Monday, July 25, 2011


I was at the family reunion this weekend, and I'm pooped! The following items really are unconnected, except that they're all going on in my brain at the moment. More structure and sass coming to you soon. But in the meantime,

1. Highlight of the family reunion: The Birthday After-Party. Yesterday was my little sister's 26th birthday, and because it always happens at the cabin amidst the hustle and bustle of Pioneer Day and a bunch of crazy Sego family antics, I wanted to make it special. I give it a 6 out of 10. The cake was great, the color scheme inspired (robin's egg blue and fuchsia), and the company was superb. I brought a small helium tank with me and festooned the porch with blue and pink balloons (which my cousin's husband was good enough to point out that it looked like we were announcing a pregnancy, but still), some nylon netting bunting and mason jar twinkle lights. It's kind of tough making a wrap-around porch at a rustic cabin look girly, and I think we really needed more oomph, but my budget was stretched to the limit (I blame you, greedy folks from PNM!!!). So I'd say I got an A for effort, but I wish it had been a touch more glamorous. Still, Ashley seemed to enjoy herself, and after a million Segos left the cabin, we had a little casual get-together that made everyone's night. Picture it: a hodgepodge of generations, drinking sparkling cider out of plastic wine glasses (if you're not Mormon, you may never understand why such frivolity never gets old-- but non-alcoholic bubbly in cheap glasses makes you feel festive in a frat-party sort of way), and singing a bizarre array of music. We decided we were a cross between the Brady Bunch, the Osmonds and the Von Trapps (the latter because we were in the mountains, not so much because of our collective musical abilities). It started out with me singing Elvis (this time went much better than the embarrassing talent show) and Garret's performance of "There's a Tear in my Beer." Then we tried drinking songs (again, higgledy-piggledy and frou-fraw) as I taught the fam "Wild Irish Rover." We went through a lot of 1960s and 70s country for the older crowd, and my dad lost interest when my cousin Curtis (the generational midpoint-- old enough to be my dad but young enough to be a thousand times cooler) started us in on a Queen medley, but it was MAGICAL. I'm not sure the people in tents down the hill appreciated it, but I have a feeling this will become a standing tradition.

2. Mumsy is creating a cookbook for this year's Boho Babes Boutique-- Boho in the Barn. She needs editorial assistance, so she's been sorting through hundreds of recipes, and I'm transcribing, formatting and binding. The job is completely overwhelming, but you'll be happy to know I managed to recover one of my all-time favorite recipes for cabbage casserole. I've been missing it for years-- apparently mom had cabbaged onto it. HAHAHAHA! Oh, I'm so funny! But here it is for you, loyal readers. If you like golabki, this is a hundred times easier and just as yummy:

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

1 head cabbage
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups instant brown rice, uncooked
1 quart tomatoes, drained
1 can condensed tomato soup w/ one can of water
Salt and Pepper

Cut cabbage into bite-sized pieces. But half in bottom of 9x13" pan. Crumble raw hamburger over cabbage. Add onion, rice, and tomatoes. Cover with remaining cabbage. Pour soup and water over the top. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake, covered, for 1 1/2 hours at 400 degrees.

Simple, healthy and delicious. Make it tonight. Or tomorrow, if you have to go to the store. But do it this week.

3. Everything is generally happy and good. This week I'm going to focus on gratitude. People do so much for one another, but I think folks get really caught up in everything THEY have to do, and they forget that a lot of other people are working just as hard. Ingratitude is a huge pet peeve of mine, so rather than focus on how annoying it is when you send someone a birthday present and then you get a text that reads, "I got the package" and subsequent messages give you the impression that they didn't really like it and they never even thank you for making the effort to remember their birthday at all because you're pretty sure no one else sent them the rubber duckie and the fortune-telling fish and the book you love (not that I'm speaking from experience-- you can tell this is absolutely hypothetical, right?), I think it would be better to just remember to thank all the people who do so much for me. Here is a start:
* Thank you Patti, for leaving sweet comments on my facebook page
* Thank you, Beverly, for knowing exactly when I need a card in the mail for no apparent reason.
* Thank you, Skye, for helping me do the dishes after the party the other night, and thank you, Ben, for cooking the bacon for the Chicken Caesar Club sandwiches.
* Thank you, Thomas, for riding with me to Cost Plus World Market
* Merci, Sister B, for being excited for my weekly weigh-in updates

More gratitude to come this week, though I doubt much of it will be in a public format. But thanks to Le Chat Lunatique, for playing at the Botanic Gardens this week and giving me a great concert to look forward to.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fill 'er Up

Let's go back to talking about men I used to love. That was pleasant.

So the other day, who decided to add me as a Facebook friend? That's right. Chevron. Remember him? Personally, I don't know how you could forget. But just in case you did, or just in case you're an avid reader and have looked for the actual story online rather than hearing it from me in person (like all my old Excel co-workers had the privilege of doing two days after it happened), then let me give you a refresher:
Years back, when I was working in the Salt Lake City, the whole country was affected by a little natural disaster called Hurricane Katrina. Now, I don't want to pretend I suffered one bit-- especially compared to the people of the Gulf Coast-- but I do remember there was a lot of grumbling about gas prices.
At the time, if you purchased $50 or more in groceries from the Macey's on 13th East, you'd receive a coupon for 5 cents off per gallon at the Chevron station across the street. Now, you must understand I'm really more of a Phillips 66 kind of girl, but I wasn't making the big bucks, so I took advantage of the coupon use one fateful night. To qualify for the discount, the customer was obliged to pay inside the filling station/convenience store, rather than at the pump. But once I walked in to that tiny Chevron, things were never the same for me.
There he was in all his glory-- huge hair, Rastafarian music, bad attitude. Ah. Adam. But I called him Chevron. It probably was really condescending (ironic, given I was the biggest pee-on at Excel), but he humored me. He looked so young! I reasoned he had to be at least 21 to sell alcohol to all the nasties who frequented his gas station, so I tried to feel better. In reality, he is only five days younger than I am (yes, that means he is currently 30 and sexy, just like me!), but it wouldn't have mattered. I was enamored immediately.
Over the next few months, I found myself shopping at Macey's all the time, and buying way more groceries than I needed-- especially considering I was a Weight Watchers Champ at the time. But I needed excuses to fill up. And heaven forbid there was someone else working at the Chevron when I needed gas. I think on those occasions I probably went down to Harmons' and used THEIR coupon, but only enough to get me to work and back a couple of days so I could hit the Chevron again. Just kidding. I actually did NOT do that, but it would have given the story a bit of stalker-chic-ness, right?
Anyway, time passed by, and Chevy and I got to know one another. One night I'd comment on the music playing in the store. On another occasion, we'd talk about some other nonsense. On a night I was feeling particularly brave, I ended up hanging out with him for about an hour. Business was slow, and he offered me a lot of the old food he'd have to throw out anyway. I declined, but asked him to tell me more about himself. I asked him if he'd ever gotten in trouble with his boss because of something he'd been caught doing on a security camera. Like what? He asked. "I don't know, making out?" "Not yet," he said, clearly thinking he was in. So I said too bad, and quickly excused myself from the gas station. Oh, how clever I was at planting that little seed! Of course, you have to remember I was and AM a really good Mormon girl (don't ask me how I managed to start this little affair with practically the only non-LDS person in Utah, but it's just my luck), so it took me a long time to even decide if I could follow through with my teasing.
What put me over the edge was an award-- my friend Eric had this UGLY statue he called the Kissing Kitty. There were all kinds of rules and regulations, but there was a nice little email club and people would get announcements when the kitty was passed on to its next recipient. One night at a party, I bragged, "Oh, I'm totally going to get the kitty." I'm sure no one believed me-- even I was incredulous.
But it was a Saturday night, and Saturday is a special day. On the way home from the party I needed to gas up the minivan and go to Macey's to feed my addiction, so I stopped off at the Texaco (nee Maverick) where Chevron also worked (apparently today he is a manager at a 7-11 somewhere, so I feel like he's found something he's really good at and he's sticking with it). I was, at the time, a wise woman of 25, and unstoppable.
I sauntered in to the station and made smalltalk. I tried to ignore the Neanderthal working with Chev, and also hoped he'd pick up the slack with the customers while I flirted with my paramour.

"How was your birthday?" I asked innocently.
"It was OK," he said.
"Just OK? That seems a little sad. What did you do?"
"Well, I had to work, but my mother made me a cake."
"That's nice," I said. "I'd actually planned on stopping in to say hi, but right after my birthday I got a cold. Of course, I'm good now. I'm on antibiotics, so I'm pretty sure I'm not contagious."

*PAUSE*: This is the kind of over sharing I'm known for because my mouth often works faster than my brain. Still, at the time, I used it to my advantage:

"Still," I continued, "I wish there was something I could do for you." I was paying for my gasoline at the time, and I pulled out a crisp George Washington. "Here's a dollar."
He laughed. "I don't want your money."
I think I amped up the charm by using a frownsmile and said, "OK, here are the keys to my van."
"Wow," he said. "Would I get to keep the van too?"
I pretended to feel defeated. "Oops. I kind of need to keep that so I can get to work. I guess I could just give you a birthday kiss."
"I'd like that," he said dreamily.

BUT THEN a motorcycle gang came in to buy their Corona or whatever it was they were drinking. I just know it wasn't Diet Coke with Lime. Anyway, Cro-Magnon couldn't be bothered to take care of the Wild Hogs, so I had to hang back lamely, pretending to be supremely interested in the surprising large array of prisms available for purchase at the Texaco counter. The Old Rachel Sego would have shrunk. The timid me wanted to flee. Did I really need the kitty? Oh, yes, YES I did. I kept my feet planted and asked the Fonz didn't he think that cute boy behind the counter should buy me the prism with the cut-glass muscle car in it?
Anyway, the mid-life crisis crew finally left with their booze and their bikes (one of them was kind enough to offer me a ride, but I declined) and I went back to working my magic. I eased down the counter and met up with Chevron behind the Otis Spunkmeyer display and just planted one on him. And then I said, "I've got to go buy groceries." And I left. With him leaning over the counter like he'd just been hit with a bat in the face. Only his face wasn't bloody. It was handsome as ever, and so much more, because he had this amazed look on it that I now recognize as post-kissing-Rachel-elation (I've seen it dozens of times since).
Needless to say, our friendship didn't really turn out to be much more exciting, though there were several other kissing episodes (including one time in a freezer, which was interesting) and I got several free car washes out of the deal. A year after I moved, I went to the SLC for Vanessa's wedding and stopped in for gas. He was still there and had grown a beard. In truth, he looked a bit like Charles Manson, but my heart still skipped a beat. Chevron!
The years have gone by and we've moved along with our lives, but you know what? I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for the man. In the times we hung out away from the gas stations, I learned he was a thoughtful, intelligent, caring person. He made me feel good about myself, and he was supremely respectful of my beliefs. The chapter has long-since closed, but social networking has allowed us a happy look back.
The lesson: Go kiss the boy in the gas station. It'll change your life for the better (though you may randomly get a call from someone claiming to be his girlfriend, telling you he's in jail, sometime down the road-- don't worry, she's exaggerating a traffic citation).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dear Boys, You are Dumb. Love, Rachel

Remember a week ago when I was happy to tell you about how all the men in my life are great? Well, the thing you'll notice they all had in common is they were men from my past. The men in the present leave a little to be desired.
Oh, where to start? My social life is the facsimile of a sham, but I typically don't mind. I generally have a laugh and go about with my craft projects, shopping at Trader Joe's, and doing other things that make me happy solo. Quick TJ aside: I love that store for a lot of the same reasons I love Anthropologie-- it's just so sensually stimulating. Who would have thought one could say that about grocery shopping? But, I digress (as usual). Continuing:
Oh, you silly, silly, boys. Do you really think you can get the best of me? I submit you cannot.
On one end of the spectrum is the fella who calls himself the best-dressed looking guy around. He isn't. He asked for my phone number, suggested a change my plans, and then when I consented he'd made plans with other folks. Bad move, brother. Unless I see some flowers coming my way, you're going on ice. I don't think you'll like it. Ask the other boys I've frozen out.
On the other end? A nice boy I like spending time with, though I wouldn't call him a legit crush. Still, I gathered up all my courage and asked him to go out to a concert with me. And he didn't answer. So then his dear sister intervened (thanks AM). But when he did get back to me, the answer was 1. Don't know if work can be avoided on that particular day and 2. Can he bring some friends if he does come? I think I liked my situation a lot more when I hadn't gotten an answer. Picture me now beating my head against the desk. Yes, by all means, bring your friends I don't know on a date with me that you're not sure you can go on. The best question is, when can I ask someone else? Please, let me start the cycle of humiliation again as soon as possible!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tales and Tidbits and Tableaus

First and foremost, I must send out my love to all (ok, well, most) of my old boyfriends out there (legit or pseudo). I'm a lucky, lucky girl.
So the other day, I came back to the office after dinner with my beloved friend, Sister Frances (yes, she's a nun). It was a going-away to-do because she's being sent back to the Provincial House in Toledo. Sister Fran is such a great woman, and everyone is going to miss her terribly (most notably the children she's taken care of for the last seven years), so I was in a little bit of a sad mood. HOWEVER, I checked the mail and found a package. For me. From Andrew.
Now, Andrew was never my boyfriend, but I do love him terribly and always have. He is a shining example of goodness, and got married last October. As it is my general policy to not call my married male friends except for an annual birthday hello or under situations of extreme importance (like when I had to tell my friend Sean about a big decision in my life, see below), I'd not talked to dear Andrzej since last fall. But out of the blue came a priority mail envelope with a strange return address-- this was no package from his condo in Pleasant Grove, Utah. I ripped it open to find a nice little note and a bag and pin. From Poland. Woo-hoo! Apparently, they are from Empik, which was a favorite haunt of mine back in the day. Thoughtful, huh? There was also a CD for our mutual pal Nathan. I suppose a) Andrew didn't have Nathan's address, and b) Andrew knew I'd see Nathan soon (he's coming in August, as a matter of fact). Anyway, it was just a little thing, but isn't it wonderful to still have beautiful little surprises here and there? Oh, I love my friends! Even when they join the armed forces and don't bother to tell you they're stationed in Germany, but break it to you with presents.
The next day, I spoke to the very Charming Eric, otherwise known as Eric No. 2 (not to be confused with the Eric I'm eloping with this fall when I go to visit Sokphal in D.C.). This Eric stole my heart freshman year at the Brigham, and I've had a weakness for the gingers ever since. Eric's dry sense of humor keeps me laughing for hours, and it had been entirely too long since we'd communicated. Call it serendipity, or just call it the two of us on facebook at the same time. It doesn't matter. I love you, Eric Otto. Even though you also weren't my boyfriend but used to call me in the middle of the night until you started dating the dreaded Cathy. I'm so glad we're still friends.
These two charming episodes have kept my mood aloft after a marvelous holiday weekend of nothingness. For once, I wasn't over scheduled. My fam was scattered, and so my celebrations consisted of watching two of the worst movies ever (I recommend staying away from "Life as We Know It," but run to avoid "Remember Me" with Robert Pattinson), having a sleepover with my three-year-old darling niece Zoey, painting a dresser, watching a movie with Pam ("Monte Carlo" is family-friendly fun) and so on. Nothing difficult. Nothing to muddle through-- save the RPatz movie. It was peaceful and relaxing. I got a pedicure. And a manicure. And I had my eyebrows threaded. I ate at Mac's Steak in the Rough. I read a book by my favorite author, Elizabeth Peters. I went to a bbq and ended up holding hands temporarily with a friend of mine, and it was sweet. I got inspired vis-a-vis projects for October's boutique. I plotted a picnicking plan. I went to Michael's and once again bought out the whole store (but not really-- just some great clearance stuff). So, you know, it was typical, but the serenity of the weekend made it delicious. And the short work-week has coasted by, and I'm looking forward to more peace.
Lest you think I've forgotten, I did have an important epiphany this weekend (important enough that I felt a text to Sean was not out of the question). I've decided to name my son Atreyu. Like the hero in "The Neverending Story." Part of this is because I think I need to have an equally odd name in mind for a boy (I still don't understand what everyone has against Jemima), and part of it is because I'd love to introduce him just like in the movie. "His name... is Atreyu!" Oh, I'm such a genius! Or I've got too much thinking time on my hands. Still, epic.