Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Big In '05

Lance won Seven.

Katrina. The tsunami. Lyndie "Thumbs Up" England.

The Michael Jackson trial. Nick and Jessica. Brad and Jen. Brad and Angelina. Crazy-ass Tom Cruise.

March of the Penguins. Dave Chapelle goes AWOL. Satan Gets Behind the White Stripes. Gwen. Beck. Madonna.

Hunter S. Thompson goes gonzo one last time.

George Bush sworn in for a second term.

"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." George Bush

"George Bush doesn't care about black people." Kanye West

BTK Killer. Tom Delay money launderer. Judith Miller.

Deep Throat revealed (by Vanity Fair, not the Washingtong Post) as former FBI man W. Mark Felt!!!!

But who had the best year ever?

My red boots!

Behold! The First... and Probably the Last

Susie Daugherty heats up Christmas Eve with the scarf I knitted especially for her.

I can confidently report that the scarf I knitted for her was my mom's favorite gift. (In part because the workout pants I got her were two inches too short.) When she opened it she was so excited you would have thought that I'd cured cancer rather than knitted some balls of yarn together.

She proudly wore it to church the next day bragging to her friends, "Gina knitted this herself."

I confessed as she opened it that I had thrown her scarf in frustration and nearly quit several times, but I pressed on. 

I got boots, a new bag, books, a CD alarm clock (which is awesome), workout pants, a watch, perfume (Style, by Ralph Lauren) and a hand drawn portrait of Johnny Cash, complete with a 22 shell casing. (He shot a man in Reno, remember?)

No one came through with the yak, crampons or ice-axe, however.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Partying Like It's 1993

Back in the day Lori and I used to knot embroidery floss around strands of our hair. We, like, totally added flair to our otherwise ordinary high school locks.

While Christmas shopping this year she found this Conair Quick Wrap Braider for $1.99 at Big Lots. It does the same thing we did in high school in a fraction of the time. Score!

We used Kaicey, her daughter, as a test subject. She's leaning into the frame with two awesome braids while my turquoise braid sticks out. (Click on the photo for an up close view of how awesome they truly were.)

Nolan, her son, is touching Jack's foot (her other son), who was asleep on the couch. And I'm singing the lyrics "This is no ordinary weave" to the tune of Sade's No Ordinary Love.

I've been BFF with Lori since 10th grade, yet she insisted on giving me step-by-step instructions (rather nervously, I might add) on how to work the machine.

Don't let her distraught face fool you, though. Her weave was lookin' goooood!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Year of Stalking Joan Didion

It's one of those instances where you first hear about something - a word or phrase or a person's name - and then suddenly you hear it everywhere.

Such is my relationship with Joan Didion.

A few months ago The New York Times Sunday magazine published a rather lengthy excerpt from her new book The Year of Magical Thinking. I was captivated by it, spending half the day learning about her and husband's writing careers, the books they published, where they ate, lived, their relationship with their daughter, Quintana Roo.

The book captures the year Joan spent alone after the 2003 death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne.

I had never heard of Joan Didion before, even though she (along with her husband) is a very successful American writer. But up until that Sunday Times article, her name had not crossed my path.

Then after reading the excerpt of her book, the New York Times Book Review reviewed the novel. A week or so later I saw her show up again in a 1996 Q and A with Dave Eggers (A Heart Breaking Work of Staggering Genius) for

And again, earlier this month was I looking through a copy of Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song and, low and behold, portions of a review Didion had written about the book were published inside.

Then Friday, it happened again. I was reading about Bob Woodward's involvement in the Valerie Plame debacle when a headline from caught my attention: "Best thing ever written about Woodward... Is Didion's Profile from '96."

Now, not only do I know her name, she is everywhere.

(Update: Didion appears again in last Sundays New York Times book review in a book by Marc Weingarten titled "The Gang That Wouldn't Write Straight." It's about "new journalism" writers from the 1960s - Tom Wolfe, Hunter S. Thompson and of course Joan Didion.)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Update! From the Laziest Girl on the Planet

Went to the gym for the first time in months!

Walked on the treadmill. Even ran a little. Did some leg presses. Ab work. Jumped a rope about seven times. Whew!

Looks like I'll have to relinquish my title as laziest girl on the planet.

Report From the Laziest Girl on the Planet

Woke up at noon both days this weekend. (Actually it was more like 1 p.m. Saturday.) But I did finally leave the apartment yesterday, even if it wasn't until 6.

Shrimpfest, Tom's shindig for The Enquirer, was last night, and while I thought I'd stay for an hour or so, I didn't end up leaving until about 2 a.m.

I spent most of the evening convicing Jen she didn't have to be "invited" to read someone's blog, even if it does seem personal. Following the links from my blog, she stumbled upon Craig's blog and also Mike's blog, which she decided was too weird because they didn't know (or invite her) to read them. It was like she was spying on them, she said. Invading their privacy. Which I think is the whole fun of reading people's blogs.

Intermittently throughout this conversation I would yell for Tom's dog, Oscar: "Come here, dog. Hey dog! Heeeere doggy" in a feeble attempt to pat it on the head (ick, it stuck it's wet nose on me) and shed my image as a dog hater. It totally worked because I petted that dog at least four times.

Clearly Shrimpfest was a remarkable success!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Baby Love

Look! Some one trusted me to hold their baby!

Wendy and Beryl (my editor) had their baby boy Thursday evening.

Though it surprises even me, I get ecstatic at the possibility of holding a new baby. Beryl William was no exception.

I also learned a lot about reproductive health while I was visiting. Yikes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

If You Can Fill the Unforgiving Minute...

Aaron on running:

Work on the aesthetics.

Wear running clothes that make you feel like an accomplished runner...the classic torn/threadbare race t-shirt (I'll donate a few), hard core split shorts, black socks, shoes you've taken through the mud. Never wear technical apparel unless it's sporthill. Don't wear a watch.

Run like you mean it and like you look good doing it. Glide, don't trudge. Make a moderately quick pace look like it requires no effort. Charge up hills. Fly down hills.

Low five the kids.

Wheel around and menace anyone who says anything about Forrest Gump.

Jump over things unnecessarily (if someone's looking) but make it look necessary. Cross against the light. Don't run on the sidewalk. Take shortcuts through gas stations and parks and railyards.

Avoid the Observatory and Erie roadrunning corridors. Take back streets and alleys. Hop fences.

Change your route in midstream. Never, ever, go out and back...always a loop, at worst a lasso. Avoid Lunken like the plague, unless it's to run on the golf course. Stop only to check out the view from Eden Park or Mt. Adams.

If you see another runner, catch him/her and pass quickly. Head and knees up all the time, arms held casually, like a Kenyan.

Works for me.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Somebody's Got A Case of the Mondays

This morning as I was walking to my car there was a big patch of ice sliding down the hill.

Except I thought it was water.

So I didn't hesitate to step on it. I was all: "No problem! Look at me... just walking to my car in the morning as sure footed as anyone. Wearin' my pink pants and green coat and scarf. Yep, I'm lookin' gooooood. I even showered this morning!"

Next thing I know I'm sliding down the hill on my knee and my purse is sliding down the hill in front of me. And I made this odd, high pitched sort of groan as the ice peeled away a few layers of skin.

I was too lazy to go back inside and change out of my dirty pants, now with a black mark on the knee. The real bummer about the whole thing though is that my knee is barely skinned. As I was sliding I kinda hoped for a more severe injury, some blood and bruises, puntuated with a rip across my pants.


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Everyday Is Like Sunday

Blah. It's been cloudy and dreary all day. I hate it. I've left the apartment only to step out onto the balcony and shoot this gray photo.

Someone who lives in that white house practices playing the drums twice a day, once in the early afternoon and then again at about 10 at night. He/she has been practicing since I moved in and still they are no better. Practice, in some cases, does not make perfect.

The other photo I took a few nights ago. I was trying to capture the lights from downtown, which you can see in the distance from my balcony, but you can't much see them in the photo. You can see a very nice sunset, though.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Curious Incident of the Deviled Eggs and the Car Crash

Always enlightening, I talked to my mom on Sunday for about an hour, during which time she revealed these gems:

1. "Your dad's feet sweat a lot, so you could get him new slippers for Christmas."

2. The reason my brother Elgin hasn't spoken to my dad in three years is because dad would only "help" send him back to college (he's 45 years old, btw) rather than foot the entire bill.

3. She also casually mentioned she and my dad were in a traffic accident earlier in the day while driving to the RCA retirement carry-in. (She didn't mention the car crash until the END of the conversation.)

MOM: "Whew! We really had a busy day, Gina. We went to see the Man in Black... or whatever that Johnny Cash movie is called."

ME: "Oh, Walk The Line. Did you like it?"

MOM: "It was awful. That guy acted like an idiot. He just drank and took pills and stared and looked weird. He never said anything intelligent. Johnny Cash never acted like that. If I were that woman I would have never married him, him acting stupid all the time."

ME: "I was kinda ambivalent about myself. But it's gotten great reviews. Everyone says Joaquin Phoenix will get an Oscar for it."

MOM: "I don't see how. Your dad really didn't like him. He said they could have gotten anyone off the street to do a better job that than that guy. I didn't hate him that much but I didn't think he was any good. Reese Witheringspoon was all right. She was cute and that's just how June Carter acted."(She called her "Witheringspoon.")

ME: "Wow. You're harsh critics. What else did you do today? Did you go shopping?"

MOM: "Oh yes. I went to the mall and got that blazer I'd been looking at. It was on sale. I didn't want to pay $70 for it but I saw it had been marked down for Christmas for 25 percent off, so I went ahead and got it. I thought I'd wear it to the RCA retirement dinner."

ME: "That's fun. Did you show it off to all of your retirement friends?"

MOM: "Well, yeah I did. Eventually. On the way there we into a car wreck."

ME: "WHAT? Oh my gosh! Are you OK? Did anyone get hurt?"

MOM: "No. But Joann was pretty shook up. She didn't go to the dinner."

ME: "Who's Joann? Was she going with you?"

MOM: "No. Joann's the lady that pulled out in front of us. I used work with her. I talked to her while we were waiting on the police to show up. I felt like an idiot because I was standing there holding a big plate of deviled eggs."

ME: "Why were you holding deviled eggs?"

MOM: "I didn't want them to go bad and you know how your dad is. He had the heat cranked up so high I thought I was gonna die, and I had the deviled eggs for the carry-in on the floor-board of the truck and I knew they were getting hot down there."

ME: "Wait. You were in the truck?"

MOM: "Yeah, your dad won't ride in the car anymore because he says the heater doesn't heat up. So I kept worrying that the deviled eggs were getting too hot. Then Joann pulled out in front of us... Your dad tried to miss her. He turned all the way onto Washington Street to try to avoid her but he couldn't. So we ended up swiping her car as we went through the intersection. It did about $500 worth of damage."

ME: "That's scary. I'm glad everyone is OK..."

MOM: "Your dad didn't even want to get out of the truck because it was so cold. Is it cold there? It's really cold here. It's was only 20 degrees today. I wasn't sure how long it would take for the police to show up and I knew the deviled eggs were already hot, so I stood there holding them."

ME: "Outside in the cold?"

MOM: "Yeah. That's why I felt like an idiot, standing there with a big plate of deviled eggs talking to Joann. That's when she told me she was going to go to the retirement dinner but decided she wasn't going now because she was pretty shook up. We hit her pretty good. It scared me. She has a big dent in the side of her car."

ME: "Wow... I can't believe you didn't tell me this an hour ago."

MOM: "Well... We've had a really busy day."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Holy Knit!

My knitting hobby was spared oblivion this weekend by Sue, who taught me to English stitch. (Though now I am a crazy backwards knitter like Sue, who knits like a left-hander, or something like that.)

While the Bengals were pummeling the Stealers on Sunday, Sue and I knitted while Jen practiced her calligraphy. It was like a girl hobby bomb went off.

Here are the beginnings of my first (and very wide) scarf. And thanks to Cassius kneading on it, I can now blame him for the holes rather than the numerous stitches I've dropped.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Happy Holidays

Jealous much?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Another One Bites The Dust

Well on my way to quitting another hobby - this time knitting.

I tried to learn how to knit from a DVD I got at Target tonight (that was my first mistake) and failed miserably. I figured out how to "cast on," but once it came time to actually knit, I got frustrated and then quickly bored. My fingers don't have the needed dexterity, I've decided. They're designed strictly for typing.

It's not a complete waste of $20, though. I may take a beginners class sometime soon and the cats had fun with the yarn.