbol (a symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures) on this chap's arm. Meanwhile, he tried to use the EXACT same line on me his brother once did. Seriously, their father must have coached them once upon a time at a family camp out. "Now Boys," Hank would have said, "The ladies really love it when you talk about how young they look." 2/3 of the brothers I've talked to in this family have accused me of being about 15 years younger than I am, which is a little excessive, but charming all the same.

Speaking of Bobby, I know he's having a read, so if you'll allow me to take a short break from my weekend to pay tribute to him, I'd appreciate it.
Bobby is one of my new favorites. He acquired the nickname one night when we bunked out of FHE for a few minutes so he could get something to eat. I'd been the driver, and I hate the idea of anyone starving, so when he begged for a quick-trip to McDonald's, I obliged. We had a few good laughs over I don't remember what, but the best was that this poor chap had no money. I suppose I could have been extra charitable and offered to buy him some food, but instead I let him order his dollar menu meal and watched him eat in peace, mostly because I was pre-occupied contemplating the play place, and how many dirty diapers have ended up in ball pits throughout America. Anyway, B came to our little bar-height table with his food and two cups of water. I love water, actually. It's the elixir of life. But upon examining his receipt, I noticed he took the large, 25 cent water and gave me the free one. Not that it mattered, but how could I resist telling him (and now the world) just how cheap that was?! It's OK. It's not like he was 99 or 100, so it doesn't matter all that much. Still, that fun evening + his good taste in music (despite his generic Mormon boy love of Dave Matthews) + the age flattering basically =

NEWLY EDITED PARAGRAPH: Instead of making fun of the boy who looks like Bobby, let me just say I like him and I hear music whenever we meet.

Ba-da-da-ba-ba-- I'm Lovin' It
But back to the weekend. You're in luck-- there's not much more to say.
Basically, Saturday I spent part of the day with my parents, who needed to go to Costco and wanted to go to lunch. They now qualify for senior discounts. They love Furr's Cafeteria, and that's where we went. I was pretty much the only person under 60 there. The long and short of it was we had lunch, went to Costco, and then I thought I would die of food poisoning. Ma and Pa were also feeling poorly, but I was the one who got the worst of it. No more Furr's!
Fortunately, by Sunday morning, those symptoms had abated. Unfortunately, I honestly had the world's craziest stiff neck when I woke up. I had to hold my head to get out of bed. It was rather comical, really. The most comfortable position was to keep my head bowed, which would have made me look very pious at church, but would have presented a major problem with say, I don't know, driving. It wasn't that I just couldn't check my blind spot so much as I probably couldn't see over the dashboard. When I felt the stiff neck coming on Saturday, I plugged in my trusty heating pad to sleep on-- I thought some low heat might loosen things up. But sometime in the middle of the night I awoke with a start because my neck was really hot. I held up the heating pad and saw some sparks-- I kid you not. So this weekend included a nice, near-death experience. "Did you hear about Rachel?" "Yeah, what a way to go-- her bed caught on fire, but not with passionate love."
Anyway, I didn't make it to church. Of course, rather than lounge around, taking it easy on the old neck, I fidgeted until I had to get up and do something. Something included cleaning out the kitchen junk drawer and then taking my bed apart to move a different one in. I don't know where I get these hair-brained ideas, but there's no containing the energy, even when I'm down and out. But by about 6 p.m., that rush of energy had left and I was crippled up again and in bed.
Another thing I should mention is that no one seemed to notice I was gone yesterday, with the exception of my sweet little friend Arlinda, who sent plenty of text messages checking on me, which I appreciated. I didn't really expect the world to end without me there, but you know-- I call a lot of the missing people each week to check on them. Around 3 yesterday I heard the text alert on my phone, and my heart was warmed. Ooh! Someone noticed, I thought! Actually, it was Phil, wanting the branch president's phone number.
So I must have retreated to sleep in my bed of pain around 7:30, but woke up again around 10 and couldn't sleep. I checked the time on my phone and noticed that Phil had called about 8. I shot off a quick text. "Hey Phil, sorry I missed your call. I'm laid up at the moment and my sleep schedule is on the fritz, so I was asleep. Did you need something?" His answer: "Nope." So I sent back a message along the lines of, "Then you just missed me and fancied a chat?" Again, "Nope. I just needed another phone number." I guess that's what I get for being information, but I'm sorry Phil, 411 is closed!
And that, my friends, is what I did this weekend. Otherwise known as very little.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Weekend Weekend Weekend Weekend Weekend Weekend Weekend

Oops? Why I am I still at the office then?
In a few minutes I'll be home-again, home-again, jiggity-jig, to do some more decorating and paint my toenails and trip the light fantastic.
My plans for the weekend are minimal, and I'm SOOO happy about that. I just need to do something interesting enough to write about later, but I'll let the muses visit me. They can stop by while I fold laundry or watch a movie or practice the piano (which is actually a painful task at the moment, because I managed a pretty intense glue-gun burn last night-- even typing is not that fun). I have nothing to do! Nothing to do! Nothing to do! And my friends, that's said with exuberance, not in a depressed, emo voice. I would do cartwheels, but I don't know how and my office is rather small. So instead I think I'll finally bust out "Carmen Electra's Fit to Strip" workout video instead. I mean, if you're gonna work out anyway, you might as well have a laugh, right?
Know what else I'm gonna do? In anticipation of Netflix sending me "Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging" in a couple of weeks (I've been waiting AGES for this movie, because the Georgia Nicolson books are my favorite), I'm rereading the book (Originally titled A, T, and "full-frontal snogging") and having the greatest laugh. My favorite thing so far-- when Georgia finds her father's masonic apron and thinks he's a transvestite. Oh! Fall off the chair laughing!
Perhaps I'll also hit Albertsons because I collected enough of those blasted stickers to get a wok and a grill pan. It's not that I need pots and pans-- I just LOVE putting the stickers in the little book. I'm savvy enough to not open credit cards, but get me collecting stamps and stickers for a store and I'm a goner.
Anyway-- that is my upcoming weekend. Relax, drink herbal tea, deck some halls, hang mistletoe from every overhead surface of my home, finish up the decorating and wrapping brouhaha, visit some peeps, party like it's 1999, talk to my boyfriend(s), maybe catch a movie. Ooh! Luxury. The jetted tub calls. Happy Friday!

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's about to get Personal

Yes. That's right. I'm gonna write about underpinnings. And other things adding to the frustration that is my life. But first, brassieres.
Here's the deal. If you are a man, you have no idea how difficult it is to find a good bra. If you are a woman, you surely must feel my pain.
For my male readers, let me give you the run-down. While every woman has her own particular preferences, fit is the most important. No one wants weird bulging where there shouldn't be bulges. No one wants to constantly pull on bra straps to keep them up. No one wants their circulation cut off. Nobody wants weirdly-shaped boobs, like that girl in my Math Analysis class had junior year (she's the one who tried to steal my pseudo boyfriend, and my friend Bre used to make fun of the girl's boobs, because they were kind of triangular-- think Madonna cones with a downward slope). Fashions may change from time to time, but a good bra is important. Without the right one, you start looking like a granny, or just lumpy and frumpy. No thanks.
The process of bra shopping is so stressful that in lingerie stores and department stores, there are "certified fit experts," who are women in charge of feeling you up and telling you that you and your boobs are second-class. In dressing rooms throughout the women's departments of any major chain, there are little signs that read "Are you one of the 7 out of every 10 women not wearing the correct sized bra?" They play on your fear, my friends, driving you downstairs to succumb to the humiliation of having some stranger wrap a measuring tape around you, and getting way too close for comfort. If you thought I hated going to the doctor for an annual breast exam, this is way worse. There is no privacy, and inevitably the lady tells you that you've been wearing the wrong bra for years and that you need to go up two cup sizes, which is pretty much the stupidest thing you've ever heard. Yeah, maybe if I get some surgery to go with that new bra, sister.
Anyway, after going through all the humiliation, you then have to pay through the nose for something good. But women will pay. Why? To get the heck out of the bra section of the store as fast as possible. We find something we like, buy it in bulk, and hope to never see the measuring-tape lady again.
Oh, there are some strange women who actually ENJOY shopping for lingerie. Of course, these are the girls who used to run around naked in the locker room after P.E. who grew up to wear lingerie in public or for a profession. Those women are weird. Or possibly they are the 3 out of 10 women who DO wear the right sized bra and like to flaunt their knowledge and their gym-toned booties. I don't know. I avoid those women. I do not want to be friends with them.
For the last eight years or so, I've been able to avoid most of the brassiere-shopping stress by sticking to one particular brand and style. I'm not so sure other people would love it like I do, but it is perfect for me. It's seamless. It's feminine. It's very plain and that works for me. But wouldn't you know-- the greedy people who manufacture it (Cabernet is the brand, but heck if I can find any company information to write a letter of protest) have decided to discontinue the style. They say they are improving upon it. So when I got word of this a few months ago, I bought out all of the said bras in my size at both Albuquerque Dillards stores (Macy's does not carry them anymore). While I complained to a saleslady about my trauma, she said, "Did you know that you can go up a cup size and down a measurement to get the same fit?" Really? I was intrigued. But I was also poor, and buying two hit the wallet hard enough at the time.
This weekend, I had a few extra moments, and thought I'd go see what the "new and improved" version of my favorite bra looked like.
Now, I'm going to be completely honest. If you live in Albuquerque, the very WORST PLACE YOU COULD EVER SHOP FOR A BRA IS DILLARDS AT WINROCK. Dillards at Winrock. Dillards at Winrock! BOO!
At this particular establishment, you not only have to go through the above-mentioned trauma, but you are forced to work with the most obnoxious sales staff EVER.
Now, I'm sure there are some nice ladies who work in that department. I just never deal with them. I'd pretty much rather listen to fingernails on a chalkboard than go into Dillards for a bra, but they are the only ones who sell what I want.
One particularly offensive lady feels it is her duty to comment and "compliment" every purchase. Once I stood in line while Offensive Lady #1 was training Offensive Lady #2 on the register. If OL#1 is the only person in the department, I won't shop there. OL#1 was telling a gal in front of me how "cute" everything she had was. Then she'd wave it around for #2 to see. I remember thinking, "Hmm... that would make me uncomfortable." Then #1 started talking about what a lucky man the customer's husband was. At that point, I looked up at the customer, who was about 70 years old. Ew. I mean, more power to her, but I think maybe for everyone's sake, she should shop online.
Anyway, I went up to the counter to pay for my stuff, and #1 started talking about how pretty the bra was. Um, thanks? No one sees it but me. But then she started trying to up-sale me on a different brand. I was honest with her-- I'd never tried that brand because it didn't come in white, so I wasn't interested. #1 couldn't leave well enough alone, but started to pry. "Why do you only wear white? Are you a Mormon?" Before I could answer #2 said, "Mormons are weird. Don't they wear funny underwear?" #1 then said, "Yes, actually they do. My uncle is a Mormon Bishop in the Philippines. I once saw him in it and I laughed and laughed." Then turning to me, "So you ARE a Mormon, right?" And I said, "Yes, I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." And #2 said, "So do you wear that crazy underwear?"
SERIOUSLY? Does anyone else find this question more than a little rude?
But I said yes, I wear special undergarments, which are white, which is why I prefer white bras. All this time, I kept swiping my debit card, hoping the transaction would be over as soon as possible. Where was the ACLU when I needed them? I thought about complaining to the management, but I just wanted out of there, pronto.
Well, this Saturday, I'm happy to say, was not nearly as traumatic, though it was still not what you'd call a good day at Dillards.
When I walked in, I scanned for #1 and #2, and breathed a sigh of relief as only old ladies in pajamas were manning the department. I went to the display, and was delighted to see so many of my former favorites still out and about. When a new saleslady came by (#3, we'll call her), I asked if these were still discontinued. She said yes, they are just selling off the last of their inventory. I asked about the new version of the bra, and she pointed out something that only comes in nude.
When I told her I really prefer white, she didn't seem to understand me. Would I like black?
No, #3. White.
Then I asked her about what #1 had said about adjusting sizes to see if there was something comparable that would work. But that was all the license #3 needed, I guess, to whip out that tape measure and start touching away.
First, she said, "What size bra do you wear normally?" I told her. "No, you're measuring at a ___." What? No possible way. I told her that maybe it would help if I took my jacket off first. Hello, McFly! But she still was convinced that I was wearing the wrong size, and started pinching the skin on the side of my rib cage, telling me we needed to move that forward. Um, excuse me lady, but even though I'm a little chubby, that is one area of my body where there is nothing pinchable. And how she expected a bra three sizes too big to move the unpinchable skin 6 inches forward was a mystery.
I went back to the rack. I grabbed the three bras in white, in the so-called comparable size, put them on the counter and told her I was ready to go. She insulted me further saying not to worry-- they'd stretch out. Who does she think I am? Dolly Parton? Then I said I wish they lasted better, as expensive as they are. The "new and improved model" besides being the wrong color, is also $20 more. I did ask if she knew of any plans to introduce white for people who prefer it, and she said no, that I was the only customer she's ever had who asked for it.
I'm guessing it's only because everyone else has wised-up and no longer tries to shop at stupid Winrock Dillards. I'm not going back.

Friday, December 4, 2009

And Another Thing, Music-Wise

Wanna hear something fantastic this weekend? Go see my other local favorite, Le Chat Lunatique. Here's Dan Mayfield's story from the Venue:

ABQJOURNAL VENUE: Lunatique covers Abdul with a twist

Now I've just got to figure out how to squeeze in this show along with Stake Conference, a surprise party for a certain someone who I doubt reads this, but you just can't be too careful, and getting my house all decorated up for some guests who'll be in town shortly.

Prepare to be Jealous

Oh! My life is so funny! I can barely stand it! I woke up laughing and pretty much haven't stopped all morning.
So what is bringing me so much delight?
Well, actually, it started last night. I went to a Relief Society activity with my mom at the Valencia Ward (it's taking everything I have to not call it Enrichment, by the way). There was a white-elephant gift exchange. I actually didn't even have to supply my own gift. My mom found these UGLY soup mugs in the top of her closet, and she had no idea where they came from. They still had a TJ Maxx tag on them, so we suspect we weren't re-gifting. Anyway, I just had to wrap those puppies up, and guess who had the most sought-after gift of the night? Actually, it wasn't me. Someone had "Apples to Apples Jr." and some other board games. But plenty of ladies DID love those ugly mugs, and they got stolen so many times! It was fantastic. My mom or possibly Pam Ahlgrim ended up with arguably the worst gifts (no offense to the sisters who brought them). Mom got these horrible "Friendship" mugs (what's up with the mugs already-- for people who don't drink coffee, the Mormons sure like to pass the mugs around) that said things like "Best friends forever." Very 1980s kind of things, like you would have expected Sally Struthers to drink out of on "9 to 5." Oh! They were so awful! What made them so particularly funny was that they were encrusted with old, old dust. Not dust you just wipe off. Dust that's gotten wet or something, and then leaves this blackened residue at the bottom of the cup. They were AWFUL! I think Pam ended up with a half-used bottle of Skin-so-Soft. Ew, ew, ew! Nothing says "Merry Christmas, I'm a Cheapskate" like half-used toiletries. But it was super funny.
I actually ended up with a real fancy-pants prize. Not only did I receive some scented holiday soap (haven't smelled it yet, but at least the packaging was cute-- though I'm really not one of those girls obsessed with lotions and potions), but also I got a really *classy* pair of his-and-her watches. They were too, too funny. I said something about giving the man-watch to my future husband, so I think that's why no one stole the present from me (also, I was kind of hiding it under my chair the whole time because I didn't want the Avon-castoffs). Anyway, I've already actually promised the watch to my friend Josh, and when he visits in a few weeks, I'm going to parade him around whilst we wear our matching watches. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than stirring up the gossip in the Valencia Ward. Josh is supposed to get me a ring for Christmas. A ring-pop, that is. I told him I want a big rock. Way to deliver, moneybags. Hahahaha!
But I'm guessing what you're thinking right now-- funny, but not THAT funny. Am I right? Allow me to go on convincing you.
The next brilliant, happy and fun thing was waking up this morning. I had the BEST dreams ever. If you sleep on your side like I do, maybe you've had the beautiful opportunity to have a hand-holding dream. I seem to have them most often when my hand is kind of smashed under my head instead of under my pillow. The pressure on my hand fools my brain into dreaming about holding hands with someone. And it's not something you can replicate. It just happens. I LOVE hand-holding dreams! In my dream, I was walking around with this bloke, and I think I wanted him to hold my hand, so I awkwardly kept bumping into him and swinging my left arm to give him the hint. He laughed because I was being such a dork, but then we walked through the Albuquerque Bio Park hand in hand. And then I had to go talk to Morrissey, because he was playing a concert at some big arena, but throwing a fit because he hates NM, and I had to calm him down. But it was great. I woke up to my alarm and thought, "Oh no! It was just getting good!" but I noticed my hand was asleep, and I was super pleased.
Then on the way to work, I listened to Jackie, Tony and Donnie on the Peak. They were calling out the name of the "You Shop with our Money" person who had to call back within 10 minutes, but they wasted a ton of time discussing how to pronounce "Nicole Midgett." HAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHA! She didn't call back, by the way. Poor Nicole. I really did want to know if she pronounced it like the less-than-politically-correct term used to legitimately describe at least three men I've been out with. Something about it set me off laughing like a hyena, and I've not been able to stop.
Now, if you are looking for a more accessible laugh that doesn't have the "guess you had to be there" vibe, check out my friend Brecken's post. You'll be glad you did. Nothing like a good birthday-suit story to start off the day just right.
Or, if you have a little more time, have a look at this. Animal reminds me so much of Brennan Divett.
And speaking of the Divetts, Avenge Apollo is playing tonight. Looking for something to do? They've got an album-launch party at Amped Performance Space tonight. Tickets are $5 and all proceeds go to the Roadrunner Food Bank. I don't know if I'm gonna be able to make it, because I've got some other stuff going on, but you won't be disappointed in their show. Especially if they play "Apologies," which is my all-time favorite. Not so funny, but uber-cool. Love, love people with social causes.
OK. I'm off to save the insulation world. If you see me dancing around like a maniac somewhere this weekend, it's just because life is sweet. And I'm probably still laughing about something.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My Kids are Cuter than Your Kids

No, I don't have children. I'm getting cooler with children all the time, but they still frighten me. This is why I love having nieces-- not only do I have cute little people to buy fun toys and clothes for (I heart Fancy Nancy so much!), but I also don't have to participate in the "Cutest Kid at Church" contests. No, these are not official, but I've noticed it gets worse than a beauty pageant some weeks. There are a lot of cute babies out there, but I'm afraid my future darlings Jemima and Reagan and Kennedy and Belle and Sebastian and Desmond and Molly or whoever I have will probably be wearing do-rags instead of bows and baseball caps. And I'm hoping that if people want to give me things at a baby shower, they'll give my kid a pair of baby Converse, because let's be honest-- I'll never be able to afford them.
Still, this would not be a Mormon Girl blog without occasional pictures of my cute little girls, even though technically they aren't mine. So just to make you happy, and not go into shock without a little visual relief from my endless rambling, here are two of the world's cutest little girls: I've decided to start calling Zoey "ZoZo the Magic Queen" after that designer I like, because I'm afraid "Zozobra" might prove emotionally harmful when they burn Old Man Gloom every year.

Turkey #1 above, and Baby Turkey Bum #2 below. Oh! Aunt Rachel! What great shirts! Though Z's tutu her mother Skye made really is what sets that outfit apart.

And my personal fav:

Everyone knows Sego girls are the best kissers.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On the way Out the Door...

I must say the following things:
* This month is going to be a good one. How do I know? Because I said "Rabbit Rabbit" as soon as I got up this morning, and that brings good luck when said on the first day of the month-- before anything else.
* I am excited for the new year, because I've got some great calendars already. My room will showcase this year's Mucha calendar, because it's tradition, and nothing is quite as inspiring as gazing at the work of one's favorite artist every day. My guests will be treated to the wit and whimsy of my new "ZoZo the Magic Queen" calendar, which I'm positively in love with. I know that I sound like an advertisement right now, but I'm obsessed with ZoZo. There's an awesome article about her in this issue of "Where Women Create" and you can get her merch at local places like Papers! and Cabin and Cottage. Both calendars are part of that little bit of luxury that I can't seem to live without-- the pictures are like oil in the cogs and wheels of my brain. Insulation and corporate America leave my creative parts kind of rusty. I am refreshed. I am a creativity machine.
* I had a successful conversation COMPLETELY IN POLISH this afternoon! It was awesome, because I'm so, so out of practice, but it made me very happy.
* This evening (within minutes, in fact) I am going to go see my nieces. I love them. I love their mother. I love their father especially. Last night Ben was at my house using the table saw (that sounds super hardcore, right? Not my saw, but it lives with me) and the poor guy nearly cut his finger off. His response to searing pain? He came into my house, holding his hand and said, "Um, Rachel, I just cut my finger with a saw, and I'm bleeding." How bad was it, I wanted to know. "Oh, crap. It doesn't hurt now, but I bet it will tomorrow. Thank goodness it isn't my trigger finger." Spoken like a true hunter.
* Had such a good time with my new friend Kristen last night. Her poop story was really, really funny. Plus, she got Jacob to "drop it like it's hot" so many times. She loves fiber like J and I do. I feel like it's the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Also, talked to my friend Chad today. On his own, he made mention of one of my favorite fiber stories-- the time he ate a ton of chocolate bran muffins at my apartment when he was in town interviewing for a residency. Poor Chad. I love him, and I love his new baby!
* My horoscope today makes me happy-- in the newspaper it said something about how I would be able to read relationship potential accurately. If that's the case, one of my friends is in big trouble! I hope for his sake, he's not, but I also only hope I'm right to a mild extent because that would mean I've got some good things on the horizon. I was going to copy and paste it from the Albuquerque Journal, but it read a little differently there--

Today is potentially very romantic, as the Moon and Venus enliven your sex life. If you open up your heart, you'll be pleasantly surprised. The Bull is slow to fall in love, but tends to be very loyal and committed, which makes it important for you to choose your partners wisely. You feel more intense, especially from the standpoint of the psychological motivations and behavior patterns involved.

Um, sure. I'm guessing my sex life WON'T be enlivened, as I don't have one. But I'm all about being pleasantly surprised. Or, um, not that surprised because I am in the relationship know. Regardless, this bodes well for December and beyond. I've got my eye on the "beyond" tonight.