PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Monday, January 31, 2005

Spellers of the World, Untie!

As spotted at a Mexican restaurant in Overland Park.....


I think if you're going to spend good money on a custom sign, then you should a) know how to spell or b) employ a company that knows how to spell. I don't really see a lot of alternatives to this, and while we all make typos? This should not be an arena in which typos are made. I'm stubbornly digging in my heels on this one, folks.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:29 AM | link |

Sunday, January 30, 2005

8 Track Flashback: Upside Down

OK, this is kind of a scary flashback. But it had a pivotal effect on me, and so I'm going to share it.
It's 1985, and we're driving back from Fall Break on I-80, heading back to Grinnell and my roommate, Elizabeth, and I were riding with a fellow schoolmate Amy, a girl from a nearby town. She had a behemoth tank of a car, one of those two-door Buick boats or something, made of steel and sweat and probably iron. We were listening to Sting's big album, "Dream of the Blue Turtles". My roommate was asleep in the back seat, and none of us were wearing seatbelts because, well, it wasn't a law, we hadn't grown up wearing them, and we were 17-18 years old, which meant we were immortal.

I noticed, as we drove along in the right-hand lane, a large semi that kept "hanging out" in the left-hand lane - almost enough to pass, then falling back as we climbed the rolling, sloping inclines. I noticed someone had scrawled "Wash Me" in the dirt on the back panel.

It was when we were neck-and-neck with the semi that the crash started. The semi driver decided to change lanes. And there we were! Right there next to him. The impact of his tire hitting the driver's side actually left one of the lug nuts embedded in her door. Every time I start to tell this story, I think about how unbelievable this must have been to see from the other side of the highway. The physics involved were pretty amazing. The force in hitting us spun us around the highway, and I think the semi started hitting his brakes. What that resulted in was our vehicle, facing the wrong way down I-80, headed straight AT the Mack Truck. How did I know what brand the truck was? As I was flung across onto Amy in the front seat, I looked up through the still-intact windshield, saw the letters "M A C K" and the only thought I had was "I'm falling in front of her! She can't see to drive!" it was all very slow-motion, and then I don't remember any of what happened next. The Mack Truck rammed us head-on, as he was braking and moving still, into the right-hand lane. We were still doing this waltzing-spinning thing, though, so that impact spun us further, and now we were (according to witnesses) once again heading in the correct direction (West), but now on the OTHER side of the Mack Truck. Where we were hit, again. And that is when we flipped into the median. A soft, grassy median, slightly depressed, between the two ribbons of highway. And that is where my consciousness clicked back in. I had traded places with Amy, and was on my hands and knees in glass. My nose was bleeding. Amy was saying, "Are you all right?" over and over. I said, "My nose is bleeding." So, as any good driver/hostess would do, and after all, she was right by the glove compartment now, she opened it, causing all of the contents to fall onto the ground. She extracted a tissue and handed it to me. I said, "Thank you." I had never been in shock, and I guess you're not really supposed to know you're in it, that's all part of the body's scientifically awesome way of shielding you and preserving you. But at that moment, I could have spent the next half hour contentedly daubing my bleeding nose and exchanging niceties with my schoolmate. Then I finally heard Elizabeth. Hell of a way to wake up from your nap, and she had all her faculties in order, and had seen enough movies in her day to be completely convinced the car was going to explode. She was frantically trying to open the passenger-side door. She was screaming at me, "JENNIFER! Try your door! The car is going to blow! TRY YOUR DOOR!" In my fog, I thought,"Hm, yes, getting out of the car, good idea, hm, ok, I'll turn around and find the door."

I could not open the door. I had one second of consternation. And then I looked up, because it was starting to open. I will never, ever, ever, until I die, ever forget their faces. A husband and wife. I remember her face more, it was the first one I saw. Brownish-blond curly hair. But what I remember most was the hard firm line her mouth made. Her lips were pressed so hard together, with the determination and force of what they were doing, which was dragging open a steel car door, through earth and grass and dirt and rocks. Their fingers curled around the bottom of the door and I heard other people shouting, but they didn't spare an ounce of strength on words. They were the Human Jaws of Life. And all I could think in that moment was, "They don't know me and they're trying to save me." They didn't know me. But they were doing this miraculous feat of human strength for me, for us. They were going to save us. And it still makes me cry, because it was that moment when I felt that people, human beings, 99% of them, are born good people. They know in their minds, hearts and guts what is the right thing to do, what is necessary, and unthinking, they do it. Oddly enough, the only thing that really made me angry that afternoon was that the truck driver didn't say he was sorry. I realize now, being older, having had a fender-bender and consulting my insurance card, you're not supposed to talk to the other people except to ask if they're all right. I am sure, if he's still alive, he has never forgotten that day, either. I'm sure a lot of people still remember it. I remember being approached by at least two people trying to give me a pillow or a blanket. ("By god, Ethel, that emergency kit we've had in the trunk, THIS IS WHAT IT'S FOR!") I recall being a little stymied by the pillow offer: was I supposed to lie down and take a nap? I just wanted to stand on my own two feet. I wanted that man to say he was sorry. I wanted my nose to stop bleeding. Cars were stopped up and down on both sides. It was like a movie, and as I try to remember it all again, only flashes and pictures come back.

The ambulance workers were stunned we weren't wearing seat belts. I had the most injuries, with a scraped knee, and bloody nose. We waited for a ride in a fire station in a tiny town off of the highway. Amy's roommate rode along with Amy's boyfriend to retrieve us, and her first question was, "Were you listening to Sting?" When Amy said yes, she dramatically replied, "OH NO." Like the album would be forever ruined, and that was the most important thing to focus on. Her boyfriend thought he would lighten the mood & drive with his knees and try to joke about what had happened every time we passed a semi, and seemed impervious to Amy's scathing reaction. I realize now they were young, just like us, and coping in their own way with what had happened. I mostly sat in stunned silence. All the tears came later, when I heard my parents' voices on the phone, as they realized, and subsequently, I realized, how lucky we were, and how closely we brushed by death that day.

If I could do one thing in the years I have left, it would be to thank that man and woman who wrenched open our car door. I would thank them from the bottom of my heart. For giving me perspective and teaching me, in just a few seconds, that we are all here to take care of each other, to love each other, to even disagree with each other, and to do the right thing when the opportunity presents itself. Even for a stranger.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:06 AM | link |

Saturday, January 29, 2005

My Life As A Dog.....

OK, if my dogs had opposable thumbs & knew how to knit? Our daily journals for today would be identical:
8:45 a.m., woke up. Puttered around and made coffee (ok, the dogs don't drink coffee. Tap water is their beverage of choice.) Watched TV. Knit. Ate leftovers (just me. dogs got chew sticks.) Got on the Computer (Polly's working on learning Adobe Photoshop because she thinks the pictures I take of her could be enhanced a bit more.) Knit. Took nap. Long nap. Awesome nap. Best nap ever. Woke up. Ate more food (everybody did). Watched more tv. More Knitting. Back on computer (Suzy is interested in researching bigger-screen tv's, because her pillow is in front of our main tv, and she knows we could do better.), and tonight's agenda looks familiar to the day's: more computer, getting caught up on TV taped stuff, KNITTING! and noshing. Except the dogs will get their ginormous bones when we go back downstairs, and me? I don't like to chew on those so much. And then another night of sleeping, and I can say after the week I've just had? I love my life as a dog.

posted by PlazaJen, 6:36 PM | link |

Music: The REAL Fabric of Our Lives

I think that one of the things that helped my husband & I forge a bond early on was not only our silly senses of humor, but the fact that EVERYTHING'S A SONG. I didn't ever really think other people did this, until I met him. And boy, howdy, he does it, too. We sing. We make references to songs all the time. We make up our own words to songs, suitable to the situation at hand. Weird Al Yankovic would love to be a fly on the wall to just get some inspiration. Sometimes the references or songs are bad. That's when the other person goes, "Streeeeeeeetch......" and then the fallible singer usually tries to justify why it's not a stretch and, in fact, worthy of a multi-million-dollar record deal.

So today, I give you the original source of my husband's nickname. J.Wo. His name is James, not Jim, Jimmie, Junior, J.R., Jamesie, JayDub, or JammaJam (though I kinda like that one, having just now made it up) . His last name starts with the letters "Wo". We were living at Widow Creek (ok, it's Willow Creek, but it's basically God's Waiting Room, disguised as an apartment complex) and Jennifer Lopez had dropped her album "This is Me....Then" and you know you heard that damned Jenny From The Block song alllllllll the time back then. All over tv with the video, featuring Ben Affleck, who is still barely redeemable at this point, and the whole "I'm jus' like you, only I got 8 gajillion dollars now, so don' be a hatah even though I can dance in shoes you can't even walk in" schtick. Well, I'm a hatah. Yes, it's an earworm, and it's catchy, but J.Lo just ain't mah thang. But I dubbed hubby J.Wo, and it stuck. And he's mah thang, to the moon and back. I give you the chorus I re-wrote, back before we got married, and I still sing it once in a while, just to make him laugh. And yes. I'm unabashedly ripping off "Jenny From The Block":

Don't be fooled by the ducks that he shot
He's still, He's still
J.Wo on the dock
Used to live in Clinton,
Now he's not
No matter where he goes he knows that I love him
(shouted: SO SO MUCH)

posted by PlazaJen, 8:55 AM | link |

Friday, January 28, 2005

I Would Have Arrested Me....

Sometimes, I think, having a hidden camera on me could really pay off. For me, of course, and for you, for the hilarity of it, so much so, you would gladly pay $5 to watch 5 minutes of my life, and I would even give you popcorn, which is more than you can say about AMC.

Last night, I left Barnes & Noble and realized if I were to continue on the road I was on, I would have to turn right. South. Opposite direction of where I wanted to go. So I hang a dramatic left, and I'm driving around the shopping area, up to the backside of it, to exit (hopefully) in the correct direction. Now, this is where it gets kind of graphic and icky and I will minimize your discomfort as much as I can. The background is, I go through phases, especially in the winter, where my body decides it must move into high mucus production, and much like how the Sargasso Sea produces seaweed, my sinuses, throat and upper respiratory area are extra "full". Enough said? So I'm driving, and I do that back-of-the-hand across my nose and YIKES I get more than itchy nose relief, very gross, and now I'm flailing one hand because I have STUFF on it and I don't want to get it anywhere and I can't find a kleenex or even a McDonald's napkin. And I'm still trying to get out of this *(&*( shopping center. I hang another right. DAMMIT! That also is an exit with only a one-way option, going SOUTH! Checked my mirrors. Put it in reverse. With the Icky Hand. I then make a dramatic, crazy one-handed turn into the driveway of a restaurant. I have to grab the steering wheel with the NastyHand, and in my flailing, I hit the wiper blades. OH MAH GOD. I'm trying to do a three-point turn now, because the parking lot looks full and why go all the way in, they might see my snot, and I'm in Kansas and Johnson County and they might tar & feather me and never let me back in and I do like to shop here, especially after Christmas. So, this driveway? It's not Standard Size. I am now doing the Mike-Myers-Austin-Powers Tiny-Go-Cart Turn-Around-Maneuver. Inches forward, Inches Back. The wiper blades are still going. I hit them again, and finally get myself out of the damned driveway, and heading north, once again, my beacon, my Jackson County residence pulling me in with its Death Star Tractor Beam. And in the back of my head, I'm thinking, "If a cop sees me, I am totally going to have to take a D.U.I. test, and he is NOT going to want to hear a booger explanation for this crazy driving." Must GO NORTH. The wipers are on intermittent. WHY WON'T THEY STOP? I suddenly have a stab of empathy for my husband who always hits them accidentally and I just giggle giggle giggle at him. And then I realize what has happened. OH MY GOD the booger on my hand is gone. Now I'm completely freaking out. I'm diving for the dash compartment, and grab a napkin out. Not that there's anything TO WIPE because it's now IN THE CAR somewhere and my GrossOut quotient is through the roof. Must Be Found. I get SuperTerrier about things, and this falls into the category. It's like my entire brain shuts down and I must focus on this, it must be solved, I must dig the rat out of the hole, now, now NOW NOW NOW and everything else is just white noise and whooshing. Makes you happy I was behind the wheel and you were in bed, eh?

Right before I got to the intersection to turn North, Finally, North, to the Highway and Home, I found it. Yep. Wiper handle.

Teach me to wipe my nose like that, ever again.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:50 AM | link |

Thursday, January 27, 2005


So if/when I have my own company someday? My people (ok, my dogs) will have to listen to "Black Betty" by Ram Jam at least once a week. On eleven. WHOA Black Betty, bam-e-lam.

We'll probably have to listen to over half of this "Blow" soundtrack I borrowed from Stephanie. Manfred Man Earth Band's on it! I'm rockin'. Headphones are the GREATEST THING EVER. Good thing I can type and refrain from air guitarin'................

I don't care what Mamma says. Look into the eyes of the sun: that's where the fun is. OK. Keyboard solo......

posted by PlazaJen, 2:27 PM | link |

So it's not a COMPLETE list

But I am married to an awesome guy. He thinks that every small thing he does that doesn't meet the Princess' Approval (that would be ME) is fodder for the destruction of his public image amongst my friends & co-workers. It's not, honestly - we just all swap stories to remind ourselves that we, as women, have cornered the market on superiority in some areas, and are reassured to hear that all menfolk engage in the same "stuff". They have the market cornered on things like sports, sports trivia, guns, moving large heavy objects with each other communicating only through grunts and whistles, and dealing with car things. And peeing their name in the snow. TOTALLY cornered the market on that one, dudes.
However. All of that aside, I wanted to trumpet my praises for him because I probably forget to say "thank you" and "I appreciate it", especially when I'm shooting the Brimstone and Anger out of my eyes, as much as I try to hit the off switch when I pull in the driveway.

My hubby has taken CARE OF ME this week, the worst week ever. He took out the garbage AND the 8,000 lbs of recycling (because we'd screwed up and missed the pickup two weeks ago and four weeks of recycling in our house is like a dumpster's worth, it seems. I am the Recycling Princess, among my other titles, and fanatical about it. All those years in MinneSOta conditioned me for my Recycling Rule of Terror:"GASP! That can is to be recycled!" and "You can't recycle THIS! JAMES!") He has taken care of all dishwasher duties. My big contribution was to close the door on it the other morning, and it was purely selfish - I didn't want to crack my shin. He has taken care of the dogs, constantly. He has been my prep cook, cutting & dicing and opening cans so I do the Fun, TV Show part of cooking. He made li'l smokies & homemade french fries last night, and this is the best part, put FIVE BOTTLES OF BEER in a bowl, on ice. I wanted to uncap three on the spot and drink them all at once. But I did not. I barely got through the second one, my dreams of pounding down the brewskis have long been bigger than reality, and alas, alack, I can no longer hold my own like I did in those college years.

And this? This was awesome. I'd forgotten ALL about my pile of wet laundry that I never hung up and had sat on top of the dryer, for, like, a week. And he re-washed it for me last night. You're the greatest, sweetie! The Greatest Sweetie. I love you! Thank you!

posted by PlazaJen, 1:53 PM | link |


.....with great thanks & apologies to Lewis Carroll, and his “Walrus and the Carpenter” poem.


The time has come," the Husband said,
"To talk of many things:
Of yarn--in skeins--and pattern books--
Of needles and stitch rings--
And why that bit has got a knot--
And where to stash these strings."

"But wait a bit," the Knitter cried,
"Before we have our chat;
Even if we‘re truly out of room,
I never tried to tat!"
"No hurry!" said her husband.
She thanked him much for that.

"An online auction," the Hubby said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Knitters and Bidders everywhere
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready, my Knitting dear,
We can begin to weed."

"But not my yarn!" the Knitter cried,
Turning a little green."
After all the shopping I‘ve gone through,
That would be very mean!"
“These yarns are fine,” the Husband said.
“You‘ll never knit these, too!”

“But this one’s wool! and these are silk!”
The Knitter began to wail.
“I simply cannot let them go!”
Her husband shook his head.
“I give up!” he laughed, and with a sigh,
Made his way to bed.

And so her stashing style grew more,
Hiding bags and such,
It’s Noro, it was all on sale!
Can you really have too much?
An AbFab kit, in creamy pinks,
“It called to me,” she said.

Her Mission, it did truly seem,
was simple in its scheme
To buy up all the yarn she saw
And knit it in her dreams....

I wrote this for our Guild Newsletter, May, 2004. Yeah, that's a copyright statement, I do believe. Steal without crediting me and YE SHALL SUFFER. Unholy boils & blisters, not to mention all your yarn will be KNOTTED and TANGLED. On that note, have a spectacular day!

posted by PlazaJen, 7:54 AM | link |

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Wrap it up. Reynolds Wrap, that is.

I think I would rather chew on tinfoil than work today. Yes, yes, I'd say that's a correct and fair assessment of my mood. My headphones got me through the morning. Now, having worked through lunch again, I see this afternoon sloping out in front of me like the white-hot sands of the Sahara and no Orangina stand in sight & while I contemplated a faux suicide attempt with a plastic knife, I just couldn't go through with it. It's so hard to get blood out in the wash, and I'd rather save my strength for whining.

Or chewing tin foil.
posted by PlazaJen, 1:33 PM | link |

Flying Under The Radar With Stealth Socks

OK, I totally mis-read a spam email subject line this morning. Apparently it was about stocks, not socks, but I like my version better. I think a sock design is in order, post-haste, to create some Stealthy Socks. I'm not sure what would be included in such a design, but isn't that the joy of creativity and dreaming?

Reason #491 why I love my husband:
Back story: I sit in an office. With a door. I'm lucky. However, I have people on either side of me, who, yesterday, were having GLORIOUS DAYS. So much laughing, so much levity, so much loudness - it doesn't matter if the door is open or shut! If you read my blog regularly, you know that yesterday was NOT a glorious day for me, but in fact, a day of Reckoning and Brimstone, shooting out of my eyes. So, do not paint me the Evil Beyotch (yet), I support anyone who can have a Glorious Day With Much Laughter and The Laughing That Never Ends, because it's important to be happy. However, it is much like being the child who is chained in at recess, facing the windows, with a thousand repetitive sentences to write, the whole time watching others shout and run and whack the tetherball, WITH GLEE. So my teeth lost a micron of enamel yesterday.
Back to reason #491. I called home around 7, as I was getting ready to leave, and informed Hubby that I was stopping at a large discount retailer on the way home, to purchase HEADPHONES. He said, "You know what else you should buy for you?" (I said, "What?") "You should buy that new Snow Patrol album."
OOOOOOOOH he knows me well. It had arrived from Amazon/CDNow the day before & I'd forgotten to mention I bought it. Mostly because it's not his kinda music. "I already have it, but thank you, so much. It's awesome, and I love that you think of these things, even if I've already gone & bought it." Which is one of his more frustrating experiences with me - it's tough to buy me stuff, because (JUST LIKE MY FATHER) I go and get whatever I want. (within reason, can I just point that out? I don't buy gemstone jewelry or really expensive gadgets.)

MiniRant of the Day: Simple Life Interns, Paris & Nicole. Please, please, can we send them into outer space & lose the camera connection? These two have no discernable talent, really, nothing except marginal fame, skinny asses and way too much money. They make my eyes burn. The only other rant I have is I put too much product in my hair and it's crunchy. Gak.

posted by PlazaJen, 9:15 AM | link |

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

OOC, Baby, O. O. C.

OOC= Out Of Control. I wanna be the one. In control. Miss Jackson. I AM NASTY! I have tried to extricate myself from the Angry Eyes. HOWEVER. Now, the slipshod construction in our employee bathroom is making me mad, and I am viewing this as a sign of the apocalypse. I should not be this upset over doors that don't close quite right, or bang open when another door shuts. BUT COME ON. Sometimes the only peace I find is in the quietude of the bathroom stall, and to have to worry that the door's gonna fly open, that just jangles my nerves. The metal box for - you know, stuff you don't want to carry around, and need to throw away? That thing sits on the floor because it's not installed correctly. ICKY! The paper towel dispenser has a sharp edge on one side & people have cut their hands on it. Why don't we just re-tile with broken glass & put some ammonia in the soap dispensers for good measure?
It's not my company's fault, it's the building's fault. Sometimes, the lights are out. For hours. If you use the Skinny Person's stall, which was narrowed for the OSHA handicapped stall, you crack your knee into the toilet paper dispenser. OH GOD. Don't get me started back on those damned toilet paper dispensers. I got so mad I almost broke it one afternoon. Thank our Merciful Father that it was working ok today, because I might have found some Herculean strength & pulled the entire unit off the wall. OFF THE WALL. Michael Jackson. Great album. What happened, man? I'm disappointed in you. And let me tell you, that is NOT THE COLUMN YOU WANNA BE IN these days.

posted by PlazaJen, 1:43 PM | link |

Angry Eyes

It seems that in my role-playing of Mr. Potato Head, I have only packed Angry Eyes this week. Well, and the monkey chow. (For the monkeys.) Fortunately, the Angry Eyes are only in place during, oh, basically, daylight hours, so you can draw your own conclusions about the source of my luggage.

I was thinking on my drive in to work today that I should practice forgiveness. Frequently. More Often. And then my mind countered with the fact that I would spend half my day forgiving Stupidity, which, while probably worthwhile, won't necessarily contribute to the humility and inner peace I'm striving for. In fact, it just made my Angry Eyes feel like they suctioned on to my skull a little tighter. It might be advisable for me to wear sunglasses for a while.

And then doesn't that just make you think of that horrible '80's song, by Corey Hart, "Sunglasses at Night?" AAARGH. My brain tortures me. I should forgive him for such a terrible song. Maybe after some coffee.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:59 AM | link |

Monday, January 24, 2005


Knittourettes: sounds like a group of synchronized knitters, hm? Like the Rockettes, but with needles and yarn instead of headgear & pumps.
Nope. It's the affliction my knitpal Abbey suffers from - it started a couple weeks ago, when she started using Judy as her personal ka-cha (that's a row counter for you non-knitters). However, Judy was also knitting, so anyone near Abbey was enlisted to help her remember if she was on a knit row or a decrease row. Eventually, it became Abbey shouting (randomly, mind you, to the rest of us) "KNIT ROW!" or "DECREASE!". Last week, I made the diagnosis: all she needed to do was spice up her shouting (e.g., "DECREASE motherfuckerWHOOP!") and she would be bona-fide: KnitTourettes.

OK, ok. I make everything open season & laugh at it all. So here's the PSA portion of today's blog. If you, or someone you love, is experiencing anything resembling Tourettes, there is hope. Visit this website: and find out more. The more you know, the more you grow. WHOOP!

Ooops. I did it again. I never learn.

I got a friend in trouble with the people at the Bedwetter information hotline, once (this is a mini 8-track flashback) - a girlfriend & I were playing a joke on our co-worker, Steve. (There was plenty of give & take, don't feel too sorry for him. Yet.) We signed him up to be a Red Wing Shoes salesman (and I circulated a memo to the department, asking for business), he got stuff from the NRA after we signed him up for gun cleaning classes by mail, etc. All at work! And we all laughed about it (yes, he did, I'm not just saying that.) But the worst was when we signed him up for more information on bedwetting - and they did a follow-up phone call. At work. And he told the person that it was a practical joke, and the guy went OFF about how bedwetting is SERIOUS, and NOT TO BE TAKEN LIGHTLY OR MADE FUN OF, EVER. Poor Steve, just stammered some apologies and got off the phone - our secretary said he shoulda said, "Hold on, let me transfer you to my wife, Jennifer, she's the one who sent in the card." He didn't, but at least he got taken off their mailing list.

Sometimes I think my personal tagline should be: "Alienating the universe, one person at a time."

posted by PlazaJen, 9:00 AM | link |

Message of the Day

On one of our systems, we get a "Message of the Day" when you first logon. I don't know if it's something created here, most likely it is part of the program & it has a ton of these - and gets updated all the time, because I've never seen the same one twice. I think most people ignore it & move on into the program - but not me. Sometimes they're Mae West quotes, and I love her! Todays message? Kinda scary, in a sci-fi sorta way. And you can apply it to your government, your workplace - it's downright scary in its universality.

"The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views... which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering." - Doctor Who, "Face of Evil"

I need some coffee, and that is not a fact to be messed with.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:51 AM | link |

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Breakfast of Champions

Champion eaters, that is.

I met Roger & David for breakfast today, & of course was ten minutes late. Driving there, I realized I'd forgotten to charge my phone last night - so it was one tiny bar o' charge & my car charger wasn't working - and then the gas light came on. "Who's idea was this to meet at 9 a.m.?" I thundered, mentally. Well, that would be mine. Nobody should ever listen to me when I say we should meet anywhere, at anytime, before 10 a.m. on the weekends. It's folly fueled by idealistic dreams and everyone should have learned that by now, myself included. (NOTE: Unless it is December 26, or the day after Thanksgiving. Then, I am on a mission and there is no such thing as too early.)

The Cute Gay Boy waiter who's worked at The Corner restaurant for years saw me and sang, "There she is!" and I felt like the princess that I am. Roger, surprised, said, "How often do you come here?!" I said, "Not that often." David observed it was probably my Evil Lime Green boa that made him feel at home. CGB hooked me up with coffee & we waited for our assigned waiter.
I always assume half the waitstaff has rolled out of bed hungover, and our waiter was actually still wearing his coat, a coat I recall seeing on classmates back in sixth grade. It's good to see styles recur.

So we ordered. Roger: "Two banana-pecan cakes, a side of potatoes." (Me: "The Atkins platter?") David got a scrambled egg platter. Me: "Two corn cakes," (Roger: "OOOO! What are corncakes?!") and a potatoful with spinach, tomatoes, onions and cheddar. Oh and bacon. What the hell." Roger: "Oh yeah, and a half order of biscuits & gravy." (to me: "You'll eat some, right?" me: "Oh sure." See, it's just so easy to do, because everything's $2-$3 per "side", and it's like Breakfast Tapas, plates and plates and plates to sample. But I tell ya, if you get their filled pancakes, like the banana pecan? They're GINORMOUS and you can't really have three other sides, unless you shove them in your pockets & reheat later. So that's why I went with the corncakes, thinking they'd be smaller. It didn't matter. Everything's big, not small, like Tapas and we embarked on our Greco-Roman Buffet O' Breakfast.)

Our waiter was writing everything down and explaining to Roger (I'm a little fuzzy on the exact wording) that corncakes were like kettle corn, you know, popcorn but sweeter. Feeling a little self-conscious about everything we'd willy-nilly ordered, I said, "We haven't eaten in a week. We chain ourselves to the radiator & we get to come out on Sundays."

Confirming the "just rolled in hungover" theory, our waiter simply nodded at me. Like he'd heard it before, many times. Ah, the old "chained to the radiator" diet. Well, it was a hell of a breakfast & we ate like marathon athletes, training for a - well, a buffet.

posted by PlazaJen, 12:37 PM | link |

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Spit Shine

Driving to Kristin's birthday party, I caught a glimpse in the rearview mirror of a quarter-inch chunk of bangs, sticking straight out at a 90' angle from my forehead.

Without even thinking, I started smoothing it down using my index finger, middle finger, and MY OWN SALIVA. Miliseconds later, a part of me inside started shrieking, only to be silenced by another part of me admonishing, "But it's working."

I have become an old lady. That or a cat. If it's the latter, that'll be bad news because both JWo and I are allergic. Look out. Heaven help you, if you have a smudge on your cheek or forehead, because I WILL LICK MY THUMB AND CLEAN YOUR FACE.

posted by PlazaJen, 10:26 PM | link |

Personal to KB in OP:

Happy Birthday, my dear. Looking forward to your party today, and wishing you unfettered, bountiful joy in the year ahead.

Or, in the words of a dear old friend of mine, "Chin Up, Boobs Out."
posted by PlazaJen, 8:50 AM | link |

A Secret Garden

Last night in the car, James was talking about a message Tim had left him re: hunting this weekend. "He said, 'Houston, we have a problem'." and he went on to talk about the weather & winds and such. If you're a smart monkey like me, you'll connect the dots and that line is practically the title of yesterday's blog! And Tim (after helping move the sofa in) had been on my computer. It's a funny thing, this blog. Something like an exhibitionist diary, and everyone uses theirs differently. When I started, basically it was two-three people reading my blog - friends at work & knitters. And it took a while for the BlogAddiction to set in. Not that I was keeping anything a secret from my husband, per se, I just hadn't gotten to the point of saying, Hey, check out my blog! And six months later & a daily obsession of writing in it now seemed a little late, like there WAS a secret. But secrets often seem like they're bad, and they aren't, always. Like one of my favorite children's books, The Secret Garden, where there is this great sanctuary with tangled beauty and imperfections and a place of healing. (Ok, I give my blog a LEETLE more credit than it may deserve. Stay with me.)
So partway through dinner I asked, "Have you been reading my blog?" and it turns out no, he hadn't, but I gave him the address & he went through a bunch of it last night (me on the other computer, nervous, wondering if I'd inadvertantly upset him accidentally or else he'd want to edit my writing. I'm a paranoid sort.) Honestly, he mostly skimmed, reading for entries about him (and while that made me laugh, and I protested there is MORE TO ME THAN YOU, BUSTER, it's exactly what I would have done.) And then you know what? Turns out HE started a blog before I did. But. Only one entry! The first entry! We chuckled, and I made sure he read the blog in October where I wrote about how much I love him & how overwhelming that love feels sometimes, because I really value the written word, and while it's more time consuming, I think it's still the best way I can really clarify & elucidate what I think and feel. And I'm glad he's reading my stuff now - after all, we spent the first couple of years of our relationship communicating primarily through the computer via IM and email, during the week & on weekends we didn't see each other. I hope he picks his own blog back up, because he also loves to write, and I'd love to read what he has to say. :)

posted by PlazaJen, 8:26 AM | link |

Friday, January 21, 2005

Houston, We Have A Sofa

I got home from Knit Night around 10:45 last night, and I told myself as I unlocked the door, "The sofa didn't fit. They didn't get it in." I was pleasantly surprised: the sofa was IN!

IF you're just tuning in, I foolishly did not spend the extra $50 for delivery & we rediscovered just how badly we move furniture together. The largest and most unwieldy piece, the sofa, has been in the garage since January 3rd. We've had lots going on and the weather hasn't been really cooperative, so it's just been a waiting game, like a ticking bomb, and I've mentioned several times how much I did not want to be his moving partner on this escapade, mostly fueled by a desire to keep my marriage afloat. So, he called his buddy Tim, who came over after work & they maneuvered it in together, probably only communicating through grunts and whistles. (I did not even go NEAR our house, going straight from work to Hobby Lobby & then on to Knit Night!)

Hubby woke up as I crawled into bed. I told him the sofa looked great, and thanked him again.

I asked, "Was it hard to get in?"

The reply: "We would have killed each other."
posted by PlazaJen, 9:00 AM | link |

Thursday, January 20, 2005

I See You! Just a little tease for my knitting friends...... Posted by Hello
posted by PlazaJen, 7:29 AM | link |

Julia's Joy

I returned a call yesterday afternoon to my friend, Rob, and his wife answered his cell phone. We rarely get a chance to talk, so we chatted for a few minutes before he came to the phone. She said, "Remember Julia? The one you made the sweater for? Well, she has some news! Do you want to talk to her?"
I said, "Sure!" There's something about hearing little kids' voices during the workday that's just awesome, like a reminder that there's this whooooole other world out there. Given that I really don't see children very much, I take extra enjoyment in the experience.
A high, teeny voice got on the phone. "Heh, hehlO?"
"Hi Julia! How are you?"
In a breathy rush, at top volume, she replied, "I GO POTTY IN THE TOILET NOW AND WEAR BIG GIRL PANTIES!!!!!!!"
I don't know what news I was expecting, but that wasn't it. I tried to contain my laughter, because I didn't want to put a single mark on the pride that was surging through the phone.
"You DO? That is great!"
(me laughing, I couldn't help it.)

I could hear her mother in the background laughing, and she got the phone back from Julia. "She is very proud!", I said.

"Oh yes. We've been trying everything, and then she just made up her mind to do it, finally. But I tell you, we were at Target today? And there was a man there, probably 80 years old, and Julia walked up to him, put her hand in her pants & pulled her panties way up out of her pants and told him 'I WEAR BIG GIRL PANTIES NOW!' and I thought he was going to fall over."
Now we're both laughing. It turns out there were some young girls shopping there, too, and she went up to them and did the same thing.
It's funny, to think about the world from a three-year-old's perspective. After months of offering bribes, cajoling, begging, beseeching, and with three older sisters as models of the desired behavior, some switch inside flipped, and she knows what a big deal it is. And boy howdy, is she proud. We could all use some trumpeting, and I'm going to blow mine over the smallest things today. Starting with taking a shower. Did you know I do that all on my own now? I DO!
posted by PlazaJen, 7:02 AM | link |

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Amazing Distaste

Every other Tuesday, I volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House, and as is customary, I called Hubby last night as I was nearing home.

He greeted me with growling noises, and sounded very frustrated.

“Whatcha doin?” I asked.
“OOOOOOh, I got sucked in to this damned Amazing Race and I’m FRUSTRATED.

“Oh, is it Jonathan?” Everyone, even non-watchers or sporadic watchers like me have heard of Jonathan. He treats his wife terribly, and seems to be pretty unapologetic about it.

“I don’t know who they are. I hate them all.”

Oooooh,keeeey, I was pulling in our driveway so we hung up. Walk in the door. Major dog greetings. Hubby is slouched in the BigChair, frowning.

“These people are so stupid! I don’t like ANY of them!” he complained.

I refrained from saying, “Then why the hell ya watchin’?” Instead, I said, “Well, it’s fun to see all the places they go & the things they have to do.”

He continued. “I mean, I don’t LIKE ANY OF THEM!” (He said this at least 3 more times in the last half-hour of the show. I won't re-type each utterance. Just take my word on it.)

I was laughing, mostly on the inside, but on the outside a little bit. My poor hubby. He just liked Rupert from Survivor so much, and he expects Reality TV World to serve him up at least one likeable person in every season. I’ve only watched one full episode & two halves of this season’s Amazing Race, and I didn’t pay enough attention to avidly dislike any of them (except Jonathan, who sort of forces you to dislike him immediately).
As the end of the show crept nearer, I heard a squawk: “DATING MODELS?”
And then I did laugh out loud. “Honey, they have dating models on every season. It’s just the way it is.”

“Well, I don’t like them.”
posted by PlazaJen, 10:40 AM | link |

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

It's Five O'Clock Someplace

All day, my happy yellow duck clock has been stopped at five 'til one. I had yesterday off, and it took me a while to notice His Duckness, stuckness in time.
Now, I've looked at that clock about 20x today, and been perpetually surprised EACH TIME. It was fine before lunch, because for that fleeting moment, time was moving really FAST. But now that it's 4:15 p.m., and I look up and see "12:55", I have a tiny moment of panicky confusion. Wha? Huh? God, this is a long day!
See, our computer clocks (something most people reference) are set to an incorrect clock. I know how to change it on my computer, but somehow the NETWORK manages to override it, and it overrides it with a time that's about ten minutes slow. Which means if you rely on it, you have to play MindGames with yourself so you get to meetings on time - something my husband is infamous for. His bedroom clock? 17 minutes fast. At one point, it was 28 minutes fast. His truck clock? Who knows. It's been anywhere from 11 to 30 minutes fast. I never know what the Real World time is when I look at his clocks. The man hates to be late. He told me, on our first date, that the only thing that could really make him mad would be someone being really late. Honestly, I didn't have a lot of long-term hope for our relationship at that point, because I'm terminally, criminally, and sometimes unapologetically LATE. (I was five minutes late for that same first date!) He has preached the virtues of being on time. He has offered Helpful Hints that could Assist Me. I prefer to state that I live in Reality, where I use the clock on our cable box, which is fed the time from some Naval Academy in Annapolis, and when I tried to change it, it took the cable representative three tries to get through to me that I COULDN'T CHANGE THE U.S. NAVAL CLOCKS IN MARYLAND. But I know that it is the REAL time and I don't have to do mathematical processes to know exactly what time it really IS. And I know that I'm late, by exactly how much, and I will apologize for it, when necessary. But, and I just looked at Mr. Duck again, and it's still 12:55, at least I am not, to quote Foreigner, playing HEAD GAMES with myself. Or that official clock in Annapolis. They won't let you, and I can testify to that.

posted by PlazaJen, 4:14 PM | link |

The Double-Sided Tape Tragedy

People use interoffice email for the funniest things. For ages, we got request to return ALL INTEROFFICE ENVELOPES to the mail room, right away.
A former co-worker & I would ponder that one. So, I return all my interoffice envelopes to the mail room. Then, when I want to put something into interoffice mail, I open my drawer & whups! I don't have any envelopes. So I go to the mail room to get one. And thus defeats the purpose of having an interoffice envelope because now I might as well walk my happy ass & document over to the recipient of my mail. OY. This is why Scott Adams is a millionaire.
Then there's this other person who's always losing her easel. Every two months, the easel MUST BE RETURNED IMMEDIATELY. Some poor schlub is out there, trying to finish his picasso, or else he's joyfully scribbling on a giant tablet, and he keeps borrowing the WRONG EASEL. Thirty thumbtacks, flung in your direction.

Today, it seems, the double-sided tape has disappeared from the business center. Which is where all the office supplies are kept. So I guess we only keep one roll of double-sided tape on hand, and whoever took it is in BIG TROUBLE. Because double-sided taping needs exist in corporate amurrica, for what exactly, I'm not sure, but now that we need to stick things together, the only roll we have is gone. I have long maintained that double-sided tape is a two-faced beyotch that can't be trusted. It looks at you while it's walkin' away. Whistlin'. Because it's just that two-faced. Move the Homeland Security Alert System up a notch, Tommy. Let's roll.
posted by PlazaJen, 11:22 AM | link |

Monday, January 17, 2005

Happy MLK Day, or I Have A Headache, pick one.

Man, I hate weekends where I anticipate being really productive, and then I'm not & all I'm left with is a house to clean, forty acres of laundry & a clingy dog. I took today off to be productive AND relax - my massage is in an hour & a half. Bless the massage therapists of the world. Their work is infinitely more important than mine.

Yesterday, we went to the Studio's sale, and I bought a bunch o' stuff - thank goodness I was paying cash, because the line for the other register was so long, I might have committed hari kari with my size 17 circs I was buying. And it's a bitch getting blood out of bamboo. Plus those suckers are EX-PEN-SIVE, even at 25% off.

I love a sale - but that space is too small for me to love anything about the experience. It was clogged. And when it's that busy, and there are that many people, you do not have the luxury to just move about and drift as you would like, or to stand back from the bins & hold yarns out, peering at them from every angle. That is what you do on every other day - when there's not a sale. You have to be efficient, you can't block the entire aisle, you have to move somewhat quickly. I swear, there were people there who thought they were the only ones in the store. Some of them were on their cell phones, idly blathering about non-knitting things, and blocking people's way to get at stuff. It was SO FRUSTRATING. It gave me the Foulest Mood I Could Not Shake, and I was already dealing with some other stuff that was depressing, so I was BadCompany. Despite that, I still went to brunch with the gals, where apparently an entire freshman class of men also decided to dine. The line? Like the Studio's. But it got better, and I got some caffeine, and I went home & took a four hour nap. I woke up this morning with a pounding headache, and three Excederin later, I am just now starting to feel like there might be hope left for this day. And I have a dream, that someday, allllll my yarn will be knit into perfectly-fitting garments, and I will have alllllll my laundry done. I HAVE A DREAM.

posted by PlazaJen, 10:47 AM | link |

Sunday, January 16, 2005

8 Track Flashback: How My Beloved Escort Died

The fateful day was around the end of January, in a very cold St. Louis. It was a workday, but I had stayed home from work, because I felt sick to my stomach. Eventually, I went out to Schnuck's to get soup & milk & such. By then it was dark, and I lugged the groceries up to my 2nd floor apartment. The kitchen overlooked the garage - there weren't doors, just spaces in the garage & behind the building for the residents. As I put the groceries in the fridge, I thought I smelled smoke.
Now, I've always been paranoid about fire, in every apartment I've been in - mostly because I liked to live in old apartments with loads of "character" and crown molding, and cared less about things like central air, dishwashers, and proper wiring. So I immediately got on my hands & knees and started sniffing the outlets in my kitchen. I don't know what I expected, but I didn't have time to think about it, because as I got up from the floor, I saw the source of the smoke from my kitchen window: the '86 Escort, parked in the garage.
Bright orange flames curled up from under the hood. Smoke was wafting out. I completely FREAKED out. I ran to the phone. 9-1-1. The operator answered, "State your emergency."
Me: "CAR! ON! FIRE!"
I figured using extra words would take more time. "Please hold while I transfer you to the fire department." What the ????? Obviously I am not schooled in how emergencies are handled.
"Fire department, what is the nature of your emergency?"
Me: "CAR! ON! FIRE!"
"What is your location?"
I staccato-burst told them, and after a pause, they informed me someone else had already phoned in the fire, and help was on the way.

I charged downstairs. My neighbor from the apartment below me was outside, too. His wife was out of town for a couple of days, and whenever that happened, he took full advantage of her absence by getting completely, stinking drunk. He was about 72 years old and walked like a cowboy who'd been riding a horse for a really, really long time. He also parked his car right next to mine in the garage.
"My car!" He wailed.
I looked at him, like, DUDE, are you kidding, do you not see MY car right there next to yours, slowly being engulfed in flames? Your car is not ON FIRE.

"She's gonna BLOW!" he started howling, waving his cane and shaking his head. He said this five or six more times, but I had no time to hold his hand. The idea my car could explode was even worse news, and something had to be done to stop the fire. The neighbors in the basement apartment had rushed up with a fire extinguisher, and the husband started doing the point & shoot thing. It was a really big fire extinguisher, and I thought we might have things solved. The fire died back a bit, but wasn't out. Smoke & fire extinguisher stuff was now clouding the whole back area behind the building. The sirens growing closer told me that the firetruck was turning on our street.

I ran down the driveway to meet them. I think I might have been talking, but I mostly waved my arms wildly, pointing in the direction of our hodgepodge group, all witnessing the death of my car.
Off came the hose. I was holding my breath, because I still believed my car could be saved.
Back came the firemen and the hose. "This hose is too short!" someone shouted. "WHA?" Now my mouth was open. They did NOT seem to be hustling to get the longer hose out, not nearly fast enough for my satisfaction. People! Seconds count! This is MY CAR!

Within five minutes, the fire was out. The fire chief, a large, tall, handsome black man, came up to me with a clipboard. "Was this your car?"
"I need you to fill this out."
"Is my car ok?" I asked, hopefully.
"No, ma'am, your car is gone. The fire started under the hood & burned through the firewall."
"Well, we can fix the firewall, right?" (I don't know anything about cars. The fact I had a firewall had to mean something. Fire + wall = fire protection that exists just for circumstances like this.)
"No, it burned THROUGH the firewall."
"But I can rebuild, right?" I was not letting go of my car repair dreams easily.
"Ma'am, everything under the hood of your car that wasn't metal is gone."
"That can be replaced, right? That's just .... parts!" I was unwittingly vying for Stupidest Victim of the Week.
"NO. You're not understanding me. It burned THROUGH the FIREWALL."
Well, when people start repeating things to me, and they're consistent in their answers, I usually re-group for a new approach. I couldn't think of anything, so I started filling out the form with my address.
"Sign right there."
Reality was starting to sink in - I was going to have to get a new car. I was going to have car payments. I had nothing saved up for a smoky day. I had no idea what I was going to do. I had no idea how I was getting to work the next day.

"Are you gonna charge me for this?" I whispered, in a high tiny voice.

The fire chief looked at me with a mixture of amazement & pity. He paused. "No, ma'am. This is covered by your taxes." I had definitly won the Stupidest Victim title back at the firehouse.

I didn't care. It was a huge mental WHEW. I could only imagine how much a fire truck house call would have been. Probably less than a new car, which I've already referenced buying - and at some point, I'll compile BOTH my car shopping adventures into not only an entertaining summary, but I'll include pointers & horror stories that will make you never, ever want to buy another car again. Unless your firewall's been burnt through - and then? No choice.

posted by PlazaJen, 10:39 PM | link |

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Please step AWAY from the Oompa Loompas

Today was like a day brought to you on TiVo. (Or, at our household, the Time Warner DVR, which is WAY less catchy terminology.) Pause. Pause. Pause. The first half of the day was in slow motion, and then around 3:00 I FLIPPED OUT and went into high gear, getting showered, dressed, Polly in her kennel, and BAM out the door to SuperTarget. I gave myself an hour, and I was in the car 65 minutes later. But the major question was: What time does CostCo close? I got home at 5:15, called their information line - turns out! 6:00 p.m. Now I was moving at the speed where, on the DVR, the little arrows are all piled up on each other and we are moving at the highest speed possible. Got dog fed. Bruschetta ingredients gathered together. Knitting travel bag assembled. BAM, back out to the car, and I literally drove like an ambulance driver - arriving at 5:53 p.m. Whew! I had a list, I checked it twice, Baron von Trapp would have been proud. I hit a snag trying to find the goat cheese, as my inside voice started screeching, "WHERE IS THE F-ING GOAT CHEESE?!?!" but I found it, impulse-bought a rice cracker snack mix, and got out in record time. (No gay men in front of me buying wine this go-round!)

We had a lovely fondue party, I had a ginormous cranberry martini concoction and got fuzzy around the edges for about an hour. Beer cheese fondue is SO yummy, and just thinking "beer cheese" makes me nostalgic for MinneSOta, where beer cheese soup is a standard menu item. Mmmmmm. It's funny how a few hundred miles make such a significant difference in food habits, choices, preferences! I noticed when I lived in Minneapolis that the selection of peanut butter & jelly was HUGE. Here, not so much. But if you want BBQ sauce, we've got acres of choices!

The bruschetta I made was copied from the same thing my friend Angela made last weekend - easy sneezy and tasty as all get out! Feel free to create your own version:

Bruschetta for a Crowd

6 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1-3 tsp. roasted chopped garlic (it comes in a jar!)
1-3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 package fresh basil, chopped
sprinkle of kosher salt & freshly ground black paper to taste
Mix together, place in a serving bowl.

Fresh goat cheese - place on a serving plate. (We went through almost a whole tube!)

Meanwhile, slice a french baguette into 1" slices & place on a cookie sheet - butter lightly. Place under the broiler until toasty.

Assembly (let people do their own!): schmear goat cheese on a toasted baguette slice, top with tomato mixture, and try not to eat ten in a row.

We also ate teryaki chicken wings (Gordon's family recipe), and had creme brulee AND peanut butter chocolate pie for dessert. I blew up like Violet Beauregarde & the Oompa Loompas had to come & roll me away. Good thing I was so inflated or else I'd want to pick them up! That's one of my deep-seated fears, not OF little people, but that I'll somehow lose all sensibilities & decide I need to pick them up and set them on a counter or something so they can be at eye level with me. And I imagine that they would not like that very much. I imagine they'd clean my clock for even trying. But on the counter is delightful bruschetta! Help yourself!
posted by PlazaJen, 10:52 PM | link |

More Than You Ever Wanted To Know

I don't normally do quizzes but this one was a little different. And Kristin had me at the top of her list to do it, so I gave it a go. I actually had to THINK! and PONDER! and, of course, EDIT! So here we go:

1. Jennifer
2. Jen
3. Nuge
4. Sweetie

1. plazajen
2. lemonzest
3. uh......... I'm old. I don' have such an exciting life with multiple aliases
4. plaza_jen, how's that.

1. Speedy sense of humor combined with rapier wit, sometimes only amusing to say, hm, me.
2. Being one of the smart monkeys
3. I'm tolerant, accepting & forgiving of everything except stupidity.
4. My blue eyes that ever-shift color & are exactly the same as my Auntie Karen's and my dad's.

1. I get hung up on right, wrong & fair. ALL THE TIME.
2. I am used to being fat, but I wish I were a smidge smaller sometimes.
3. Unable to stick to a routine & an intense dislike of housework
4. When I can't be tolerant I go straight to judgemental, do not pass GO, do not collect $200, I am a judgemental beyotch and it takes a long time to get out of that place.

1. Irish
2. German
3. Danish
4. Black Labrador Retriever

1. Dying (I swear, Kristin, we have a lot of things in common, I'm not trying to copy everything)
2. Wild Dogs
3. Drunk Drivers
4. Right-Wing conservatives trying to ban shit and take away my rights.

1. LIPSTICK. Don't leave home without it.
2. The internet.
3. Caffeine, in the form of coffee, cappucino, diet coke, diet dr.pepper, iv drip....
4. Telling my husband I love him & hearing it from him.

1. Red wool zippy cardigan (I'm cold! for once!)
2. Royal Blue pajamas
3. My wedding ring
4. Furry cream slippers with red, pink, & hot pink polka dots. I AM A FASHION PLATE.

1. Concrete Blonde
2. Annie Lennox
3. No Doubt
4. U2
and a shout out to the Beastie Boys, I'm sorry, I love you, you're just a little overplayed on The Buzz right now. Otherwise you'd totally have the number 4 spot.

1. "Alice's Restaurant" Arlo Guthrie
2. "Just The Way You Are" Barry White (we got married to that song!)
3. "Beautiful Day" U2
4. "If I Had A Boat" Lyle Lovett

1. I would like to try to de-clutter, just a LITTLE
2. writing a book
3. writing a business plan
4. learning more about gardening

1. Trust
2. Humor
3. Independence
4. Acceptance

1. Humor
2. Eye contact
3. Big build
4. A strong handshake

1. Knitting
2. Every Other Craft Under The Sun Except If It Involves Felt
3. Cooking
4. Shopping, but of course!

1. Eat
2. Ignore the housework
3. Go back to bed
4. knit Bobbi Bear

1. Marketing Director
2. Owning my own coffee shop
3. Media Director/assistant director
4. Owning my own media shop

1. Mexico
2. Jamaica
3. Greece (islands)
4. New Zealand

1. Emily
2. Hannah
3. Eleanor
4. Margaret

1. Richard
2. Edgar
3. William
4. Max

1. To be completely debt-free just like the commercials say. (this includes the house)
2. Swim with the dolphins
3. Travel & buy some kickass yarn that will always remind me of my trip
4. Be famous in a limited and non-irritating way

1. Sometimes - I just don't think.
2. I leave my clothes on the floor
3. I like shoot-em-up movies
4. I listen to rap

1. I change my mind a lot.
2. I like chick musicians and could have my own Lillith Festival with my cd collection
3. The small stuff? It bugs me. Don't tell me not to sweat it. I still will.
4. I coo and fuss over cute stuff

TEN CELEBRITIES I'D TOTALLY DO (in no particular order):
1. Michael Chiklis (the bald pitbull from "The Shield", and a doughier version in "The Commish"
2. Henry Rollins
3. Vin Diesel. We said DO, not converse about life with.
(do you see a pattern emerging? Big Necks.)
4. Tommy Lee Jones
5. Benjamin Bratt
6. Benecio Del Toro
7. James Gandolfini
8. George Michael. I will always love him. I could change him, I know it.
9. Lenny Kravitz
10. Kiefer Sutherland

1. Liz
2. Wild Scorpy
3. Bekah
4. Chewdy
posted by PlazaJen, 8:27 AM | link |

Friday, January 14, 2005

Another Thing Only I Will Find Funny:

When I visited my pal Sheila in Seattle a few years ago, their transit system was undergoing a change. As in the phone system you call in to, to hear routes & times & such. (Can I just shout really quickly how much I MISS GOOD PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION? I checked into it here & it would not only require three buses & getting up at 5 a.m. to get to work on time, I'd have to leave every day at 4:15. Riiiiiight.)
Back to the Seattle public transit. So you call this number & enter in information, and then this automated person tells you bus information and times and such. And when they were converting it, they ended up having two sources for the voice information, because they were converting from this harsh Nurse-Cratchett-Beyotch-sounding lady, to this very smooooth, calm sounding lady. With really erratic pauses.
The result? (shout the angry voice in caps, use smooth calm voice for lowercase.)

BUS number 22 WILL BE AT the intersection of MAIN and 30th street at ELEVEN thirty A.M. thank you.

It was like public transit information for schizophrenics, or manic depressives! But lordy did we giggle.
posted by PlazaJen, 5:31 PM | link |

It's Not Just For Fridays Anymore

After my spate of being grouchy & resentful & not-happy looking, I decided Fridays are for being grateful & reflecting on positive things.
I offer into evidence the following, supporting the concept that the end of the world is not lurking around the corner:
1. I'm taking Monday off. Right there, we've swept half the negativity RIGHT off the board.
2. I'm getting a massage on Monday. I hear you saying "ooooh", I do!
3. There's a yarn sale at The Studio starting Sunday & the KC Hip Knit Chicks are descending when the doors open, and going for brunch afterwards.
4. The gay men & Shell Dawgg & I are all getting together for fondue & appetizers on Saturday.
5. I will have oodles of time to myself for knitting & catching up on tv!
6. The work that got shelved & caused a mini-snit got reapproved & I got to toss money from the sky to everyone, including the French-speaking class act guy.
7. My Giant Box O' Calphalon arrived today & I got $370 worth of commercial-grade pans for $80 on amazon AND free shipping. Whatadeal!

Well, I know there's a lot more out there that's worth my gratitude. Most of all it's having so many people in my life who care about me & appreciate me and want to see me happy & enjoy laughing at my jokes, as blue or shocking as they can be sometimes. So I will end with a special shout to Kristin who always asks me, "WHERE IS YOUR COAT?"
Kristin, I wore my coat today. Thank you for not wanting me to die of pneumonia.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:13 AM | link |

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Is That A Ketchup Bottle In Your Pocket?

I think one of the worst things you can say to me is, "You don't look happy." It elicits a knee-jerk reaction in which I feel I must convince you that I am, indeed, happy, even if I'm not, and even if I cannot convince you of this, I still must look ugly, u-g-l-y, yo mamma say you ugly.

What it boils down to is that this was said to me A LOT in high school. "Are you ok? You don't look happy." Hey, newsflash: I'M NOT. I'm in a punk-ass backwards town where I'm on the outside looking in, EVERY DAY, I'm suffering from hereditary chronic depression, even though it hasn't been named yet, I encounter stupidity at every turn, I have to correct my teachers' spelling, and I am not only the reason squeeze bottles for ketchup & mustard are no longer on the lunch tables, I'm the reason there was a moratorium on dodge ball for years, because a senior hit me in the EYE with a half-inflated ball & much to my chagrin, made me cry. I was in 8th grade and EVERYTHING has amazing importance when you're 13. (I skipped second grade.)

So by about Junior year, I learned to be "peppy", and I can still bring Pepster to the surface, but now I can at least laugh to myself, because I always mutter under my breath, "And the Oscar goes to....." But I was reminded about those early Pep days, and how even the guidance counselor was so stupid. This man was concerned about me, to his credit, but he did not really have the ability to go beyond what you gave him on a plate, and so I learned to present my plate with a lot of flourish and Pep, and he left me alone & didn't call my parents out of concern I was going to kill myself. He did, however, ask me if I'd please reconsider getting back together with the boyfriend I had for all of 2 months, Joe (also an outsider) because Joe was so distraught over our breakup, that HE was threatening to kill himself, or (worse) kidnap me on a motorcycle & go away with me. And the guidance counselor thought I should give him another chance. Just so's he wouldn't kill himself. Uh, yeah. Because I hear relationships formed out of guilt really rock the Casbah and are successful long-term. When I think about my reaction & decision to "stay the course & shoulder the entire town's blame for Joe's death" (which did not happen), I am proud of that person, because that was at a time in my life where I wasn't independent, I was completely driven by my parents' goals & dreams, I was so malleable & influence-prone, but my core person within turned one eye up and said, "YO, that's f-d up, no WAY!" Besides, Joe didn't even have a motorcycle. And we all lived, Joe moved away, lucky bastard, and I affected school policy changes until I, too, got to leave.

The ketchup bottle incident happened when Tom got into a food fight & threw food on my best friend, DeeDee. I'm a fiercely loyal person, and that was too much for me. So I grabbed the closest thing (are you KIDDING? I'm not sacrificing MY LUNCH), which happened to be a red plastic ketchup bottle. And I used both hands & squirted an awesome flourishing silly-string pattern of ketchup all over Tom.

Our punishment was to eat lunch together for a week, in the principal's office. Which didn't matter a bit, because in general, we were friends, we BOTH loved Duran Duran and it was just an inconvenience to balance our lunch trays on our laps. And for as finely-tuned as my gaydar has become, I had NO IDEA Tom was gay. (He didn't, really, either.) Because eyeliner and poofy hair and dance music did not signify gayness in Northern Iowa, it was just Suspiciously Different, which meant I loved it, it was just like me, and perhaps explains the how & why of how much I love gay men now.

This afternoon, I did not look happy. I didn't even try to hide it from the person asking. She really cares, and that makes all the difference in the world. So does eyeliner. I just put some on & look 100x more awake and happy. Are you glad to see me?
posted by PlazaJen, 6:01 PM | link |

Les Bon Temps Roulez

Yesterday was a BummerDay, because of all the amassed work - work that piled up waiting while I'd dropped everything & done a bunch of other work for two days prior AND SUNDAY (on a market that's not even mine. Can you smell what the martyr is cookin'?). What made it all even more depressing was that the two days' worth of work PLUS SUNDAY got put ON HOLD by the client, which is their prerogative, of course, as they hold the checkbook, but still, I, as worker bee, get to say THAT BLOWS. So today, I sent emails to the people in the market, letting them know why they weren't getting windfalls of money from the sky, because one of them called (advice: never call me before 9 a.m., bitches & hos, I don't care what time zone you're in) and proceeded to WHINE AND COMPLAIN. Look, beyotch, you had to drop stuff & do some work, but I can bet you dollars to doughnuts that I did more work than you! I will win this contest AND wear a crown of thorns with more style. Back it up!
So, pre-emptively, I sent emails to everyone else.

And the first response I got started like this, from a guy I've labeled a CLASS ACT:
"We are all at the mercy of the client, n'est pas, madmoiselle?"

And all my irritation just washed away, like one of those Calgon commercials.

Because apparently, if you speak to me in French (VIA EMAIL) before 9 a.m., I am putty in your hands. I don't care if he misspelled mademoiselle, the sentiment was there, cherie, and it instantly mellowed me. Come to think of it, when Eddie Izzard did his whole standup bit in French, I found him even more irresistible - kimono, eyeliner & all. Ze language of love, zees ees. Ecoutez, et repetez.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:08 AM | link |

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Paper Cuts, Part Deux, Part Duh

Can you believe I gave myself a SECOND papercut within hours yesterday? And this one was not an ordinary paper cut, or even the next level-up, the manila folder paper cut. This was the shove-your-hand-in-your-purse-and-get-a-paper-cut-UNDER-YOUR-THUMB-from-your-checkbook maneuver.
That one? That one I'm hoping never happens again, ever. I will take the regular paper cuts in stride, but that one really sent me into a tizzy.

posted by PlazaJen, 4:26 PM | link |

Haribo Happy

World Market (CostPlus to those of you out West) sells Haribo Gummi Bears by the 3# bag! I am in heaven. Haribo bears are the only ones (I'm aware of) that come pre-toughened. I love the chew factor. If I get reincarnated as a dog, I hope I get an owner who believes in pig ears & rawhides.

I am about to crank out a major buy, so I'm jammin to Janet J's Velvet Rope, and got my portion of gummies sorted by color/flavor. It's important to be prepared.
And happy.

posted by PlazaJen, 1:26 PM | link |

Eau de Poo

Ah, joyful dog ownership.

I came downstairs last night planning on heading to bed - actually sort of early for me, 9:50 p.m.! As I hit the last stair I smelled an AWFUL stench. So bad I actually looked on the floor for dog poop.
OH NO. "What happened?"
"Your dog."
"I let them out & she ran out front & ate cat crap."
"Wow. It's AWFUL."
Scrambling ensued, as we tried to find the giant CostCo can o' Lysol. Polly was banished to the living room & James paraded through the house, spraying disinfectant.
"I can't believe it smells this much!" I said, tossing Polly two "Yip Yap" dog breath fresheners.
"This is an emergency!" James declared, still pressing down the nozzle & eradicating germs everywhere.

So he trundled off to bed & I decided to hang out & wait for the smell to die down. I finished the "Grim Grotto", by Lemony Snickett, and around 10:30, called Polly to go to bed. As I headed into our bedroom in the dark, the stench hit me again, like a 2x4 cracking me across the nose. "Sheesh!" I thought, and leaned down to find her collar to "click" her in (we prevent night wanderings by keeping her on a leash, tied to the window.) My hands found stiff, icky fur.
OH hell. She didn't eat cat poop, she found a new dog poop cologne, and bathed in it.
Back to the bathroom. The smell was gageriffic. 30 minutes later she was clean, towel-dried, and I was ready for bed with a vengeance.

The joys of dog mommyhood. Just as poop-filled as regular people parents.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:03 AM | link |

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Paper Cuts

I realized several years ago, after giving myself a paper cut, that I had gotten old(er). Because instead of thinking, "DAMMIT! I'm NEVER doing that again!" - I found myself thinking, "MAN that sucks and the worst part of it all: it's going to happen to me again someday."

I'd like to think part of growing wiser is one's acceptance of the inevitable. And today, it happened again (the manila folder paper cuts, seriously, are the WORST) and I did think DAMMIT. But I know, like so many other things in life, there's another paper cut out there, just waiting, with my name on it.

posted by PlazaJen, 3:55 PM | link |

wound UP!

And not with yarn. Apparently, the Blue Valley School District is on a mission to ban books. Books like "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings", by Maya Angelou, and "Song of Solomon", by Toni Morrison. Now, I actually called The Buzz this morning because it got me so wound up. I didn't get a chance to say much (and I didn't get on the air), BUT, what I did say is this: Schools do not exist to legislate morality. That is the job of the parent. When parents step in and start telling schools to behave like parents, I go crazy. Of course schools should be safe. Schools are a public institution, open to everyone, regardless of class, religion or politics. I understand that these parents care, they care about their children, and they care about society, from their standpoint. But we are not talking about a school being able to furnish "Hustler" or "Playboy" to students. We are talking about literature that has stood the test of time! "Catcher in the Rye" for pete's sake. I just keep thinking, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." Because these students, in this school district, are not going to get subversive or sexual ideas about life from these books. They've already gotten that from MTV, Hollywood, and even The Buzz. Hell, Abercrombie & Fitch. And if you've raised your children "right", then they're not going to fall prey to "subversive literature". Stop being AFRAID of books & be responsible, instead. Here's a wacked-out concept: read one of these "subversive" books WITH your child, and discuss it. You might find out a lot more about your kid, and yourself.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:54 AM | link |

Monday, January 10, 2005

Catatonia, Population: Me!

Good GOD Mondays are a drag - but you knew that, right? That's why you're blogsurfing, instead of working! I have so much work to do, it stupefies the mind. So I am giving myself a "treat" and taking a break. Because Cybill Sheperd told me a long time ago that I'M WORTH IT.
I realize, yes, we have to have flat days, in order to have a baseline for the High days and Low days to register. But geeeyod, this is a flat day, flatter than Kansas as you drive across it, searching for anything, something, to rise and break the horizontal line of neverending flatness. I allowed myself to slip into a Walter Mitty moment, and fantasize about other careers ..... police officer..... crackwhore.... undercover crackwhore would be better I think.... owning a yarn shop.... owning a coffee shop.....working at Blockbuster.... being a garbagewoman.... being fantastically wealthy & not having to get out of bed until I say so...... So, pretty much the gamut of opportunities, some with some SERIOUS drawbacks (like, I'd NEVER pass the physical exam to be a cop, and I don't know how to handle a gun so I'd probably shoot my toes off.)

Oh, you thought I'd talk about the drawbacks of being a crackwhore? Actually, I always wanted to work "Crackwhore" into a client presentation. I never did. Except jokingly, in a meeting, just once, and it was with a client I knew really, REALLY well, so it really doesn't count. You've got to be standing there presenting a whole campaign and say something along the lines of, "So, it comes down to this: are you marketing to women, or are you marketing to crackwhores? You have to choose." And do it with a straight face.

Anyway, the stuff I have to do is putting me into a catatonic trance. Good thing I'm wearing a novelty yarn scarf, to catch the drool as I sit, slackjawed, at the computer, staring at numbers. It's the lime-green variegated RED HEART "Foxy" yarn scarf, I made it extra long for looping (and drool-catching) options. I also just ran out of my special coffee concoction - creamer, brown sugar & cinnamon - what Betty Crocker called "Mexican coffee" & I'd make it as a kid (because it's never too early to start drinking coffee, you know.) Wah. Just when you thought the earth was flat, somebody gets out a level & shows you it's even flatter just ahead.
posted by PlazaJen, 1:49 PM | link |

Sunday, January 09, 2005

8-Track Flashbacks, Or How I (Briefly) Ended Up In A Women's Prison

OK, I have (what I think are funny) stories & I'm going to try to write at least one each weekend. Thus the 8-track flashback. Now, on to the more intriguing part: how I ended up in a women's prison.

Last week I referenced the stupendous '86 Ford Escort that died in a blazing fire - that story's pretty damned funny, and it's on my list. Maybe next week. It's a long story. But in any event, I was living in St. Louis, the Escort was charred, I had to get a car, and I didn't know what I was doing. (This would be the pre-Consumer Reports-addicted Jennifer.) So I ended up with a black four-door Neon, mostly because the car salesman didn't treat me like a stupid woman and worked with me on price. It had power nothin'. No power locks, no power windows, I guess it did have power steering, but it would prove to be a car that would provide me with a laundry list of what my NEXT car would have on it. But it did have air conditioning, which was an awesome improvement over the Escort, especially in those St. Louis summers!
So, I had to go register the car. I worked in Clayton at the time, and I called a phone number to find out where I needed to go. They said, go to the courthouse & go to the third floor. Okey dokey!

I got up early (no small feat) and drove to work. My office actually faced the courthouse, and I saw an entrance to the courthouse on the lower level, rather than going up all the "front stairs" like in a movie. So I gathered up my paperwork, grabbed my purse, and walked the block to that lower-level entrance. I am, in general, a pretty observant person. I notice smaller details - whether it's because I'm always seeking humor, or having been a fine arts major, I think you just never know what you're going to find and it's important to look around and notice/see as much as you can. This is a quality that exists quite harmoniously within me, right next to the sing-song doomPAH-DEEdah fogbanks quality that finds me staring at the cloud formations and nearly stepping on a four-foot black snake. So! As I enter this corridor shortly after 8 a.m., I notice, as I head to the elevators, a small sign above a doorway labeled "Sex Offender Registration". I think, "Huh! Well, I am in the basement, that's probably where you'd put such a room."
I get on the elevator. I am surrounded by five men, all of whom are law enforcement sorts. The are all a foot taller than me, but I DON'T CARE: I HAVE A NEW CAR. And I got up EARLY. Look at me go. GO GO GO. I notice that one of them looks at me strangely. I think, "Whatever." Being a big gal and having a unique style has garnered me a lot of looks, so I filter them and buffer them and remember that my favorite part of visiting New York City was the fact that NOBODY looked at me. I press my button. Everybody's silent. In retrospect, I wonder what in HELL they thought I was doing! They all got off on the next floor & I continued on to my floor. When I got off the elevator, it was strangely silent. I started walking along the corridor, because it looks like the only way to go. There are small rooms behind thick glass, but they are empty and it doesn't really dawn on me what they are: cells. DoomPAH-DEEdah! I see a bank of small black-and-white television screens through another glass wall. There is a man sitting in the room, back to me, facing the screens. I do not see myself on any of the screens, because these cameras are on the rooms - uh - cells. A little alarm starts ringing in my head as I clutch my papers and head further into the building, and then there is a door, marked "authorized personnel only" and I think, "I do not think I am supposed to be here." and I beat a hasty retreat. On the lower level, I spy a janitor. I say, "Hello! I am trying to register my car. Where do I go?" And he says, "You need to go next door! To the NEW courthouse." I say, "Oh! No wonder I am confused! They told me to go to the third floor, and I went up there and didn't see anyone!"
He said, "Ma'am, that's a holding facility for female prisoners. You're not supposed to be up there."
"I know," I said, meekly.

Now, of course the rest of my morning did not go smoothly. Turns out if you live in St.Louis CITY you can't go registering your car in St.Louis COUNTY. Two separate things, like church & state. So after getting to the right building and the right floor, I was told I had to go somewhere else to get my plates & registration. It's all very complex & rigid and there is no getting around the rules. However, it was very simple for me to just stroll IN to the women's detention center via an employees-only elevator, and I could have registered someone as a sex offender, for kicks. Which just goes to show that the DMV is probably our country's greatest, impenetrable, complex infrastructure, and we should have THOSE people fighting terror, because they would simply frustrate & stupefy Al Qaeda to the point they'd pack up & go home & drink some gin and thank their lucky Allah for not having a DMV. Imagine if we combined the DMV with the Post Office! We'd have this country safe again in no time. Because the post office, my friends, also holds some 8-track flashback memories, and they are equally stupefying. Tune in next week. We might have to push the burnt Escort story back again.

posted by PlazaJen, 1:32 PM | link |

Saturday, January 08, 2005

SAturday IN the house, I think it's the 8th of January

I LOVE SATURDAYS! And this Saturday, I get to sit & watch tv & knit from the new loveseat or the new giant chair. This furniture is SO much bigger than our old furniture, it's crazy. I'm going to have to seriously re-think the arrangement of everything in the room, because it's just that big. (Funny how it didn't seem that big in the enormous, airy, spacious showroom!)
I'm going to finish the Foxy Red Heart Novelty Yarn scarf, and then keep slogging on the Folly cardigan fronts. I am going to have to break down & do some scribble lace soon, or at least get some socks going, because I can't just do stockinette stitch in gray (no matter how soft the yarn is!) without something else with quicker gratification to distract me.
I'm going to post a few pix right now - I had fun being "arteestic" yesterday, both picking photos to take, and then editing them on the computer. The ice storm is gonna melt over the next couple of days, and my camera's not fancy enough to find the beauty in the coming mudhole.....but don't you worry, hubby said another ice storm's coming next week, and you know what that means, right? DON'T PUT DOWNED POWER LINES IN YOUR MOUTH alerts, all night long.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:15 AM | link |

The outside seating at work, encrusted in ice. I was struck by it when I was leaving Thursday night - I couldn't pull myself away for several minutes. It was like the old days, when I could sit & sketch. (edited: I liked this one in b/w). Posted by Hello
posted by PlazaJen, 9:10 AM | link |

Care to sit? You can't! I discovered they locked the doors due to ice falling off the building! Posted by Hello
posted by PlazaJen, 9:09 AM | link |

SexyPoutyK, sepia toned Posted by Hello
posted by PlazaJen, 9:07 AM | link |

Kristin, as coloring book Posted by Hello
posted by PlazaJen, 9:06 AM | link |

The view of the front yard Posted by Hello
posted by PlazaJen, 9:02 AM | link |

The giant hackberry in the back yard Posted by Hello
posted by PlazaJen, 9:01 AM | link |

Friday, January 07, 2005

Black Ice

As I was driving home last night (pre-moving adventure) I was thinking about how the conditions were primo for black ice. I've only had one encounter with black ice in my life, and while it scared the spittle out of me, I was unharmed.

Minneapolis, MN. January, February, who knows, one of those months where it gets dark at 3 in the afternoon and the air is so sharp it just might shatter all around you. It's after 9 at night and I'm driving around Lake of the Isles to get back to my apartment at the intersection of Hennepin & Franklin. (I miss Liquor Lyle's SO MUCH right now just thinking about it.) If you've ever been around the lakes, you know that they've got wide spots here and there so you can park & then get out & enjoy the bike trails or walking tails. Fortunately for me, no cars were parked in one of these wide spots! I hit the black ice in my little tank of a car (1986 Ford Ecort, and have we got some stories there - It almost seems prophetic that the Escort later died by fire. Fire & Ice! Pat Benatar, where'd ya go?), anyway, I hit the black ice, SPUN 450 DEGREES, and came to a stop. It was like instant teacups at the fair, the spinning was so fast & sudden, but fortunately my ride did not last as long. I had NO clue where I was, what direction I was facing, it was pitch black outside, and then I realized I was facing the lake! I had made a complete circle plus another 90 degrees, and was pointed westward ho! Shaking, I got my car turned in the right direction, and made it home without further incident.

So, when I left for knit night last night, hubby said, "Watch out for black ice!" and I thought, "You can't SEE black ice! I don't know how to watch for it!" but I knew what he meant was, "Don't speed demon drive the Civic because you might never be so lucky again if you hit black ice!" There wasn't any black ice (that I saw), but I sure was cautious.

If you're wondering, I now have TWO loveseats, TWO chairs and the old sofa in my living room & dining room. It's that overstuffed-overfilled-we-need-14-cats-to-complete-this-picture look!
Hopefully it will change, because if it doesn't get done tonight? GRIN. I'm calling my guy friends tomorrow while hubby's out of town for a meeting. Heh. I can be my own version of black ice, baby.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:39 AM | link |

The Handle Opens From The Inside

I had this fantabulous therapist in Minneapolis, she was a crazy-haired earth mamma who was sharp as a whip, and energy & confidence just emanated from her pores. She had several of those hard plastic tubes filled with corn-syrup-like liquid & glitter in her office (you know what I'm talking about?) and any time I started to whine about wanting things to be different, immediately, she would point at the "magic wands" and tell me to pick one up & wave it around because I was obviously engaged in magical thinking, and perhaps I could make it happen with one of her wands.
Now, that sounds really snarky, and she wasn't snarky at ALL, in fact, it was funny when it happened, because it was this gentle way of saying, "Wise up, you will not change that and quit thinking you will." So I got a lot of really good, useful tools from her, but the best one of all came after several long sessions of me describing my strained relationship with my parents, and how they had so much influence over me and how upset they could make me, blah blah blah, and I described them as being able to storm my defenses & burn down the gates and get deep inside where I felt safe & then I was left in a heap. And she said to me, "The handle opens from the inside, Jennifer." And it was like she'd waved that little wand, because BING, a little light went off as I imagined my small submarine tank with my parents on the imaginary doorstep and that I was the one, indeed, who let them in. Obviously I had the power all along, I just didn't recognize it because I was the child, and the parents are supposed to trump child - but that doesn't work so well when you're 26.

Not surprisingly, the workplace also gives you GREAT opportunity to practice things you learn in therapy, even if those sessions were focused on your family. And that is why I have some days where I sit at my desk and shake my head a little and say to myself, "The handle opens from the inside." And I sure could use one of those magic wands!
posted by PlazaJen, 9:42 AM | link |

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Prayers to my Zip Code, please.

I am going to leave the office in five minutes, to go home and move a loveseat & chair IN to the living room, and then move the existing sofa and loveseat OUT of the living room, all before I leave for my knit night.

The couch is its own special living, sentient beast that must be tackled separately, it seems. Perhaps that will be for tomorrow night's entertainment? It will be nice when all of this is over!
posted by PlazaJen, 4:53 PM | link |


I'm thinking of having a giant button made with "I CARE" on it, in as big a font as will fit on my imaginary giant button.
Because to wear it would be so funny! Because it just isn't true anymore. I find this to be a fascinating phenomena when I step outside myself. When I was a freshman in college, and blathering on about something at one of those "get to know each other before you sleep together" dorm functions, and yes, I'd been drinking, this guy just looked at me and said, "You are really a passionate person." He went on to say this in three different ways, but it boiled down to him saying (about me!) that I had a lot of passion. (No, we didn't sleep together, either.) But I was stunned, nay, STUNNED! Nobody'd ever described me like that before. Never ever ever. I was always on the outside looking in, stranger in a small town, exiled and reviled for being different, exiling & defiling myself on the inside from depression & self-hatred & so I adopted a pattern of deflecting and attracting attention with humor and being smart, neither of which have to be about emotion, which is what Passion means to me. So once that bottle got uncorked (and I'm not talking about the alcohol, which was consumed in dangerously copious amounts all through college), I found myself being VERY passionate about EVERYthing. We're protesting something? I was there at the rally, angrily asking questions and hearing my voice waver in indignation & feeling terrified because I was speaking emotionally, not thinking it out first. A cardinal sin under my father's watch, back in those days. But hey, that's sort of what college is supposed to be about, I think. A safe(r) haven to get all riled up in about stuff you still think you can impact.
Right now, I don't see myself having a snowball's chance in hell at impacting the infrastructure here at work. I can't fix it, I can't make it better, I can only make it a little more colorful and entertaining. Despite the inner beast in me railing at what I see is "right & wrong" and passionately shrieking about what is "fair". So that means, sit under a support beam & keep your head down, or get the hell out of the structure. Right now I'm under that beam, but I still have to find a way to laugh - and that takes the form of a giant button emblazoned with "I CARE". I'm disappointed that I have to stop caring (so much). I won't lie and say I don't care AT ALL. I just can't keep Fred-Flintstone peddling with my feet & charging at the salt mine, thinking my force of will, my great passion will bring about some form of impact. I just hurt my feet and head and pride, and make myself nutters.
So, in tiny type under "I CARE", I would list the things I do care about. I care about knitting. And Yarn. And my husband and our dogs and our families' lives, and my friends' lives, and I care about the external world and even people I work with, as individuals. I care about anyone going through misfortune, or depression, or great sadness, and I care about essential Life Necessities, like ethics and honesty and responsibility and respect and intelligence and humor. I feel anger, and sadness for the individuals who walk around with monkeys on their backs the size of baboons, but when they look at me and say "What monkey?" I have to run my fingers around the edge of my very large "I CARE" button and remind myself that I AM NOT A MONKEY TRAINER. And that the handle opens from the inside.
I will explain that tomorrow.

posted by PlazaJen, 1:54 PM | link |

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


So I called Kristin on her cell phone & she was already at work. I was driving through slush and ice and generally badly-maintained (read="untreated") roads, because all the rich people on Ward Parkway told their employees they wouldn't be in to work today and therefore their big road didn't need to be scraped, salted, sanded, pick ONE I'd be happy!
Kristin confirmed that the phones were indeed down at the office.
My next questions was, "Is there INTERNET?"
And there was.
And I didn't turn around and go home, because if there wasn't internet? I wasn't coming in.

Called the hubby right afterwards to report on the sorry state of the roads, and also told him the phones at work were down. "Is there INTERNET?" he asked.
I love him so.

And Chelle, no, the sofa's still on it's end in the garage. It was too nasty last night to attempt it & I'm hoping one of our male friends will happen by & I can extricate myself from the entire process. My "Y" chromosome just does not have that telepathic, how-to-move-big-objects genetic material and besides, I don't like to lift things that much anyway. But if it's not in the house by Friday I'm going to have to take matters into my own hands and call some more guys to come over. Two of them were eagerly showing me moving maneuvers with my guest chair & office door yesterday, so I have some helper candidates. :) And next time? $50. Gonna spend it.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:29 AM | link |

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Do Not Go Near Downed Power Lines

They have said this repeatedly on tv tonight with the ICE STORM OF THE CENTURY bearing down on us here. Shouted with drama & irony.

I say, if you have not figured this out by now, then you deserve to pick up a downed power line, put it in your mouth & see what happens.
Seriously. Modern medicine has allowed far too many stupid people to not only continue living, they are combing their mullets & repopulating the world! And we have to REMIND people not to pick up live sparking cables? The decline of common sense continues to amaze & disappoint me.

Also, am I the only one who thinks Ted Textor is an absolutely HILARIOUS weatherman's name? I think it reminds me too much of Ted Baxter, and I adored Ted Knight SOOOO much on the Mary Tyler Moore show. Ted was going to be my second husband, you know. I even named my teddy bear "Ted Thursday" after him. (why Thursday? I don't know! I was three! Hell, I named my first doll "Nohni", which means, "This is MINE and I will Have Difficulty Sharing Things For the Rest of My Life" in Japanese.) Oh, who was my first husband going to be, you ask? Why that would be Kansas City native Walter Cronkite. Apparently my parents got a BIG ol' kick out of asking their three-year-old child who she was going to marry when she grew up, and I would always walk over to the tv & point at Walter Cronkite, chirping, "Him!" (They only asked this question during the news, for obvious reasons.) So I seemed to carry a very bright torch for white-haired gents at a very early age. I like to think I had an early attraction to intelligence & humor. Walter Cronkite doesn't need to be told twice to stay away from downed power lines, and neither do I, thank you very much.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:03 PM | link |

What $50 can buy

Let me give you this lesson. If you can have furniture delivered for $50, do it.
Because when you can't get a sofa through the door, it's cold, it's 10:00 at night, and your husband is ready to kill you, you would gladly pay $100. I was being frugal & not remembering how badly we move furniture together. I did not anticipate the mathematical problems involved, and I still have no idea how the furniture is getting in the house (the sofa is on its end in the garage, and the other pieces are still in the back of his truck.) Oooooh hindsight, you are a cruel & evil bitch.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:55 AM | link |

Monday, January 03, 2005

Absinthe, straight up.

Man, what is it about the first day back at work? Everyone is glum, and it's not helped by the dismal weather outside. I swear, if it were snowing instead of raining, people would be more excited, even though the drive home would suck. I know I would be more excited. Snow has such a magical effect on me, still - and maybe even more so, now that I don't live in Minnesota/NE Iowa anymore, because I do still remember my first winter in Minneapolis, with wind chills at an arctic negative 96 below zero, and really, when you get below, say, negative 20 below zero? You can just stop counting, really. Because all you end up with is mother fucking ICEBERG COLD no matter what device you're using to measure it, and you instinctively do a hunch thing with your body to try to conserve heat, instead of standing upright. Back to what I was thinking, that snow makes me excited and happy because we don't get that much snow in KC and so it's not somethng that lasts and lasts and requires a tolerance and even hatred for it because it NEVER GOES AWAY. But it's not snowing, so it's a moot point. And I hate it when people write "mute point", as if it's simply silent and making its point with no sound. I am a Citizen Deputy in the Law & Order of Grammar. I seem to be Deputy Digress today.

So it's this gloomy, mucky, chilly wet day, which means if it keeps up, no furniture pickup tonight at the NE Furniture Mart, boo hoo, and then we won't get it tomorrow because I volunteer, and that puts us at Wednesday, which has quickly become THE television night, with Lost and Alias and CSI: NY and Law & Order (the original!) ALL airing this week. I'm actually going to shift some of my taping to the downstairs tv, in hopes it will motivate me to stride along on the treadmill while catching up on my reality-departing indulgences.

Back to the weather, and the overall atmosphere, we came back to have a TON more work piled up on our respective doorways and so there's an ensuing depressing image I get, of juggling flaming baseball bats while trying to walk through molasses. I am not alone with this vision, I sense. It all reminds me of the wonderful painting by Degas, "The Absinthe Drinker", and how I identified with it so many times when I was seriously depressed, and what it still signifies when I think it up in my head - despair mixed with the acceptance that nothing will ever change, the pain of which can only be dulled by a potentially dangerous poison. Lovely. I'm feeling so Up With People just writing about it. Soo........

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, a duck goes into a bigger duck's office and gives them the middle webbed toe. Awesome. The rest of us ducks just paddle like hell underneath, trying to maintain a calm & placid demeanor on the surface ..... hoping we don't get shot.

posted by PlazaJen, 2:01 PM | link |