Sunday, August 29, 2010

Greetings From Middle America

So my mom and I DID end up going to Milwaukee for cousin's wedding. We've had an excellent trip, and I'd like to tell you everything about it, but it's still a bit of a blur. Normally I wouldn't blog from abroad, but I'm trying to kill 17 minutes to be able to do some online check-in. So here have been a few highlights from the trip:
* Seeing lots and lots of cousins, including some I've never met before (a picture of me with my cousin Vince Vaughn to follow when I get back to a scanner)
* Going to Mass. Twice. Haha! I asked Pam if that would get me off the hook for missing our church, and she said yes. Once was at St. Josephat's Basilica, which is where my great-grandparents and many aunts and uncles were married.
* Going to the cemetery and taking rubbings of the gravestones.
* Finding some wicked-cool things for the boutique at antique stores.
* Eating Kopp's frozen custard
* Eating Polish food! Woo hoo!
* Shopping at H&M. I know, I know. The last time I was in one was actually in Athens, and Summer, Jim and Julia probably wanted to kill me, but there aren't any around in NM. I heart H&M!!
* Receiving a surprise phone call from Louise this morning... FROM THE PHILLIP INES!

Anyway, it has been wonderful. My two sweet aunts, Sophie and Katie, are about the most wonderful ladies in the world, and we've driven all over. I'm pretty sure they'll be pretty relieved that they'll finally be able to rest after a busy long weekend.

So next, back to NM to see my long-lost Pam, and even longer-lost Josh (who will be getting lost again soon, unfortunately). Details to follow. Na razie!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Woo-hoo/Oh, Boo

Like sands of the hourglass, here is today's list of pros and cons, points and counterpoints, and all that jazz:

Myka brought over a big bag of plastic bottles for me to cut up.

Not only was the dress I planned to order out of stock, but the mighty cool necklace was as well.

I love Jason Bateman.

I'd rather watch "Arrested Development" (AGAIN) than clean my house.

"The Whole Wide World," starring Vincent D'Onofrio and Renee Zellweger

Umm... actually, I really can't think of anything else legitimate to complain about. My "hiss" was the only real one, and it actually saves me money, right?

Bring on the weekend!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

All About Steve OR, A Return to My Celebrity Gossip Days

You guys have heard me talk about my friend Stephen Petty before, right? Steve is one of the most amazing men I know-- he's handsome and kind, smart and ambitious. We met our freshman year at BYU, and I thought he was the cutest guy ever. We actually didn't talk until one night after a group of mutual friends all went to see a Comedy Sportz show at the old Wrapsody or whatever it was called at the time (all Eddie McClelland fans have fond memories of this place, which was later Muse Music). I noticed he touched his belt all the time. I remember one of the first things I ever heard him say was that when he got married, he only wanted his wife to pack a bikini and nothing else for the honeymoon.
Well, our schooling went on. We had a Book of Mormon class together and studied for Brother Johnson's super-easy tests. We exchanged a couple letters while he was on his mission-- Venezuela, Caracas, if I remember correctly. When he got back, he'd drop in for a few parties at my house, and occasionally we'd hit a play. I actually remember that we went to see a terribly boring opera together, and he complained the whole time.
One of the sweetest things Petty ever did for me was take me to BYU Homecoming my senior year. I'd never been asked, and my fairy godmother (aka our friend Hilary) told him. I'd gone to bed early and my roommate Vanessa knocked on my door. I think I yelled, "I'm asleep," but she told me to open the door and then threw a paper airplane at me that read "Will you go to homecoming with me?" in addition to having some tears and scribbles related to some homework he'd been doing. He took me out to the nicest dinner, we danced at the beautiful Union Station, and he told me about how he hated the thought of socialized medicine (did I mention that today he is an oral surgeon?). It was a most entertaining evening, and a picture of the two of us still graces the bar between my kitchen and living room. Petty is a super friend.
Even years later, we still cared about what was going on in one another's lives. Back before we grew up and got really busy, we'd call every few weeks. My favorite was that he'd often just call and say "I love you, and just wanted you to know." Those calls always came at the best times.
But if you think this post is going to be all sentimental, you are wrong, because at this precise moment, I'm really having a (good-natured) laugh at his expense.
So back when I worked for Excel, I managed to get the world's worst film ("Down and Derby") a spot on the Today Show. That's right, I'm the PR queen. Knowing my love for Matt Lauer and needing someone there for quality control, my boss sent me to babysit the exec who was to appear on the 30-second spot. It was right before Christmas, and I was to be in NYC for less than 24 hours, but I'd arranged to meet up with Steve for dinner in the city.
We had a great time, ate at this really hip place, and just enjoyed ourselves immensely as we caught up. And he said the weirdest thing:

Steve: So it's too bad you didn't fly in last night. I would have taken you to the movies with me.
Rachel: And why would I go all the way to New York to see a movie I could see in Salt Lake?
Steve: Because it was "Batman Begins," and I went with Rachael McAdams.
Rachel: Oh, Petty, what kind of fool do you take me for? I know she's dating Ryan Gosling.
Steve: Well, that's how I know her. Through Ryan. He went too.

So apparently, Ryan and Steve met through their sisters, and then got to be friends rebuilding a Buddhist temple in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina (believe me, Steve does this kind of stuff all the time-- like when he trekked through India to perform minor surgeries in villages over a summer off). Still, I couldn't help but laugh a bit about the friendship. It seemed like such a weird thing to talk about. But I'm happy to report that while Steve and I don't hang out like we used to, he and Ryan are still buddies.
I don't hear from Steve very much anymore (again, he REALLY is a busy, busy man), but occasionally we talk. He called sometime between our birthdays back in May. I jokingly asked him how Ryan was.

Steve: Oh, he's fine. But I'm a little mad, because the paparazzi took a picture of us together the other day. We'd just been to the gym. Ryan took a shower, but we were just going to Home Depot afterwards, so I didn't bother. And I LOOKED LIKE CRAP!

Anyway, don't ask me why I thought this was the funniest story ever, or even what possessed me to do a quick Google Image Search today, but I'm glad I did.
Steve Petty, wherever you're jet-setting off to today, I want you to know that I love you and think you look adorable in your Columbia shorts. I know I'm in big trouble, but call me!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Stuff to be Happy About

1. Little Jake is engaged. He is crazy, but I love him, and I'm so happy for him and can't wait to get to know Hilari better.
2. My mom bought an antique dress form a couple of weeks ago, and she put her wedding dress on it. It's in the guest room (aka my old bedroom) and I love walking in there just to look at it in all its 1970s glory.
3. I rediscovered the joy of painted fingernails this weekend. Right now mine are kind of an iridescent red-pink. They look very 1940s, and I love them. They may stay this color for a while.
4. I saw two very lame movies this weekend whilst working on the lingerie (only 10 more pieces to go, thank goodness-- that is, until I get up the gumption for another round... it's all turning out pretty well). One was "Henry Poole is Here" and the other was "Picture This." Luke Wilson just rubs his face in his hands a lot in the former, and thinking an Ashley Tisdale flick would be worth the Netflix space in the case of the latter was completely my fault. I'm just biding my time till "Gossip Girl Season 3" releases.
5. Went dancing Friday. It was such a pleasure to dance with folks who are good at it!
6. My great pal Daniel Hall was baptized last night, and it was incredible.
7. Sokphal is back in the country! I'm stoked. Lou is about to leave the country! I'm also stoked (but not because I wanna get rid of Lou-- I'm just happy for her to start her Peace Corps engagement).
8. Pam will be back in just a couple of weeks, which is an immense relief. The other night, I kept waking up and saying "I just don't have any friends." Obviously, this isn't true, but life will be way better when Pammy is back to shop with me.

Monday, August 9, 2010

In Love

Today I am in love with life. I think that explains why I've been having such a hard time concentrating on paperwork. I've got all the symptoms of twitterpation, but no one man to focus it on. Evidence: I can't sleep. I find myself day-dreaming. I float around, singing show-tunes. I know. Should have left it at day-dreaming.
It's just that I have such a fun life! Creating makes me so happy. This weekend, I made Parisian Macarons, which were a ton of trouble, but so delicious. I couldn't believe they turned out, but they're awesome! I won't likely be making them again anytime VERY soon, grant you, but I'm so glad I found success with these intimidating little cookies.
Also, the lingerie is coming along. I've got some good embellishment ideas I'm anxious to try... as soon as I get moment. I have to laugh-- my living room looks like a brothel closet right now, with silky slips slung over anything that will stand still.
But back to work. The sooner I get all the stuff I HAVE to do finished, the sooner I can get back to my true love-- creation!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

If You Can't Sleep

I am a sympathetic person.

Last night I talked to my friend Josh on the phone, about midnight his time. He's been suffering from insomnia. I didn't know it was contagious, and I didn't know you could contract over cell-phone, but I did.

So last night while I tossed and turned, tried sleeping on the couch, tried sleeping in my chair, and ended up sleeping upside down on my bed (don't ask me why this helped-- it still took a lot of time, and I ended up drawing all over myself with a pen out of boredom... I had some nice blue tats on my feet this morning, pre-shower), I started thinking about things that make me happy. There are just so many wonderful things in life one forgets about, getting caught up in the every-day rigmarole. So, I thought I'd share part of my list:

* My freshman year at the Brigham, I lived in the dorms, and there was a tunnel leading to Helaman Halls. One day, the rain poured down and filled the tunnel with about two and a half feet of water. As I approached, there was a group of boys shuttling girls two and fro via piggyback. At first I declined the offer for a "ride," but one of the boys scooped me up, and delivered me safe and dry to the other side. It was such a funny and small thing, but it still brings a smile to my face.

* One of my favorite trips of all time was going to Prague with Andrew. By the way, did I mention he's engaged? I'm SO happy for him. In case you've been living in a cave, Andrew is a boy I've hero-worshipped for about seven years now. I've always positively loved him, but in a he's-at-the-top-of-a-pedestal way. I think he's the coolest. So my second summer in Poland, we did a lot of fun things together. We shared nalesniki at a great cafe in Lublin. He let me give him a mud-mask (as did all the other people in our group). We'd sit out on my balcony for hours, not really talking, but just being there, while I'd contemplate how my carefree days were slipping away, but I just really savored it. Anyway, we took a weekend trip to Prague, and I remember having dinner with him outside the Palac Nauki i Kultury in Warsaw. The Poles hate the building, a "gift" from the Russians. But we sat in its shadows, eating bread and fruit and drinking juice, waiting for our train to Prague.

While in Prague, we walked across the Charles Bridge a dozen times, and talked about the weirdest things. While we were at breakfast each day at our hotel, I'd speculate that the other people around us assumed we were married, and I loved it.

* Sometimes I think about my old neighbor, Peter McKellar. I'd go over to his apartment and we'd play 'Round the World Ping-Pong, and then he'd sit us down and read to us from his favorite book, "Letters from a Nut." Peter could barely breathe, he'd laugh so hard. I loved laughing with our friends.

* One of the best things to ever happen at my apartment was watching my friends Nate and Kari right after Nate got back from his mission. We'd all gone to our friend Eddie's concert, and Sean bought us ice cream because he'd finally kissed his girlfriend Heather. I watched N & K sit shyly next to my Christmas tree as Kari played Sarah Mclachlan's "Song for a Winter's Night" over and over again on my stereo. I still think of them (and now their two daughters!) every time I hear that song.

* Speaking of Christmas lights, sometimes I look back to the evenings looking out my dorm-room window, watching the snow fall softly in the glow of the colored lights Brittany and I strung for a little pre-finals festivity. I loved to watch the lights and the snow as my friend Eric Otto and I talked on the phone late into the night.

* Speaking of Sean (up a paragraph or two), sometimes I just think about us grocery shopping together. I love Sean McKissick and always will (in a completely appropriate way). Sometimes I marvel that if I'd not been friends with his girlfriend Heather, I might not have ever had my college bestie.

* Speaking of best friends, sometimes I think about Sokphal, and the moment I knew she'd be my friend for life. It had been a snowy day, and I'd walked carefully up to campus, avoiding the ice. Our professor was snowed in on the mountain where he lived and couldn't make it to class, so a group of us decided to walk to the library. I manage the trip and fall head over heels on the only DRY spot of ground I'd encountered that day. Sokphal laughed and laughed. And I laughed too.

Surely there is more, but now I'm off to shop with Jetaya. It'll remind me of shopping with Pam, my No. 1 enabler. I love shopping with my girls. Like the time Vanessa and I went to Target after we'd both had the crappiest of days. Oh, I have a good life! And great friends. So I'm almost glad I didn't sleep so I could think about them last night.

PS. Another one of my all-time best nights was drinking sparkling cider with Josh in a vacant field on New Year's Eve. I love him and am thankful for him too!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Thoughts from the Office on a Friday Night

It's hot in my little office tonight, as it often is in the summer. It's the one room in my parents' house that never cools off and never warms up in the winter. It's 6 p.m., and I sit here typing because... well, honestly, because my brain misfired today, and I found myself not getting anything done! And so, as I wait for one of my friends to fly in from Germany (I'm picking her up from the airport, but her flight is rather delayed), I half-heartedly invoice to make up for all the wasted time, but my head's still not in it. Hence...
Here are some things I've been thinking about today:

* If I'd not been friends with Heather D. in the newsroom, I might have never become acquainted with my college best friend, who was her boyfriend, briefly (Black-widow theorists, calm yourselves-- I had nothing to do with the breakup).
* I really need to go to Hobby Lobby to buy some more Kelly Green RIT for the slips I dyed last night that turned out spotty.
* Should I really try to overcome the crowds and shop the tax-free weekend? And with what money?
* I need an Rx refill (I heart you, birth control!) but I don't want to go to Wal-Mart.
* Will I get Tresann and Justin their baby gift before little Miss Ellie Mae, born today, outgrows it? (Please note, my birth-control comment is not related to the Dawson baby. I love babies, and my skin loves Tri-Sprintec.)
* It's a bit of a shame that I didn't get to see my sister's orange hair before she fixed it.

Now, admit it-- wouldn't you find such thoughts interesting enough to distract from paperwork?

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Comedy of Errors-- Otherwise Known as My Life

So one of my distant cousins is getting married this month. I planned to go. I invited my aunt to come along, but she couldn't make it. My dad offered to go, but then decided my mother should come with me because she's the actual blood relative. My sister shilly-shallied about whether she could make it or not (technically, she's never committed one way or the other, but I figured I'd just book the flights without her and she could join up later if she decided to ever you-know-what or get off the pot). But today, my mom said, "Oh, maybe we should just go to Wisconsin some other time." Since the bride needed an accurate head count for the caterers, I sent her a facebook message telling her we couldn't make it (there were actually logistical reasons for our regrets-- not just because we suddenly decided to not go). But then my dad gave my mom a guilt trip, so she said she would. I told her I already felt like a nincompoop telling cousin Chelsea I'd make it, but then backing out, so I didn't want to change our minds again. Then I realized I'd been looking at the wrong date anyway. The long and the short of it is I won't be seeing Milwaukee anytime soon. Boo!
But the mishaps don't end there. I'm always getting in a pickle when it comes to communication in general. In the case of my family, it wasn't quite enough solid information being passed back and forth. Yesterday, I got myself in a mire because of too much communication. My friend Rudy is in charge of FHE, and I sent him a text to find out what was going down for this week's activity. It wasn't mere curiosity that motivated my call-- oh, no! I planned to invite a friend to come along, and wanted to be able to impart accurate information during a later phone call. Rudy, unfortunately, was sick, and had yet to plan an activity. My automatic (and sincere) response to hearing he was under the weather?? "Oh, is there anything you need?" What can I say? It's the Relief Society President in me. He texted back, "no, I'm ok." That would have been fine, but another text came in moments later reading, "Could you plan FHE?" And what could I say but yes, because I'd dug that pit myself. Well, no bother, I thought. I'll just have my friend help me with the activity. But guess who has to work tonight? If you guessed me, you're actually wrong (though I should be), but if you had the foresight to understand how ironic my life is, you'd guess the boy I invited. Boo again!
Of course, not all my life is this back-and-forth of confusion. Some of it is just plain funny. My favorite quotation this weekend: Daniella saying, "Can I just judge righteously for a moment?" It was fantastic! Maybe that should be my new catch-phrase. Love ya, D!
Anyway, I'm off to try to come up with a good activity. I hope I wasn't supposed to provide refreshments. Oh no! It's just a matter of time before all the FHE kids start judging ME (righteously, of course).