Saturday, February 28, 2004

Last Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, marked the beginning of Lent, which is the 40 days of preparation for Easter. For some reason, I've always liked Lent. I've always kind of seen it as another way to do New Year's Resolutions, a time of reform, personal growth, and spiritual reflection. This year I'm feeling particularly spiritually stumped, given all that's happened with Father John, so I'm going into Lent with both barrels loaded to see what I can get out of it.

On a somewhat related note. I don't plan on seeing The Passion of The Christ because a) it sounds too violent for me, b) I know the story already, so I probably won't get a whole lot out of it, and c) I don't wanna spend $8-plus when I can rent Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus, Godspell, or Jesus Christ Superstar for considerably less (same story, no subtitles) and view it in the comfort of my own home, pausing it so I can run to the bathroom or get more snacks. Or I can go to Stations of The Cross (very popular with Catholics during Lent) at one of the area churches for free (no snacks, but still a nice experience).

Monday, February 23, 2004

Movie Reviews:

Lost in Translation: Very mellow. Big and I fell asleep during each viewing. Basically, Bill Murray in a great role as a has-been actor doing whiskey commercials in Japan.

Le Divorce: I love Paris. Unfortunately, this drama about a Frenchman leaving his pregnant American wife brings the reality of French government and politics (he can remarry after 6 months, she can't remarry until she gives birth, and most likely the judge will award custody to the French parent) to the forefront. It's a bit over the top in the end with a climactic scene at the Effel Tower involving a jealous husband (Matthew Modine), but the cinematography and the accents can't be beat.

One Day in September: For those of you who are too young, in 1972, 11 Isreali athletes were taken hostage and eventually executed by Palestinian terrorists at the Olympic Games in Munich. The documentary focuses mostly on the royal f-ck-up of the German government attempting to "rescue" the hostages. The sentiment of the Germans interviewed who participated in the attempted rescue is disturbingly apathetic.

Sex and The City: The last hurrah aired last night, and I have yet to actually watch it, but I've heard all about it. WARNING: SPOILER next paragraph.

I was at first disappointed that Carrie went with Big rather than the Russian, or better yet, by herself, but according to most critics, it was nicely done.
Apparently in the final scene, we learn that Big's real name is John. Something about that revelation made me melt, since my Mr. Big's real name also is John. And it's not the deciding factor in my decision that John and I are made for each other, but it just reinforces it a bit more, and it made me smile at him across the table at dinner tonight. And now, as he walks toward me, cradling FiFi in his big arms, I know I wouldn't trade him for anything.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Once again, I have a cold. I'm not surprised, since I am especially sensitive to weather changes. Considering yesterday it was snowing and today it's practically spring-like, my immune system gets confused, and the nightclub that is my body allows any trash beyond it's velvet rope.

There are some upsides to being under the weather. I get to take one of my favorite drugs, Nyquil. I know I stole that from Lewis Black, but he's dead-on accurate here. It really really is fabulous. Also, I feed my cold with comfort foods, aka junk foods, and feel non-guilty about it.

Because I attended a patient's death at 1:40AM this morning, LaDonn sent me home early. So I got to hang out with Fee and watch some of the movies I rented: Lost in Translation, Le Divorce, One Day In September, and Annie Hall, which I rented for Big. Reviews and discussions to follow when my head doesn't feel like it's full of helium.

New links, including Andrew's site (excellent), Bichon Rescue info. Also, you'll notice that the comments section is now known as FiFi's Fan Mail.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

FiFi and I were up at 3:00 this morning- Fee was shredding the roll of Charmin that she had knocked down. I was contemplating crocheting in an attempt to fall back to sleep, which I did, successfully, for about an hour, at approximately 5:00AM. I never sleep well the night before I am on-call, for some strange reason. I have rather irrational anxiety about having to be called out at night the next night and face sleep deprivation the day after, which is totally bogus as a) most of the time I'm able to shake it off quite nicely, and b) most of the staff realizes how crappy it is to be call-related sleep deprived, and are very sympathetic and flexible and c) I have all of Wednesday night and Thursday night to catch up.

Also, I have an irrational fear of weekend call. I'm afraid that there will be a situation, or maybe a multitude of situations, in which I will not be able to handle. Also completely bogus, as, having been at this job for close to a year, having handled patients from Ashland to Gilpin Court, there is a rare scenario that hasn't been addressed, that I have not been trained to handle.

It's so strange, phobias. On Saturday night, Andrew and I were discussing phobias, and, having had way too much alcohol to converse with someone as intelligent as Andrew, who happened to be stone cold sober at the time, I showed him the latest Cosmo which featured an article about confronting phobias. After which I cannot remember what happened, but apparently he, Heath and John were discussing having facials done.

Meantime, I am trying, rather successfully I might add, to combat my fears. Wish me luck.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Last night, Big and I held our Black Hearts party, which was supposed to be an answer, maybe an alternative, for folks seeking solace from the red, pink and white Hallmark infested world that develops when Feburary 14th rolls around. Big and I came up with the idea back in December, and it was basically supposed to be a joke, as we both hate Valentine's Day, even though we celebrated in the past with exes. We'd figure that we could metaphorically burn sage and start a new tradition.

Basically, a lot of our friends were alone this holiday, so instead of decorating with black hearts, or gothy gear, we opted for a minimalist "The less said, the better" environment. We bought a lot of food, soda and booze and opened Big's house to our friends, who came packed with stimulating conversation, and appeared to have a good time. Even FiFi had a fun time.

Today Big and I relaxed back at my place, watching the films we rented for the weekend:

1) Party Monster: The true story of New York club kid murderer Michael Alig. Mac Culkin in a bland, forced, comeback role. Watch the movie for Seth Green, who shines as author James St. James.

2) Sylvia: Another true story, this one about the famous poetess Sylvia Plath, who had a cheating husband and suicidal tendencies. Gwyneth is in the lead role, and she does an incredible job.

3) Anything Else: Woody Allen's latest project, with Jason Biggs and Christina Ricci. It's cute, but it ought to be called Annie Hall: Redux, as many of the scenes are pulled from Allen's 1970's masterpiece. Also with Danny DeVito, and Woody Allen is great as an older nebbishy supporting cast member. Biggs is dead on as a younger Allen prototype.

4) Basquiat: Something Big and I have been wanting to see for a while. Another true story about the life of street painter and protege of Andy Warhol, Jean Michel Basquiat. MTV heads will know Basquiat for his fling with Madonna, but those of us who are not cretins will most likely enjoy the film celebrating a talented man whose star was snuffed out way too early related to mucho excess. David Bowie's so effing good as Warhol it's a shame his character has to die in the movie. Big and I will warn you that this movie is very mellow, and if you're tired, you'll probably fall asleep. So prepare to have to experience multiple viewings.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Life in a Nutshell:

Job: Kicks ass, busy
Dog: Excellent.
Boyfriend: Spoils me rotten
Westminster Dog Show: Awesome. Go Josh!
Democratic Primary: Didn't vote. Almost did, but my polling place was overrun with school children.
Nutter Butters: Damn good cookie.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Tired. On call.

But, tonight is the second night of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Hopefully, I won't need to make visits, and can watch it. Just in case, both my dad and I are taping it.

I really think that the Bichon got screwed, but I always think that. The Newfoundland, Josh, and the Norfolk Terrier, Co-Co are really cute. My mom is hoping that Ginny, The German Shepherd will make it to compete in Best In Show. Also, we like the Bassett Hound. He is very cute.

We really really like dogs.

Monday, February 09, 2004

For John, who makes life oh-so easy:

Maybe I'm amazed at the way you love me all the time.
Maybe I'm afraid of the way I love you.
Maybe I'm amazed at the way you pull me out of time, hung me on a line
Or maybe I'm amazed at the way I really need you.

Paul McCartney, 1970

FiFi and I are very excited, because tonight is the first night of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. We like this show for many reasons. Mainly, because it is in New York City, at Madison Square Garden, and also because it is the most comprehensive of all the Dog Shows out there. They showcase every dog, which is why it takes two nights for the judging.

We, of course, always root for the Bichon Frise for best in show, but also we have affinity for the mastiff, the doberman, the bassett hound, the bloodhound, the sheltie, the norwich terrier and, of course, the German Shepherd. Any of these are fabulous to me.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

As most of you know, I love to knit. I've loved it ever since I first learned from my grandmother. She was so relieved and proud that at least one of her grandchildren learned how. When she passed away, I didn't care about any of the other treasures in her house. For me, it was an honor to have my grandmother's knitting supplies and leftover yarn.

I learned how to knit from one of her beginner leaflets, penned by an older woman named Evie and the patterns reflected the fashion of the late 80s, lots of pastel colors, inverted triangle cuts with yellow and red geometric shapes. I could have knitted the wardrobe for the entire cast of "Heathers."

But I learned the basics, and I liked it, because that was all I had.

When I would knit in public, I'd elicit stares from people, both young and old. "Lost craft" were two commonly used words around me. My sister would roll her eyes and pronounce it as "weird." Little boys would point and say, "my grammma does that." But I didn't care, I happily stitched and those around me started marveling on how the knit and purl became fabric and how the fabric could be then sewn together into garments. For someone with little artistic talent growing up, it was my shining moment, a pinnacle of creativity.

Then everyone started knitting. I think it was because Monica Lewinsky revealed she was knitting chenille scarves to have something to do as she sat out the whole White House Intern Penis Sucking fiasco, but I can't really be sure. Knitting showed up in People Magazine. Prison inmates were doing it. Celebrities were doing it. Soccer moms and goth chicks and women's studies majors were doing it. Yarn became thick and chunky and funky, with brand names like "Zen"and "Baby." The Knitting Basket became overrun with younger women toting tots, yammering on cell phones and grabbing up yarn, size 13 needles and an optimistic air as they trotted off to knit The Scarf, which I have seen everyone from my coworkers to my aunt stitch up (it's extra long, usually with one main skein of ribbon-type yarn combined with another style of yarn called "eyelash," which is thin, almost like fishing twine. Combine the two and you get a fluffy boa-typed scarf). Knitting stores in Richmond have tripled since the millenium began. Knitting has been called "The New Yoga." You can knit everything from Elvis wigs to penises to bucket hats to dog and cat toys.

All the while, I'm a bit confused.

Now, don't get me wrong. I absolutely love having a variety of places to go to find supplies and yarn. I am very glad for catalogues and email order yarn that comes in gorgeous, vogue colors and soft textures. I love that there are websites and webrings dedicated to knitting. I'm glad I'm no longer stared at. I was really glad that one hospice client's wife could go to the stores every day and pick out more yarn to make another scarf so that she had something to do on her down time while she was in the house taking care of her dying husband. I think it's great that there are pictures out there of Courtney Cox trying to teach her hubby David Arquette how to knit as they lounge poolside, somewhere in paradise. I'm glad it's getting a positive spin as something enjoyable and relaxing, because it really truly is very beneficial to the stressed out masses that have become society today.

But I'm cynical. I wonder how long it's gonna last, this furvor for the craft I am so passionate about.

As I visited three local knitting boutiques this afternoon, I couldn't help noticing a pattern: in each store, a gaggle of people, mostly women, mostly in their twenties or thirties, standing in the yarn store. Usually in the middle of this gaggle is an older woman, usually an employee of the shop, yarn skein in hand, showing off a particular skein, usually the forementioned eyelash and ribbon combo. But in these stores is something missing, something that was there before, but is no longer. Everyone's shopping, but no one is really knitting. Gone are the ladies who sit quietly at the tables provided, working on possible heirlooms for generations to come. I overheard a woman talking on her cell phone as she stared at the many skeins, "I know. I'm here [at the knitting store] now. I'm trying. I know. But this is not easy."
I can't help thinking that people will get tired, frustrated and bored as they make their 50th scarf, not really knowing how to transition to more complicated projects that require more time that can be used emailing, faxing, child-rearing, etc. Are people really going to carry this talent through their lives? Do they love knitting, or do they love being trendy? I can't help thinking that, like yoga, it will branch off into "power knitting," where type A personalities can take it and drive it higher and higher, faster and faster, more and more, excessively and compulsively, before it burns out like a meteor streaking across the universe (wow. Okay, time to stop. Breathe.) And sometimes I can't help thinking that knitting will meet the same fate as alternative rock, indie films, and metrosexuality- ruined by hype.

I went up to one clerk and asked for a particular brand of yarn that was popular a few seasons ago, but remains a fave of mine because it's thick and soft. I asked for it by name, thinking that this "expert," who sold and most likely read the same knitting mags as I did, mags that always had ads for this brand of yarn, and who worked at this store for a reason, because she knew knitting, would certainly know what I was talking about.

I was met with a blank stare. "Nope. Don't think we carry that. Is that a spring yarn?"
"Um, actually, no. It's a nice thick merino wool," I replied.
"We have other thick merino wool yarns," she replied, her hopefulness giving away her inexperience in the knitting world. Knitters are creative gentle people, but they are also precise, and usually when they are looking for one particular yarn, they know there are no alternatives. And in my experience, most competent knitting store gurus don't offer alternatives- they help you find your yarn by any means necessary.

"That's okay, thanks." I plunk down two dollars for two bumper stickers that are being sold at the counter, so that I can proclaim to the world that

I wonder how many people actually share my sentiment.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

More two cents on the whole Super Bowl Halftime Show: I gotta agree with Marian that it was a major eww factor to the whole thing, not just Janet/Justin. The whole lineup could have used a free clinic visit- Veneral Diseases On Parade.

I may sound like a total old fart here, but I'll wave my cane. I just don't get today's music anyway. Recently, one of our local radio stations here turned from 80's rock to oldies, and so I get to hear great tunes by The Animals, The Beatles, The Moody Blues, etc, as I toddle around town. Some of those songs had amazing lyrics, codes that only a select few really could understand, in order to keep squares and parents from objecting, i.e. Mr. Tambourine Man. Now adays, these yammering dumbasses behind the mic don't mind blurting out lyrics like "I'm gonna get ya nekked beatch, woot woot." There is simply not only no more decorum, but no more talent either.

Is it just me?

Monday, February 02, 2004

Super Bowl Highlights:

1) FiFi wins $20 in our fam football pool.

2) I don't care what anyone thinks, I liked the Donkey/Clydesdale commercial.

3) My two cents on the whole Janet/Justin thing: Two big boobs on the stage. One of them was Justin.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Last night Big, FiFi and I watched the Eukanuba Dog Show last night, and we were disappointed when the French Bulldog beat out the Bichon in the non-sporting group. We didn't tune in to watch who won Best in Show. My money was on the Norfolk terrier.

Tonight, The Super Bowl. Eh...I don't really care. It's just fun to watch with my fam, as my grandmother and great aunt attempt to prove themselves as football scholars when this is the only time that they actually watch. Also, the conservative Catholic critique of the halftime show is always a hoot. I think I'll bring my knitting along, just in case.

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