Monday, March 30, 2009

Are you there God? It is me Fifi...

and I have a lot on my mind lately. I would like some answers though I think I may have to wait for them.
Watching Discovery this weekend I caught a documentary on Polar Bears starving due to the loss of Arctic Ice. The bear was half his size and was trying to attack a walrus, he just could not do it, so he lost the battle, laid down and he died. Reflecting on that moment, I had to accept what type of world we have created. Yes nature has its own cycle and has for centuries. Polar bears will die, people die. I am well aware that is overwhelming to try and "rescue" everyone and the environment and the animals, but we need to make sweeping changes to help preserve the Earth that God/Buddha/Muhammad/whomever has given us. This then made me consider some Christians who claim they do everything to glorify God and all that he has given them. Then in another breath they say there is no such thing as global warming and want us to drill their driveway for oil. Which brings me to M King Hubbert's Peak Oil Theory and realizing not enough people are aware of the dire straits we are in when it comes to oil and its production.
Keeping on with our doom theme here, a discussion came up about setting term limits on our Senators and Congressmen. How can change truly come about when someone like Teddy Kennedy has been in the Senate since 1964? Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms practically died in the Senate. We need fresh ideas and faces, some young blood to help bring us forward as a nation. Then the old standby, taxing the wealthy as a quick solution does not sit well with me either. If I worked for my millions and give to charity, why the hell should I be penalized? I know it is not as cut and dry but that always seems to be our "go to" when times are tough. Plus, the government has been unable, for years, to handle cash flow properly. This Administration makes me hopeful, but a mess this big will take time and I hope they can get a lot of it cleaned up. Honestly, I have no answer as to when this downturn will stop, no one does, but in these times I would like a little more selflessness of the people of the world. I do not think it is a lot to ask, so I throw it out to the universe and hope it brings back good things.

And now a big Ujjayi breath and smile. Enjoy the following:
Keep the faith,
MissFifi

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Architectural wonders

Instead of me lamenting about my job and house search, I decided to post photos of statues and other architectural feats that have caught my eye and stayed with me. Some I have seen in person, some I never know if I will see, but that is irrelevant. Perhaps it will inspire you to seek some of these out. Enjoy !

I have an insane obsession with the "Motherland is Calling" statue in Volgograd. It is imposing, scary and beautiful all in one. Actually the whole complex dedicated to the Battle of Stalingrad: Mamayev Hill is quite amazing.


















Verrazano Bridge: such a beautiful bridge and I love when driving on 280East in West Orange area, you can see it as you come over the hill.



The first time I saw the Mormon Temple in Kensington MD, it came up above the trees looming like a mythical creature. I have never seen anything so white in my life. Take a ride on the Capital Beltway and you will see it.














Montreal Olympic Stadium: I have no explanation for this, but it freaked me out as we drove closer to it.

Burma/Myanmar: a dangerous place, built 3 statues of ancient kings and no they are not a wealthy country. They are under military junta rule. You can read more about them here



Chief Crazy Horse Memorial: I doubt it will be finished in my lifetime, but I would love to see it when it is done. Here is the model of what the mountain will become.









Statue of Liberty: Always thought she was a badass



The Awakening Sculpture: Awesome! I have to go see this.



Our Lady of the Rockies
: who knew?! Pretty cool actually.



The Merlion of Sentosa: interesting monument in Singapore




















Well, that is all for now. I will post more in the future.
Cheers!
Fiamma

Sunday, March 22, 2009

'Tis Sunday and I have things to share

(thank you to Alberto Vargas)

Hello my beautiful people. Our house hunting continues, our dog's blood came back fine, but now we must take her to the neurologist, good times, and I am trying to think out of the box and see what my path shall be. A lot going on that can distress me, but I am doing my best to not let it eat me up.
Beautiful gestures and things make people smile. In my present state of mind I feel the need to seek out beauty and artistry A LOT. It soothes my anxiety and gives me perspective where I lack it. The arts have always been a comfort and so with that thought I roll out what needs to be appreciated. Be it flowers, jewelry, locations, beauty is everywhere.

The Winterthur Estate in Delaware beckons you to relish the stunning gardens and enjoy the Brandywine valley. I really would love to take a weekend jaunt here.

Natchez, MS looks relaxing and interesting. shopping, down home southern cooking, even though I am a vegetarian I have no issue with recognizing others' desires to eat well prepared meat, historic beauty, this may have to go onto my list of places I need to see.

Vintage Kitten a blog that always makes me want to look glamorous and have a cocktail!

Staying with the kitty theme, the jewelry by Cleo and Cat is fantastic and bold. I covet their cuffs and rings.

Artists can be quite a boon to depressed areas. They come in, rehab a neighborhood, others follow and then BAM! a revitalized town. Detroit is probably one of the hardest hit areas in our nation. Design 99's Powerhouse Project is hoping to bring life back to this hard hit city. 20/20 recently covered these artists' story and here is the video as well.

Everyone loves homemade pie. I myself, would enjoy a piece of pecan pie right now, but alas, it is late and I am in no mood to bake. If you are in Durham, NC though, you lucky kids you, you can go to the Durham Farmers Market and get your hands on pies made by Scratch . My fave thing they offer is 4 weeks of pie for $65.00. There is a God, and he likes pie!

Cheers!
MissFifi

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Health, Humor and Hurly Burly

(thanks MAD magazine)

Deep down I have always wanted to by a Spy, Fifi - Government Spook!, but the universe has taken me down a different path and at present it wants me to be an unemployed person. I embrace this current circumstance I am in though in many ways it has become an interesting task on how to fill my day. I am reading, I am writing, cleaning, walking, playing with Isadora and then sometimes I put on one of my many DVD's and have some tea and chill. I do not think a house will make this all go away, but it will certainly occupy my time better. If I knew I was accepted into school I would have courses to ponder and get excited. As we all struggle through this current economy I pondered that I bet we all wish we had tried different things here and there. It would have been nice to take a shot at auditioning for a movie or play or trying to surf or how about finally finishing another short story and starting that screen play? Life is not over yet and I can still give it all a chance. Thanks to lack of employment, I get to think about that more now. Perhaps this is the time to try what you never thought you would have the balls to do. At the end of the day, what have we got to lose? Robert H Schuller said it best, "What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?" Life is meant to be lived and it may be my time to really LIVE LIVE LIVE!

Health and Dental insurance is becoming a bigger burden for many people. Here is a little FYI tip:
If you have a Hospital connected to a school, UMDNJ in Newark, NJ is a great example, you can utilize their excellent dental clinic. I know someone who when she was a single parent and money was very tight, she had her kids both get their braces through UMDNJ. We also had another friend get some major reconstruction work for dentures there as well. They both had very good experiences and it was more reasonable then going to a private dentist. I also read a recent post on fivecentnickle.com that could help with the cost of immunizations: "We discovered that the county health department offered the very same immunizations for the low price of $20 per visit, regardless of how many shots you needed. Given that it would’ve cost $50-$100 per shot at the doctor’s office, we saved a ton of money without compromising on quality of care."
Your health is important and finding ways not to go into bankruptcy for it is important too.

A friend recommended the book The Year of Living Biblically. Since most of you know I am a voracious reader, I cannot wait to get my hands on this little goodie.

Victor Borge made classical music funny. Watch this video and you will understand.

Rhondas blog is inspirational and wonderful. She knits, bakes, does canning, she is fabulous. I covet her garden too! I really respect the handmade community, as I am a part of it, and I cannot wait to join the gardening community as well.

Decided to watch Rob Roy on Hulu and as I saw Liam Neeson I said a prayer for his family. Their loss has touched many people and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that he and Natasha kept out of the spotlight, did excellent work and seemed down to earth. May they all find peace.

Until next time my lovelies,
MissFifi

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This, that and the other thing


Isadora had to go back to the vet today as she still has tremors. They took blood, we will get results tomorrow. If they do not find anything with that, it will be off to the Neurologist. I took her to the park afterwards where she played in the leaves, ran and barked for an hour. The vet said that even though they know about Cerebellar hypoplasia, they really do not know they full extent the disease can have on the animal. Hopefully it is nothing, though it could be epilepsy she has too. Everyone think good thoughts and thank goodness she has her wheels!
  • Watched the documentary A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash today and it was simply fascinating, enlightening and downright scary. If you do not recall the 1973 Oil embargo you should because the shortage will happen again and this time not from OPEC holding back. When they talk about how oil is used and how wasteful we all are, it really unnerves you and dammit, it should.
  • Want to know what is really in the products you use and if the ingredients are safe? GoodGuide is a website that lets you type in the name of shampoos, cleaners, lipstick that you use and you can read the Health, Environmental and Social performance of the product.
  • Homeless youth should never be used in the same sentence. These kids need hope and a future and Do1Thing.org helps to facilitate that.
  • Search and Rescue dogs are crucial to disaster rescue teams. Search Dog Foundation is a non-profit that recruits dogs from shelters & breed rescue groups. Read their stories and maybe help a puppy that can help someone someday.
  • These are the cutest, most divine travel books I have ever seen!
  • If I was living in Sedona, New Mexico, Asheville, Napa, anywhere but NJ, I would build a Rammed Earth home. They are quite amazing.
  • I want to make these sugars myself they sound delightful!
  • Bourbon Soy Sauce anyone?
And finally, my love of OldHouses.com continues with this gem in Texas



Cheers and Good thoughts!
MissFifi

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Reading IS Fundamental


I remember that campaign from when I was a wee lass. Luckily, my parents loved to read and passed that passion on to me. So it is with a smile that I share with all of you the books I am currently reading. The library is where I go to get all my goodies, the reference desk is my second home, though I am sure the reference librarian is sick of ordering me books by now. I always like to have at least 3 in rotation, I now I have 5, oy! Here is my reading list:

The Uncommon Reader
by Alan Bennett
American Nerd: The Story of My People by Benjamin Nugent
unChristian:What a New Generation thinks of Christianity and Why it Really Matters by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons
The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest by Dan Buettner
The First Billion is the Hardest: Reflections on a Life of Comebacks and America's Energy Future by T. Boone Pickens

So why have I picked some of these?
First off, only The Uncommon Reader is a Novella, and it is very funny, the rest are all non-fiction and about topics that truly interest me. Let me tell you about unChristian and how it covers why there is a poor perception of Christians in America today. They are seen as self-righteous, anti-homosexual, sheltered, etc. It discusses how their behaviors have fueled the stereotypes that we have of most Christians. The authors talk about returning back to the true roots of Christianity, charity and compassion. I only just started it, but it is proving to be educational and enlightening so far.
For me, reading is a glorious gift. I can imagine I am Miss Bennett or get inside of the head of billionaire T Boone Pickens as he goes from Oil Man to Alternative Energy Advocate. How nerds have been around for centuries or why people in Sardinia live long, happy lives.
I like being transported by a writers words to a small hut in India, backpacking in Austria or to a dance club in West LA. To be introduced to characters I love as well as to characters I loathe.
When I meet folks who say "I never liked reading, it bores me." or "I only read magazines." I admit I feel sad for those who find it boring, but I will never condescend. Who does not love a good magazine?? Here are some of my faves: Coastal Living, Real Simple, Ready Made, Sunset.
On the right side of my blog I've listed some books I have read and loved, I may add to it or change them out every now and then. I am hoping some of you will share what you have read with me so I can pick up something new or discuss an oldie but a goodie.

Cheers! And happy reading,
MissFifi

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Poop, film and a few links to knock out the kinks


Where we live people fail to pick up their dog poop. This is absolutely infuriating. When I walk our dog, I have to constantly maneuver around the various piles of fecal matter left behind by lazy ass owners. Izzy needs to run in the grass because her condition gives her a sort of curled paw, so grass is more comfy. I constantly have to pull her out of it because there is fresh, a few days old and decimated poop. I am not sure why this is so difficult for people. Walk your dog and bring a bag. It is disgusting and nasty and shows no pride of your neighborhood. As my friend always says, "People are shit" and in this case he is correct. PICK IT UP PEOPLE!

One the best and most overlooked actors of our time is James LeGros. He has been in films like Scotland, PA, Living in Oblivion and the amazing Showtime miniseries, Sleeper Cell, which everyone in it was incredible. I hate that the same boring actors and reality show dredge is always getting props when this guy is fantastic. So James LeGros, I salute you!

  • One of my favorite movies ever - The Sure Thing
  • When we have a house, I will have a garden and yes, I will have a sublime shed.
  • Want to see something other than a Disney produced nightmare on Broadway? Let the talented actor, "Rocco" give you the 411 on his blog What's Good/What Blows in NY Theater.
  • Art can get boring, everyone has a Monet or Van Gogh reproduction. These authentic museum street banners from Betterwall.com are the bomb!
  • When I have money I am joining a yarn CSA.
  • A doctor in the NHS has some interesting stuff to say.
  • This would be a nice little vacation home in Charleston SC
  • The PBS American Masters documentary about Jerome Robbins is simply wonderful. Watch his Wedding/Bottle Dance in Fiddler which is mind blowing.
Cheers my dears, until we meet again,
MissFifi

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Health Care - Nice Oxymoron


It is time we admit that as a nation we have failed miserably when it comes to proper health insurance, medical care and preventative medicine. Overworking our doctors, nurses and rest of the hospital staff is commonplace. Insurance slams these people by making them document every eye blink or it never happened, hence, no reason to cover it. Preventative is an ugly word in our system which is an effrontery to every citizen. Then you have hospitals with money who are able to install bar code systems and electronic medical records as well as offer state of the art care. In the meantime, other hospitals have to fight for every penny. The imbalance is becoming greater and more noticeable and the question is, when the hell will the average American get pissed off enough to help push change through? First off, stop acting as if a doctor is God, they have enough pressure. if you are not happy with their treatments, procedures or bedside manner, get a new doctor. You are not sure you want to follow the protocol they want to do for your ailment? Then get a second, third, hell, fifth opinion if you need. We all all only become better people and better at what we do when we continue to learn. I actually have to reference today's Oprah show with Dr. Oz which was all about medical mistakes. 100,000 people die a year from them. Watch the episode and then find a way to get involved. Fund raise for a hospital or charity, become a health professional, do something instead of standing idly by. Help bring about the change we need or we are in for a really shitty ride.

We should all laugh over the simple things like Ethan

Much love,
MissFifi

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Knowledge is power !

so stated Auntie Mame....henceforth, I have decided that I would search around and post some goodies for us all to share.

Depression cooking with Clara - she is 93. Rock on!
Preservation of Historic Buildings is important even if someone at Toll Brothers does not agree. Connecticut barns are the next round trying to get restored.
This couple did an AMAZING revamp of their home proving an old home can rock better than a McMansion. Do the house tour to see the brilliant transformation.
If I had children, I think I might have sewn some of these outfits.
Yarn Harlot always makes me envy her knitting skills and laugh at her stories.
RuPaul Drag Race - I am addicted to it and wish I looked this good!
Are pets worth the money? To me, yes.
Very cool clocks.
Breathe in and out. Yoga Journal, to help you relax in tough times.
If you love dresses like I do, this blog will fulfill all your dress desires.
Looking for a challenge? Try reading Principa Mathematica. Good times.

Love and Rockets,
MissFifi

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Another day, another carrot


(Thanks to Warner Bros for that image)

Hello my lovelies! After a lovely afternoon spent with my awesome partner in crime, Nancy, I was driving home and listening to 1010Wins. They were talking about Monster.com's job fair in NYC today and how 3500+ people showed up. What really caught my attention was when they spoke to a representative of St Barnabas Medical Center who stated they have tons of nursing jobs, non-clinical, clinical, you name it. This made me nearly drive off Alps Road to call them and demand to speak to that particular woman. Since I began my Oncology Massage Training I have applied to every type of job known to man within that particular hospital system. In the recent month or two I have applied to a total of six different positions ranging from Unit Clerk to part time Secretary in Infectious Disease. (I would LOVE that.) Now, I am no fool. I know how hard it is to get into the hospital system, but being that I volunteer for their Hospice unit, you think I could get an edge. Nope, nada, nein. Times are tough, they are what they are, but enough stupid phrases, this pissed me off. I have a ton of experience and yet, I apparently lack something to even get a part time gig. I try not to be ungrateful and angry, but please allow me this brief rant. I also have a bee in my bonnet, and what a cute bonnet it is, about the lack of funding for school loans. If my job becomes obsolete I need training. If I want to move up in medicine or certain other fields, I need training and schooling. College loan rates are up to 8% and many of us cannot pay even for a state a school without going into debt I need schooling to move up further into Public Health as well as take continuing education to keep my massage license. UGH! UGH! UGH! I will now dust myself off and share some good links because that my friends is what really makes me happy.

Miss latch hook rugs? These will offend someone for sure.
If I cannot break into the medical world, I will return to the arts, become published and regress back to my Gothic punk days wearing these fabulous baubles by Londons Gate.
Yes, I would return to San Francisco just for these donuts.
I must order chicken poop!
I have a thing for abandoned buildings, especially hospitals/asylums. The Kingston Lounge captures their beauty and staid loneliness.

Some songs I will always love:
Halovox - Retrospect
Adam and the Ants - Antmusic
Front 242 - Headhunter
The Damned - Eloise
Wire - Ahead
Human Resource - Dominator (remix Beltram)
Red Lorry Yellow Lorry - Happy to See Me
The Psychedelic Furs - Into You Like a Train

Live and dance your butts off!
Fifi

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

AArrrgghh!


That photo depicts the kind of day I am having.
Our dog has had the chills all morning along with labored breathing. She was panting and whining and so I called the vet and $100+ dollars later, she is being given Pepcid AC. Animals are just like us sometimes with meds for ailments...tomorrow we get results of her stool sample. During the exam everything sounded fine to the doctor so gastrointestinal is the way to go it seems. I gave her the Pepcid 15 minutes before she ate, but after Izzy ate dinner, she was uncomfy and shivering and burping. I am hoping the stool comes back clear and after another 1/2 dose of Pepcid in the a.m. she will be right as rain.
My wrist is another story. I am yet again, typing with one hand, since my De Quervain's is at an all time inflammatory high. I feel like I have one of Dante's circles of hell on my wrist. Let me be honest when I say I helped irritate my ace bandaged wrist today by typing the beginnings of a short story for me to submit to another contest. I am beginning to think I need to invest in a voice activated writing program. I wonder if it could speak like Stewie? Hugh Jackman? The Lollipop Guild? We shall see. Anyway, yes I have my wrist splinted and thanks to a wonderful, longtime friend in the medical field, I will be taking ibuprofen twice a day and trying to rest the wrist. Wish me luck as I would like to avoid the cortisone and surgery.

Here is some food for thought. Should medical schools accept funding from pharmaceutical companies? Some professors are consultants for the drug companies therefore they promote the drug in the classroom. Is this a bad thing or a good thing? Read and decide. This article discusses Harvard Medical School and money from Big Pharma.

Last night on Charlie Rose, I had the privilege of watching him interview one of my all time favorite opera singers, Soprano extraordinaire - Jessye Norman. She is elegance personified and you must all witness her eloquence and grace. Here is the video link.

Songs I adore right now:
Eddie Vedder: Hard Sun
Depeche Mode: Wrong
Kings of Leon: Use Somebody
Ryan Adams & The Cardinals: Magick
An oldie I never tire of - Skunk Anansie - Selling Jesus

Much love and sunshine,
Fifi

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Penny for your thoughts?


Back in the day you would have said no, now you want that penny. How can we, the richest nation on earth get by on say, $80,000 a year for a family of four?? I mean, we want to go to Disney World and Europe, all have our individual cell phones and individual computers too. We want to wear Juicy Couture, have a flat screen tv, live in the swankiest town and drive the best car we can not afford. Hmmm, such a dilemma for us all. Amazingly, my hubby and I got by on about $20-25K a year when he was in school and I was trying to get a jewelry business off the ground. Can you believe we are still here?? Where there is taking me is instead of giving up cable, that third car or not going on vacation, people casually and carelessly dispose of their pets. The amount of abandoned pets are staggering and Horses are the latest causality of this economic nightmare. Some owners are trying desperately to keep them, others give pets back as casually as one would return a toaster to Target. Now, I hate to join in the ranks of bitching about the repercussions of the economy, but it seems that in some cases, some folks have yet to learn a lesson and to be less self-consumed. An animal is a responsibility and one needs to think it through before adopting a rabbit, a cat or a horse. I think there should be records kept on all the folks who left animals in foreclosed homes, dropped them at shelters without working out a deal to get them back when they get back on their feet, kudos to those who did work out a deal, and these abandoners should never be allowed to adopt an animal again. It is not expensive to keep a dog or cat, it can be in certain medical cases, but you made a commitment when you adopted/bought the animal just like when you had a child. Then again, some of these people should probably have never had kids either, but then again, God has a sense of humor.

Happy thoughts:
We love the Blue Ridge Mtns of North Carolina. When we go back, I want to go here.
If anyone in NJ is up for it, I am so in for a Soup Swap!
I would wear this English Riding Coat everyday. To the scones!!
Love, love, love this creepy art wear by Margaux Lang
This post is for Kristy, chocolate-peanut butter lover extraordinaire
David Bowie is genius personified, so here is an oldie abut a goodie with NIN

Hugs not drugs,
Fifi