PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Monday, July 07, 2008

Well, That Wasn't So Bad...

I turned 40, and nothing fell off, broke, or careened off-kilter.

In the spirit of moving forward, I'm going to start blogging over on my website. It's not done, it's not even close, but hey - we're all friends, and why wait for something to be "done" before having friends over, huh? So, if you would be so kind, grab a paper cup of the box wine perched over on that pile, and redirect your browser, bloglines, blog reader, bookmark, and links to here:

Ta-Da! We'll be eating cold pizza and potato chips for a while, as I have a jammed-full couple of weeks, but eventually, some of the other pages under the umbrella will actually have some substance and order. Until then, (glug, glug, glug) have some more of that tasty wine, won't you?


posted by PlazaJen, 10:33 PM | link |

Thursday, July 03, 2008

You'd Want to Call It A Monday.

My poor husband. He had a rough day yesterday, and I can only hope that whatever planetary-star alignment thing he had going on has been swallowed up by a black hole and the crazy has moved on to another block, city, or continent.

His truck has been... finicky. It's got over 190k miles on it, and as many things do when they get older, has taken to making its own decisions here and there about what it will or will not do. Like start. Or turn off. It reached a point that he just routinely would hook & unhook the battery to co-operate with the truck's New Method of Running. But yesterday, the truck decided it would not play with the routine any more. And this decision took place in the Lowe's parking lot.

Now, as James observed, if you're going to have a vehicle breakdown, the place to have it is in the Lowe's parking lot. Three men immediately appeared to help, and they pushed the truck down an incline so he could get it into gear & rolling again. (As someone who is only knowledgeable about car styles and names, this is all very magical.) I was telling Beth about it today, and we were joking about other sorts of breakdowns, like what the best parking lots would be for those. I think a nervous breakdown would be best in a Target parking lot. Anyway, he has determined it's the starter, and is outside installing it as I type.

But that wasn't all. Last night, we had major storms - lots of lightning, thunder, rain. I went to bed a bit later, and it was challenging to fall asleep, what with the noise and flashes of light. And the dogs kept barking. Mostly Polly, but she'd get Suzy going and Tripper, who stays in his kennel & has the StopBark by him, just whined, because he knows barking=ultrasonic badness. At one point, James asked me if I'd heard the doorbell. I hadn't, and replied as much. But the barking continued, over hours. I started incorporating all the noise into my dreams, and finally awoke as James, beside-himself-crazy, flipped on the hall light and asked me where the doorbell chimes were. I directed him to the old ones, which he'd already investigated & ruled out, since it didn't have all the batteries inside. I then remembered that a couple years ago, I'd replaced that unit with a plug-in device. I found it, unplugged it, and went back to bed. Apparently, something with the storm was setting off the doorbell, which in turn set off Polly, who set off Suzy and Tripper (Bark & Whine). Suzy finally gave up, because that's how she rolls, but James said that at one point, Polly GOT UP ON THE BED to get our attention. (I have no recollection of this, as I was in my dreams wandering around complaining about "all the racket".) She's vigilant, my dog. I'll give her that. But man, we're both tired today! And the power's out at the office, so I can't check my email from home. I think I feel a nap coming on & a fresh start to the weekend in my future!
posted by PlazaJen, 12:47 PM | link |

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Umm, Yeah.

So, I was hand-wringing and worrying and making myself nauseous over my little Devil Duckies and Cutie Monsters that had gone off to The Loopy Ewe as DPN holders, hoping fervently that they'd eventually go on to sock knitters everywhere. Mostly because of that last part, "going off to other knitters", because WHAT IF NOBODY BUYS THEM.

I even posted as much (more diplomatically and hopefully exuding a :little: less angst) in the Loopy Ewe group on Ravelry, and some kind soul pointed out there were only 6 left. Out of 40. In one day. There are only 3 left today. Day two.

Uh, ok.

I let myself spend five minutes worrying that people are going to hate them when they get them. And then I slapped myself. And ordered some more ducks.


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posted by PlazaJen, 3:41 PM | link |

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Birthday MONTH

James was laughing at me last night, as I was chattering on about my birthday present to mahself, which I bought with Christmas money I'd tucked away. (It sounds far more noble that way, and, bonus, it's true.) I was talking about what additional things I'd like for it, and he asked how much those cost, and I quickly tabulated "about $75. And I am WORTH $75, James." Oh, he noted quite quickly, I'm worth much, much more. ;) He laughed about me having a "birthday week" and I immediately corrected him: "Birthday MONTH, my friend."

So here it is - I got one helluva deal on this, too.

It's the KitchenAid 6, which is the biggest one they make. (Well, I think the parent company makes industrial mixers, but really, we'd have to convert the dining room into a bakery. And have a serious discussion about upgrading the oven!)

Anyway, I got it in the color shown above, pearl metallic. I bought it at my local Mar-Beck, which is a treasure trove of refurbished items, and it came with the same warranty as if I'd bought it new. They told me most of the mixers they sell have just had dinged-up boxes or missing a beater or something, and besides, they're the place it goes if it has to be fixed under warranty, anyway. The price was fabu, AND I had a coupon! I know they are offering free shipping on orders over $200, so if you're in the market for one of these, consider buying from them. It's bad-ass. I can't wait to make some dough and not hear the sad grinding of my little KitchenAid's motor. I may save the mixer to give to one of our nieces one day, just to keep it in the family, or else we'll see what CraigsList can bring us...speaking of which, SOMEone is now the proud owner of a fishing boat! Yep! James came out while I was floating in the pool (yes! A pool! I'm spilling all our purchases) and informed me he'd found his dream fishing boat. He did a little negotiating, and in keeping with our plans to stay-cation, we spent the money on something that will be around for years and didn't make us feel queasy to buy it.

For whatever reason, a trip to Mexico just left me nervous...queasy... it just didn't quite feel right. So, the first compromise on staying home was to buy one of those inflatable pools. Of course, that in of itself required compromise, as I wanted something like this:

How can you not love a pool called the "Parthenon"??? Ok, OK, it's a little ... big.

SO, I came home from Wal-Mart with this pool:

It's 12' wide, it's 36" tall (but the water is about 29" at the deepest spot - we have a concrete patio that's slightly slanted for runoff). Relaxing and fabulous. I've been in it every day since we put it up - yep, even when it was just being filled, straight from the hose! I've always been a water junkie. I love pools, I love swimming, tubs, water in general. Something peaceful and transcendental happens when I float around in a tub of water, and I decompress. It's nice. I've always wanted a pool, my whole life, and would lobby for a motel with a pool whenever we traveled. I even wanted a pool more than I wanted a moped, which is saying something. Alas, it was never to be.

So there you have it. We've actually been pretty frugal lately - dining out has taken a nose dive, and it helped that all of the above were really good deals. Someday - maybe someday - we'll have the Parthenon, but that will require a pool boy. (I'll work on the application process! And we'll have to convert the workshop into a pool house.) OH, and before you even ask, NO, the dogs are not allowed in the pool. It would be fun for about 30 seconds and would turn into a major nightmare, not to mention the fact they'd tear up the vinyl with their claws and there goes the pool. It's just high enough that they can't really see in it, and they've left it alone. So, here comes Summer, and for once, I'm ready.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:39 AM | link |

Monday, June 30, 2008

All-in-All, A Good Day.

The beginning of my day had someone telling me they thought I was brilliant (and no, they weren't from Dublin, where EVERYthing is brilliant), and it came from someone I respect, so it definitely meant something. The end of my day (well, the sun's going down, anyway) contained an email from The Loopy Ewe, informing me of a sneak-up, and my DPN holders are in the store. I hope they sell at least one or two, so I don't throw up in horror and embarrassment! No news on the scarf exchange, but I appreciate the sympathy and shared frustration with the situation. It's a bummer, but what can I do at this point? Nuttin', honey.

There's lots of other good news, but if I stuffed it all into one blog post? It'd be like eating all your movie theater candy in the first five minutes. But hinty-hinty, we have done our part to stimulate the economy in the past three days, and someone just might have herself a fabulous birthday present! :)

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posted by PlazaJen, 7:53 PM | link |

Just slightly addicting....




Try it yourself here!
posted by PlazaJen, 9:22 AM | link |

Friday, June 27, 2008

Oh Hope. One of these days.....

So, ya, regular readers will remember that last Fall, I did that whole International Scarf Exchange, and as the due date neared, my secret pal bailed on me and never communicated a reason why or anything. But I was fortunate enough to get an angel in Taiwan, who swiftly knit something up for me, and sent along some lovely goodies as well.

I decided I could give it another go, despite all my bad luck with swaps. But now we're back at the "email us if you still haven't gotten anything" point, and I just feel stupid. STOOPID. I even volunteered to be an angel this go-round, because I thought HOW could it happen again? And who knows? Maybe something happened, maybe there'll be a package arriving tomorrow, maybe maybe maybe. But I hate writing like I'm a petulant 14-year old, and it's stupid to get my feelings hurt, but there you have it. And the only way to prevent this from happening again is to STOP participating. I apparently have terrible luck with these things and I can't keep thinking "this time will be different!" So. I'm not doing another one of these. I'm doing a swap with my 'net friend TussahSilk, and we'll get around to sending each other care packages of yarny goodness. (See, we don't set a deadline or really any ground rules? But I've already gotten her a couple of things, and eventually, I'll reach the point where I say, "Yeah, that's good", and then we'll email some more and then we'll both fulfill our respective ends of the deal.)

Grumble. I'm sooo glad it's Friday. Hubs finished summer school today and he couldn't be happier. I'm gonna get my toes done tomorrow, and prepare for my last week as a 39-year old!
posted by PlazaJen, 3:50 PM | link |

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Revisionist History

I used to want to be Madeleine Kahn when I grew up, because she wasn't a standard measure of beauty or aspiration. Of course, she was beautiful, but mostly she was hilarious. The sort of gal who would throw you for a loop when she opened her mouth and cursed like a sailor or something, but you didn't have time to be shocked because you were already laughing. Then she died at the very young age of 57.

So, now I want to be a blend of a couple other atypical women. Swoosie Kurtz reminds me of Madeleine Kahn, to some extent, and Kathy Bates is flat out talented, funny, and scary as hell if your name is "James Caan".

I know, I'm going to always be... ME. I'm ok with that. But I get flashes of the women who've influenced my life, and who I want to become as I age (gracefully or not), and I am keenly aware of how Hollywood makes women my age "disappear". I'm just not comfortable blending into the wallpaper. I never have been. It's a joke I love to say, "I'm shy." Of course, I can be, I can dislike talking or dealing with people or situations and want/need time to myself, but I'm the girl who wants to charge forward when something feels scary or intimidating. Beat it down and smile like a fool.

In other good news, I think it's finally safe to announce it: I'm capable of truly being happy. I made small talk with a stranger at Sweet Tomatoes the other night and laughed and realized from the inside out, it didn't have an iota of "cover" or lie in it. You wouldn't assume it to be true - I've cried more the past two days, between blog posts and NPR stories (oh my god, you have to listen to this one - I had no idea, and it's so heartwarming. And such proof that one person can make all the difference in the world.)

But I think a part of me is finally buying into the idea that it might, after all, be ok. I know I'm going to have my dips, my nose-dives, my hull will drag on the sandbar and I will be buffeted into rocky outcrops. But in the end, I want to be someone who made a difference, and didn't give up. Always with some laughs along the way.

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posted by PlazaJen, 3:49 PM | link |