Friday, February 27, 2004

So, I know you guys are probably afraid that Life by Candlelight is taking a religious turn but it has just been on my mind lately.

I keep comparing "Last Temptation" to "Passion of Christ." I remember when LT came out. People like my uncle were foaming at the mouth about it. I heard things like Jesus has vision of sex with Mary Magdalene on the cross. Even I was scandalized. I spent years being afraid of even getting near that film. I finally saw it in college and it was transformative. It wasn't blasphemous at all. It simply attempted to reveal the great sacrifice that Christ made. He wasn't just divine, he was also human. He felt fear and pain and longing. He suffered. But he made the choice to go to the cross anyway. That is what LT was about. The temptation of Christ was to get him off the cross and lead an ordinary life. But he didn't fall for it. Even though he may have wanted it. And that is amazing. What a sacrifice! And the portrayal of Judas was amazing. After all, Judas played an important role. What if he hadn't handed Jesus over. To me, the film strenghtened my faith. It didn't diminish it at all. And for those people who feel that LT would damage their faith, maybe they should examine some bigger faith issues in their life. Like their general lack of it.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

So, I just got home from seeing Mel Gibson's "Passion of Christ." I didn't think any movie could be more spiritually inspiring than "Last Temptation of Christ" but this one came close. It is probably the most brutally realistic depiction of the Passion I have ever seen. I started crying when Peter denied Jesus three times and didn't stop until the credits. As for the claim "the Jews killed Jesus," people need to just stop. This is the most ludicrous statement I have ever heard and it gives Christians a bad name. Jesus made the choice to die for our sins. The prophesies were fulfilled. It had nothing to do with the Jews. Everyone had a part in his death, including the Gentiles. But, more importantly, it was God's will. And if it hadn't happened, where would we be? So everyone can just stop blaming the Jews already.

Back to the movie, the violence was unbelievable but probably accurate. It takes something abstract and brings it into concrete detail. And that is what makes it so moving. But it doesn't ask any questions like "Last Temptation of Christ" does. I like the portrayal of Judas in "Last Temptation" better. If you were to combine the two films, you would have a near perfect spiritually-driven film.

I'm glad I saw Gibson's version. It is a great film. And I hope the rumors about Gibson's anti-Semitism and homophobia stances aren't true. Because ultimately, Christianity is meant to be based on love. There's no room for hate there.

If you are a believer and want to be moved, go see this film. If you aren't a believer, you'll probably think the film is heavy-handed and won't be moved at all.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

So, you know what I like about Ash Wednesday? The silent witnessing. I didn't get to go to church today because of my stupid work schedule but I always like Ash Wednesday services. I have never given up anything for Lent because I didn't grow up with that tradition but I do try to make that a time for more devotion. I try to do Bible reading every day during Lent which I am usually not very good at.

But back to Ash Wednesday....I have spent the day watching people come into the library and quite a few have the ashes on their foreheads. When I have worn the ashes, I have forgotten about them until I got home at night and saw myself in the mirror. These people are the same. They seem to forget about the silent witness on their foreheads. But it's kind of moving. In a time when religion seems to take a back burner to everything else, I like it that people take the time to go to church and then they don't rub off the ashes. They go through their days quietly proclaiming themselves as Christians. And it moves me. It says to me that I am not alone in believing.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

So, I think my job may be turning me into a world-class bitch. I get so tired of listening to people whine, bitch and moan. Why aren't my holds here? Why can't I have more DVDs and videos? Why can't you cancel my fines even though I've been totally irresponsible? It's like everyone single person thinks he or she deserves special treatment. For what exactly? My favorite is when people complain "well, my taxes pay for this library." Yeah, right. Like you get to choose where your taxes go. Plus, the amount of money that any individual gives to the library in taxes is about 5 cents. Not an impressive argument. It's like everyone is going around town with this sense of entitlement. Even when they are driving. And they are confusing rights with privileges. I'm just getting sick of people. It's hard for me to be civil anymore. I feel like I go through my work day just being grumpy and unpleasant. I always wondered why those old maid ladies at the DMV were always so bitchy. Now I know. It's the government job.

Monday, February 23, 2004

I'd like to give a shout out to my college buddy and sorority sister, Angela, who has now joined the blogging world. Check out her blog, "Snuggle Up," at right.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

So, I had to say goodbye to an old friend tonight. "Sex and the City." I know it may seem frivolous to many of you. It's just a t.v. show, right? But "Sex and the City" has been a big part of my life. As someone who has had a very shaky dating record, I learned a lot from the four women on the show. In some ways, it gave me confidence. I've never been sure about marriage and relationships. Sometimes, I wonder if I'm too independent or set in my ways to ever be with someone. But I looked at "Sex and the City" and saw four women dedicated to themselves, their friends, their jobs. And some ended up in relationships and some...maybe not. And it was okay. They were in their thirties and forties and it was okay to still be figuring out who you were and what you wanted. And I loved that. And it was fun to see what was currently cool in NYC, be it fashion, exercise or cultural event. Or even clubs and restaurants. And you could see some wonderful fashion and how it defined these four women.

My friend Sara watched the finale with me dressed in her fabulous "Sex and the City" best. And we both got a little weepy at the end. It's hard to believe that we won't be able to dissect the "sex and the city" episodes anymore. But I am happy with how it ended. And in mind, those characters continue on even though the show doesn't.

At least I still have my other HBO favorites: "Sopranos," "Six Feet Under," "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Carnivale." Isn't HBO great? It is a reminder for me about how powerful television can be. These shows come into our lives on a regular basis and we get into the characters and storylines and start to feel like these people are part of our own lives. It's pretty amazing when you think about it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

So, I want to talk about music today. I received a delightful surprise in the mail yesterday. Another wonderful CD mix from my dear friend Brandon in Dallas. As a special Valentine's gift for me. Brandon has been making me CDs for years. In fact, they used to be mixed tapes. He seems to have the uncanny ability to know what I will like. In the past few months, he has made me three great CDs. I love listening to them in the car. I think I may put Brandon in charge of music for my funeral because I know he'd pick something good that I would like.

I did something a little unorthodox. I bought a CD without knowing anything about it. It's by a young girl named Nellie McKay. A review described her as Doris Day meets Eminem. I was intrigued. I just got it today. It is a very eclectic mix so far and I'm not sure yet how much I like it but I DO like the fact that it is different and original.

I love finding new music. I think I've mentioned before how I'd like to have a soundtrack for me life. There really are songs for every occasion in life. Music can also be especially comforting. Kind of like books. It's nice to know there are other people out there who feel what you do and can put it to words AND music.

I'm proud of myself. I actually went to the gym today. I was huffing and puffing and generally pathetic but at least I was there. Now, if I can just stay motivated.

Monday, February 16, 2004

So, Spring is a month away and I think it's time to start thinking about spring cleaning. I need to dive into my closet and let go of the clothes, shoes and jewelry that I never use. I tend to hang onto things because of their sentimental value but it is cluttering up my life. Many of those things don't fit anymore due to my recent weight gain. I need to just let go of them. And I need to throw out the various stacks of paper and magazines that I keep meaning to go through. I really believe in the back of my mind that I'm going to sit there and pull out articles I liked and place them in a file. But I'm not. So, they are just clutter. And as much as I hate this, I may need to do a little spring-cleaning in my life too. Weed out the relationships that are making me sad and depressed. The ones that have nothing to offer me other than the negative. And that is the hardest cleaning to do. It's like the old saying "Fish or cut bait." You can't just sit there forever waiting for a change. I've done what I can. But when I see no progress in sight, I'm only hurting myself by beating my head against a door that shows no sign of opening. I might as well screw my courage to the sticking place and move on to the next door. Although my habit of looking behind me wistfully as I force myself to move on may turn me into a pillar of salt.

I also need to clean the cobwebs from my spiritual life. I know many of you are not spiritually-minded so you may want to skip this. However, this is the most important part of my life. I've let myself just sit around and be angry at God for not helping me out with my problems lately. I haven't been going to church or praying or studying my Bible. Out of frustration. When I most need guidance, where is God? Why won't he heal my friendships? Or help me get into a positive relationship? Or help me find a more suitable job? Why? Why? Why? The hard part is letting go and believing that there is a master plan for me. And for my friends like Frank who are also dealing with unanswered prayers. But maybe are prayers are being answered in ways we don't recognize yet.

At the beginning of the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun," Frances sits in her house crying wondering why she decided to buy a house in Italy for a life she doesn't have. She wants a wedding in the house, a family, a baby. Things that she desires for herself but feels frustrated at not being able to have. At the end of the movie, she is hosting a wedding at her house. Her friend tells her that her prayers have been answered. She looks around and sees the young couple getting married in her home. She sees her best friend whose baby was born in the house. She sees the members of her new "family" surrounding her. Her prayers WERE answered but not in the way she expected. And she was happy.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

So, first of all, I think I should being by saying that even though I am grumpy, embittered, irritable and marginally depressed right now, I still realize how many fabulous people I DO have in my life. I hope you all know that you are more than friends. You are my family.

I have mentioned this before but I'd just like to bring up the power of fashion again. I really like to shop. I don't like staying in a store for hours trying things on, though. I make quick decisions. Mostly, I like shopping for other people. But occasionally, finding just the right item can really give you a boost. Sara and I went to a special event a DKNY on Thursday and each picked up a fabulous handbag. Now I now some of you think we're crazy, but those bags really made us happy. There are some items that you just know are going to make you look good. For example, two years ago I got these great sandals at Nine West. I felt really good wearing them. They gave me confidence. I thought everyone must be staring at me in my fabulous sandals. Of course, that's crazy but that's how I felt. Well, my ex-boyfriend Nick and I were walking across the street one evening to eat at Stella's Trattoria and this couple pulled over their car to tell me they thought my shoes were great. So, maybe sometimes people do notice. And then you get the extra boost from a compliment. That's how I felt today. My plans changed and I was bummed so I got dressed up in some of my old favorite heels, my new DKNY jacket and handbag and this necklace I hadn't worn yet. I just wanted to walk aroud the mall a bit. I felt like I looked pretty good and my confidence was up. And I felt a few people take a second look at me and that felt good. I think that is what fashion can give you. It allows you to express yourself, in some ways define yourself and can give you that extra jolt of confidence and self-esteem. And I don't see anything wrong with that.

By the way, I delivered my pediatric chemotherapy/radiation care packages yesterday. I saw a few given out to three kids under 5 who were there for treatment. It brought tears to my eyes. These kids are so sick and so brave and they seemed so excited to get these bags we had put together. I hope it brought a little joy to their lives. My boyfriend thinks I'm crazy for getting upset about people I don't even know, but I believe that if we are ever going to truly be a community, we need to have empathy for one another. I think I may look into volunteering at the Children's Hospital.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

So, I'm starting to get that rundown feeling that I had before Christmas again. I just feel like nothing is worth the effort. Cooking, cleaning, exercising, doing laundry, working, even relationships. Not worth it. I'm tried of expending effort and not having much to show for it. I guess this is more a relationship issue. And not just romantic relationships. I'm just so tired of trying to maintain friendships and other relationships and feeling like I'm getting the short end of the stick. The problem is that I have never been good at letting people go. Even if it is the best thing.

I've almost finished my Will and I've been thinking about going ahead and planning my funeral so I get it the way I want it. It makes me think about who would care enough to come to my funeral. And I wonder if people who never seemed to have time for me in life would have enough time for me in death. The thing is, none of us ever have enough time. I constantly listen to people complaining about how busy they are with work and school, interest groups, significant others etc. I'm guilty of it myself. But you can't let that take over everything. Or else you lose the people who really care about you. You have to make time for people or else they believe they are not important enough to merit your time.

Take my uncle and dad for instance. My uncle never had enough time for my dad. In fact, when they were in the same room, they barely spoke. I think my uncle was a little embarrassed of my dad. The last Christmas they were together, they hardly said two words to one another. Two weeks later my father was dead. And my uncle said at the time of the funeral, "I only wish I had said more." But see, now it's too late.

I have the next four days off and I just want to sit and be quiet. I don't want to have to see or talk to anybody. But chances are, that's not gonna happen. I saw my doctor yesterday and besides discussing the fact that I have gained too much weight and need to start a diet and exercise program, she decided to test my blood for thyroid etc. Maybe that will explain the state I'm in.

By the way, thank you Vieve for my Valentine's card. It may be the only one I get and it made my day. It's little things like that that help remind me that there are still people who value my friendship.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

One more thing. I campaigned very hard this year for my library branch to win branch of the year. Everyone told me not to get my hopes up. The award always goes to the bigger branches with the flashiest offerings and the largest circulation. My branch is always overlooked in everything. Our morale is low but we stick together because we are a great team. Very few of our staff went to the awards ceremony because they knew we wouldn't win anything. Yet again. Well, yesterday morning, my branch was awarded Branch of the Year. It actually happened. And my friend Greg was named Most Fun Employee out of the entire system. So, sometimes the little people do win. Goliath isn't always the victor. Remember?
I confess. I really like politics. Sometimes, C-SPAN can fascinate me. What I don't get is the apathy of my friends and neighbors. There are basically two ways to change things our society: small grassroots efforts and large political ones. Often, you have to change the law to make anything happen. I think we all get really tired of the ineffectiveness of government sometimes to address our needs. We get sick of corrupt politicians, big business donors, PACs and the dismissing of the little people. We start to think that nothing will ever change and we give up the fight. But I firmly believe that you have no right to complain about the state of the nation if you don't actively do something to change it. I am just now starting to get excited about the next presidential election. The field narrowed even more today for the Democrats with Wesley Clark bowing out. I need a candidate I can believe in and I'm anxiously awaiting the results.

When I was growing up, I believed that the world was run by Republicans. I was too young to remember Jimmy Carter and I had lived with Reagan and Bush so long I thought it was only natural for Republicans to rule the nation. My community was about 99.99% conservative. My paternal family was 100% conservative. I got it into my head that liberals would always lose and that was life. Imagine my surprise when Bill Clinton came along. Clinton let me down. I wanted to believe in him and he did do some great things in office. But he weakened on important issues and sullied his accomplishments with his philandering. I think Al Gore may have done better even though he lacked Clinton's charisma. But instead we ended up with another Bush. Like we hadn't learned enough from the first one.

I'm reading James Carville's new book "Had Enough?" right now and I love it. He is a very thoughtful and intelligent man and he speaks to many of the concerns I have right now about politics. I think this book along with Al Franken's new book should be required reading for the "disenfranchised" voting population right now. Anyone who wants a change in this country. It probably wouldn't hurt to read a little Molly Ivins, Jim Hightower and Michael Moore, too. (I love Michael Moore but sometimes he is too rabid and comes off as crazy. He needs to calm it down a bit and choose his words more carefully.)

If you are sick to death of politics and believe that nothing will ever change, I urge you to rethink your position. Because quite honestly, your country needs you right now. I am issuing a call to arms. Get off your apathetic bums and start making some positive changes in this country. I can't do it alone.

Monday, February 09, 2004

So, I actually had a pretty good weekend. I went with my friend Sara to a "Sex and the City" party downtown. It was a bit of a fiasco at first since we couldn't get in but I always have a good time with Sara. Maybe it's because of all the alcohol she gets us to consume. When Sara is around, it just keeps flowing.

On Saturday night, my partner in crime, Amy H., took me out on the town. We had a lovely dinner at Maggiano's. We were supposd to meet up with the hashers at the Breckenridge Brewery at 8:00pm and still had some time so we stopped in at Red Square. Since we know the owner and one of the waiters fairly well, we got a warm welcome. And we consumed six shots of instilled vodka between the two of us in ten minutes. For free. Because, after all, we are "the Amys." Then, we headed to the Breck and had a great time with the hashers. I always have such fun with Amy because I feel like it is easy to be myself around her. She is such an easy-going fun person.

My Junior League service project on Sunday was something of a fiasco. I had worried a lot about it and I'm just glad it's pretty much over. Although I'm still exhausted from it. I need a nice long nap. Or maybe another night out in downtown Denver. I haven't gotten to do that in a long time and it was chance to let the old "Amy" out again. I miss that side of myself.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Amy's Extravagant Wish List for the Coming Year
(if money were no option)

1. Anything from my Amazon Wish List
2. Diamond Stud Earrings
3. a trip somewhere cool, preferable outside the U.S.
4. Invisalign Braces
5. Tivo
6. digital camera
7. Botox

Are there ever people that you wonder about? People who just disappeared out of your life? I was listening to my Avril Lavigne CD the other day and the song "Sk8ter Boi" came on. Now this is not my favorite song on the album but it made me think about this guy I went to school with long long ago. His name was Jeff Smith. I first met him in my third grade class and he disappeared around 7th grade. He was a true skater boy. But not the flashy-pants-around-their-upper-thighs kind of skaters that are around today. He was much grungier. Not a good student. Always getting into trouble. Definitely living on the fringe of the school. I guess you could have classified him with the "freaks." Of course, I was a super-nerdy kid with glasses who didn't wear the popular clothes and wasn't well-liked. I knew him in my really ugly phase. Jeff was always really gentle with me. He didn't have to be. His friends probably made fun of me along with everyone else for being a nerd but Jeff was always kind. He seemed to make an effort to be more straight-laced and proper when he was around me. He actually only lived a block away and sometimes he would come over in the early evening to see me. We would stand around in the backyard among the fireflies and crickets and talk. For hours. In different circumstances, we may have eventually dated. But it never happened. He just disappeared. About that time, I fell for Shawn O'Keefe and that was that. Shawn also lived on the fringe but he was cool. Artsy, long-haired, sensitive musician. Listened to Morrissey and REM. We liked each other and were very friendly but we moved in such different circles it was never to be. I'd like to find those guys now and see what they are up to. There are so many people who have moved through my life that I'd be interested to find out about. Isn't it strange that you can be so close to someone and then they move away or you move away and you never see or hear from them again? They just disappear out of your life.

By the way, I was just nominated "Most Creative Employee" for the second year in a row.

Monday, February 02, 2004

So, Stalkerama just came into the library. He is keeping his distance so I'm letting it slide. He did come up behind me and say smarmily, "You look gorgeous today." Yeah, my flat stringy hair and glasses are big turn-ons.

My boyfriend's family are planning a Disney cruise in October. Now, I don't like the idea of cruises but I LOVE the idea of Disney World. I don't know why I want to go there so badly but I do. I haven't been there since 7th grade. But it really is the Magic Kingdom to me! I love amusement parks and nothing really compares to Disney. The commercialism is terrible but they really do rides well. You can return to childhood for a little while. And now they also have lots of cool things for adults. It would be such a great escape! I miss the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Carribbean rides. Even the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse would be cool. I remember being really happy at Disney World and maybe part of me (like my friend Greg) wants to recreate that. Of course, Greg's last experience with Disneyland was being told when he was six by his mother that he and his two younger brothers were going to Disneyland when really they were leaving his dad and moving to Colorado. How cruel is that?!