Friday, April 29, 2016

Project Runway - A Model UN

This is the best reality show of all time. I wish it were on year-round, but I have to be satisfied with Project Runway, and then offshoots (Under the Gunn, Project Runway Juniors, etc) to get me through the rest of the year. Project Runway AllStars is satisfying, because it's essentially the same as PR, just with a different host and judges. Alyssa Milano is a much cuddlier version of Heidi Klum, and Georgina Chapman and Isaac Mizrahi, as judges, have a knack for offering constructive and encouraging feedback without being hurtful.

The reality of the show is not forced. It's REAL. The designers have talent and vision and a tight time-frame in which to create designs, so the drama that comes out is genuine. I don't love drama for the sake of drama. When the designers are sleep-deprived and stressed it just happens. I prefer when it doesn't, which probably makes me an unlikely candidate for a reality show audience (an aside: I do love the drama on "Dateline", because Oh My God that sh*t is crazy, and really real).

I love how multi-cultural the designers are, and then how quickly you cease to notice that after the first episode. It's a racially-even playing field, which is not something you get to see on television very often.

This season of AllStars has one of my absolute favorite designers, Dom Streater. GOD ALMIGHTY she comes up with some of the most original and gorgeous designs, and I will love if she wins.

(She made this on last night's show and I WANT TO HAVE IT NOW!)

But, I also love the other two finalists, Kini Zamora and Ken Laurence.

The only thing I cringed about this season (tangent alert) was when Kini basically made part of Sam's outfit in the partner challenge, and Sam gave him no credit. This is a major pet peeve. You have to give credit where credit is due. Sam is a talented designer in his own right, but he really should have admitted to the judges that Kini made part of that look. Since he didn't, Kini got very prickly and the prickly carried over for the next several challenges. Then Kini and Sam were throwing all kinds of shade at each other during their single-camera confessionals, and in the workroom and I wanted to smack them both. Sam: APOLOGIZE TO KINI. Kini: BE THE BIGGER PERSON AND FOCUS ON YOUR WORK. (tangent finished)

Ken was drama personified in his Project Runway season, and he frightened me a little. His temper was off the charts. We see more of his personality in AllStars and I LOVE HIM.

He is hilarious and adorable, and I could listen to him say the words "Fabulous" and "Woman" on a perpetual loop, all day long. He says Fah-buh-lus, and Wuh-man. It is awesome. He brought a centimeter of drama when he called Sam out on his nonsense, flirting with the judges and letting his popularity carry him through challenges. But then, they resolved it. Like grown-ups! Sam actually admitted that he could be defensive and immature, and that takes a very big person to do. People on reality programs hate to show weakness, and most people see admitting faults as weakness, but it's really the opposite. Admitting when you've been less-than-admirable is actually quite admirable.

I like to think of PR & PRAS as tiny nations, where we could all learn a thing or two about how to interact and behave. For the most part, the designers, regardless of wildly different backgrounds and personalities, all come to genuinely respect and care for one another by the end of the season (and if they don't, they're doing it wrong and need to try again). In the single-camera confessionals, when I hear them praising their competitors and complimenting their work, it always makes me cry. The more diplomatic they are, the more I love the show. Don't listen to anyone who wants "more drama". Project Runway is better than that.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Our Lady of Perpetual Cat Ownership

Every day now seems to be National Something Day. National Secretaries Day, National Cheeseburger Day, National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Today would have been a major trigger for me. National Pet Day. Six weeks ago I took my little fur-monster, Herbie, to the vet.

 (This was when he was fat and happy)

He had been losing weight, and then just stopped eating altogether. The vet poked and prodded around, and said that he had a tumor, as well as issues with his kidneys. He was fourteen and a half, and the vet thought that was kind of "old age" for a cat anyway, but my last kitty cat had lived to be twenty-three. I had high hopes for all future pets. So optimistic, was I, that back in October I had ordered the 3-year rabies vaccine for Herb. It was not to be. So, armed with some prednilsone, and an appetite stimulant, Herb and I went back home. The vet had said the prednilsone might grant him an extra "couple of weeks". I was distraught. But, after starting the prednilsone, his appetite kind of came back on its own, and I didn't need the appetite stimulant.

I fed him deli turkey, tuna, whatever he wanted to eat, and he did put some weight back on. The vet called to check in on him the following Monday, and I was happy to report he was doing well. I had decided to just watch him carefully, and at the first sign of trauma or physical difficulty to call an in-home euthanasia vet. I did not want him to suffer at all. I got another four weeks of Healthy-ish Herbie, during which time his litter box habits were the best I'd ever seen from him. (He used to communicate in angry poops left around the house).

When I saw his hind legs start to wobble a bit when he went down steps, I knew his time was limited. No suffering for the baby! On a Friday, I called and scheduled the euthanasia appointment for the following Monday. I then made sure his last weekend was awesome. He got pork chops and lamb and junky Fancy Feast in gravy. I would lift him up onto the bed, and then down onto the floor, so he didn't have to try to jump. Sunday night, I didn't catch him in time before he tried to jump up onto the bed by himself. His claws caught the corner and he pulled himself up, and then his body started to convulse. I grabbed him and put him back on the floor, tucking his body in, because I felt like he might have stretched the organs or something. I didn't know - it was just an instinctive reaction, and the convulsions stopped. But seeing that was traumatizing, and I knew I had made the right decision for Monday. It was time to put him down. On Monday I took him outside and let him wander around and eat as much grass as he wanted, and then sat petting him until the vet arrived.

I was grateful for the four weeks of time to get used to the idea that he wouldn't be around. I cried at the first diagnosis, and one or two nights afterward, but then I would look at Herb, who wasn't suffering and just hanging out doing his kitty-thing, and I realized that I didn't really need to get upset until he actually died. What was the point of all the crying if he's right there next to me, pushing his whiskers against my shoulder and purring? He was still there. Once he was euthanized, though, I cried a lot. The Ugly Cry. Red-faced, puffy-eyed, numerous boxes of tissues destroyed crying.

The next day I drove about 40 minutes south to a cat rescue organization, and adopted a sweet little 4.5 year old longhaired girl named Minnie.

You can't do this with people, which is why losing a family member/friend is so much more devastating. But there are homeless animals everywhere, in need of care and love. You do need to make sure you connect with the animal, and I just knew Minnie was right. A furry, snuggly, purr-monster is something I have to have. She is the best: super affectionate, talks to me in her little mewly voice, and has the best litter box habits. When I'm reading, she shoves herself into the crook of my elbow and stretches her dainty paws out over my shoulder, then curls up and falls asleep. Without her, I'm sure I would have had further sobbing episodes as I drove past the vet clinic, where Herb used to go, or the pet food store, where I used to buy his fancy organic food (which apparently did not keep him from getting cancer), or when I looked at his scratching post and toys (which Minnie is enjoying), and definitely today, on National Pet Day.

I've had kitties since I was five years old. Mercy, I got as a kitten when I was five and named her all by myself, after my mom said "No" to naming her Cindy. Mercy had feline leukemia, and died my first year away at college. Kitty overlapped Mercy a little: I got her for my 13th birthday from two school friends. Kitty was the one who lived to be twenty-three. Then came Herb and his sister Laverne. I, sadly, had to surrender Laverne after a few years because I was afraid Herb was going to kill her - he was really Alpha and really possessive.

I am the Constant Cat Lady. I will, however, take solace in comparison. At the check-in counter at the Humane Society, the desk clerk asks you several questions, including, "How many pets do you currently have at home?" While I was sitting and waiting to see the cats, a woman came in and her answer to that question was, "Five cats, two dogs".

I patted myself on the back for not being a cat-hoarder. Oh, now wait. That sounds like I'm being judgemental. I am! Five cats is too many. Unless you have a farm.

I don't have a farm. And one cat is plenty for me.

My mom once said, "I can't picture you without a cat." And now she won't have to. R.I.P. to my little Herbie, and Happy National Pet Day to pet owners, everywhere!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

My Happy Golden Years with Dateline

I don't know why everyone's so desperate to recapture their youth, or stay young, or whatever. Getting older is awesome. You get to complain more, you get to ignore all the improvements and updates in technology, and you get to watch 'Murder, She Wrote' and 'Dateline' as much as you want.

How, how, how have I lived this long without 'Dateline'? How? I am completely obsessed with this show, and this obsession is not making me a better person. I've been doing my part with all the introspective self-improvement, and appreciating the present moment, and have developed a profound love for Eckhart Tolle and everything he stands for. And then I forget all of that the moment the shaky photo frames appear on the television screen, accompanied by a heavy-handed ominous musical score.

'Dateline''s tagline is "Don't watch alone" exclamation point. This is nonsense. You can totally watch the show alone, because it's not that kind of scary. What you should not do is watch the show with me, because I am that kind of scary. Let me count the ways:

1) I become enraged if Keith Morrison is not hosting (but then calm down, because the other people are fine; just less hilariously over-the-top).
2) I start yelling, "The husband (or wife) did it!" before Lester Holt has even introduced the subject matter.
3) If the husband or wife did not do it, the rage returns and I start yelling at 'Dateline'. I genuinely want the husband or wife to have done it.
4) I yell at the incompetent sheriff, detective, local investigator, the accused, friends/family of the accused, prosecuting attorney, defense attorney, and/or jury, depending on who is being the most idiotic. Sometimes, it is all of them.
5) I find myself unconcerned with the welfare of the characters if they are rednecks (it's okay, they won't read this).
6) I am ten times more upset if an animal is killed, along with the victim.

This is not me at my best self.

But, Eckhart Tolle would say, "Resist nothing", and that includes the lure of the shaky photo frames, the ominous music, and Keith Morrison's exaggerated eyebrow furrowing and melodramatic suppositions.