PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Monday, February 28, 2005

The Imaginary Thai Happy Dance

Bekah asked what a happy Thai dance actually was, and unfortunately, everything I wanted to say to describe such a dance ended up sounding like Ashlee Simpson doing a hoedown. Not happy. I would imagine, though, you'd have to combine the Bangles' "Walk Like An Egyptian" with some very delicate footwork and bending knees. Think "King and I". And to really perfect the dance, you'd need one of those Jell-O mold hats, preferably in gold.

I'm having a rep lunch at Thai Place today, so that's always nice to eat for free. Though, as the t-shirts at a favorite lunch spot in Minneapolis always declared, "There is no free lunch." Which I didn't understand when I was there - dude! A sales rep is taking me to lunch, I'm relatively poor, this is a good thing! Free food! Then, the older I got and the more value I placed on my time, the more I understood why the lunch really wasn't "free". Combine it with some of the experiences I have had with reps and really, I should be charging an hourly fee in addition to my meal being paid for. I hate those lunches. I really don't go on them anymore, because the sensation of wanting to chew my arm off to escape the Lunch Trap isn't very appetizing.

But that is not the case today. My rep is an old friend, we hoot with laughter, and I think she looks at me with a little bit of amazement sometimes, that I'm so blunt and honest and not at all put off by her. Sort of like looking in a mirror.

I may try out the Thai Happy Dance and see what she thinks. Too bad I left my Jell-O mold hat at home today.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:38 AM | link |

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Reason #183 Why I Am Not Employed By Price-Waterhouse

Obviously, reason #1 is that I do not have any training as an accountant.
But I can pretty much guarantee if I were one of those Oscar ballot counters?
I'd be all,
(in saucy, yet conspiratorial, tones)

"WELL. You didn't hear it from me. BUT. Let's just say it'll be more like 'Happy Harry', not Dirty Harry, next week." Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

"And let's hope that boxer girl remembers to thank her husband this time around."
posted by PlazaJen, 10:55 PM | link |

We Interrupt This Program

Last night, I installed Windows 2000, upgrading my computer. Ya. Upgraded the OS, and eeeeverything else went into hiding! So yay! I get to geek out and re-organize my computer. It needed re-organization, but goood gollly miss molly. I have to hide & seek out every single document and image and file I had before I upgraded. It's the equivalence of a tornado coming through, and while it didn't destroy everything? It put everything into your neighbor's yard, and now you gotta go get it and put it away. And re-install every lovin' program I had on here before the upgrade. First item of bidness is to figure out why everything is in like, Gigantor Font for the Blind.
The terrier is on task. (I will come back in my next life as a rat terrier of some sort. I will get squeaky toys and shake them until their squeakers are gone. I will shake with excitement if I think an intruder is approaching. I will not rest until all my duties are done. Is it any wonder how much I enjoy Kyra's dogs? Grin!)
posted by PlazaJen, 10:42 AM | link |

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Sunny Saturday

I love Saturdays! I love bacon! :) James is kindly cooking me some bacon and the smell of it is making me giddy. High on life, high on bacon. Who needs that black tar heroin, folks?

It's always fun to do pictures. I'm posting a picture of the in-progress socks for James, who requested "Black and yellow socks, please." I said, "You realize you will have bumblebee socks?" "Yes, that's fine." I'm using Regia self-striping, and these are definitely socks with character. I always do both socks at the same time, and am partial to two circs. Both skeins seemed to start at the same point, but as you can see, not quiiiiiiite. One had a little more black at the beginning of the skein, and so when I finished the heel & joined the instep, one sock has even a little more character than the other! A little jaunty strip of yellow marching across the instep. I sorta like it, but I did offer to -shudder- duplicate stitch it if he didn't like it. Actually, that was before bacon or coffee, that offer. So it would actually make more sense to just take a Sharpie to it. But it doesn't matter, we're leaving them as they are. Yay! Socks!

Then, we have a few pictures of my friend Kyra's dogs. They are SO FUNNY! I just love 'em. The first time I saw them, they were all perched on the couch, at various levels, staring intently at someone who was eating. They are intense little dogs, and they make me laugh laugh laugh. Thursday night, I gave Sammy a modified hairdo - I swirled his hair on top of his head into a bit of a mohawk. He was lookin' fierce. Kyra's got stories for each of her dogs, as Tommy makes belts in Guatemala and sells them on the beach, Barkley's a math professor, and Sammy's exact story escapes me, but he wears tough guy clothing, I recall that much.

Inspired, I told James last night that Polly wants to take guitar lessons, but Suzy only wants to learn bass. We got at least 30 minutes of laughter out of that with more to come, I'm sure.

Enjoy your Saturday. Get some fresh air. Eat some bacon. Love the good people in your life and forget about everything else.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:59 AM | link |

Dance of the Bumblebee socks for James Posted by Hello
posted by PlazaJen, 9:58 AM | link |

OH MY GOD do you have something for us to eat? Do you have any rats that need catchin'? We are ready to move out and on to task in an instant.  Posted by Hello
posted by PlazaJen, 9:54 AM | link |

What's happening. What's going on. We are Jack Russell Terriers and we demand to know everything, right now. Sammy (left), Tommy (top), Barkley (rounding out the bottom) Posted by Hello
posted by PlazaJen, 9:53 AM | link |

Tommy & Sammy, chillin', but ready to move at a moment's notice. Posted by Hello
posted by PlazaJen, 9:52 AM | link |

Friday, February 25, 2005

Funniest Thing All Day

Whilst getting a Diet Coke from the machine, a co-worker walks up and says, "Jennifer? Have you been to Thai Place in Westport?"

I had to lean on the machine, I couldn't stop laughing, and I was certain I was being set up somehow.

The co-worker looked confused. "What? Did (the other) Jennifer already ask you this?"

Me: "No. It's just that I go there, like, 3x a week."

And on the Thai Food Front: Whilst getting donuts this morning (I'm not sure where this 14th century English affectation is coming from, please let it blur by), I drove by the now-defunct China Spring, and it appears, in fact, that everything my former-Thai-Place waitress told me is coming true: they are under new management and opening soon. As a Thai restaurant. Peeps, having this restaurant means hot Thai food will now be available a mere 6 blocks away. They are long, irregular blocks, but all the same. A Happy Thai Dance Must Now Commence. Prithee.
posted by PlazaJen, 3:10 PM | link |

Friday's Feast!

So, I thought I'd move on and do another post. You try, too. Props and recognition to Friday's Feast.

Appetizer - Name something that makes you scream.
Well. I guess that would be PHIL FUCKIN' KLINE. And bad drivers.

Soup - Who is a musician you enjoy listening to when you want to relax?
Coldplay, Sarah McLachlan, October Project

Salad - What was the last book you purchased?
A Treasury of Magical Knitting" by Cat Bordhi. I saw the sequel last night & thought the first book had to be rockin'. Hello, my dear friend Amazon. You make it all so easy.

Main Course - If you could live one day as any historical figure, who would it be, and what would you do?
I would be an unknown assassin who killed Adolf Hitler before he could come into power. If this is not Quantam Leap & I can't change history, then, I would be Dorothy Parker & hanging out with my Algonquin Round Table chums.

Dessert - Tell about a time when you were lost. Where did you end up? How long did it take you to get back to where you were going?
Oh sweet mary. I was on a business trip, and we were going to Adamsville, TN, (you turn south just past, I kid you not, Bucksnort TN.) We left Nashville, and our puffed-ego twit account director was driving (he was wearing a scarf, and DRIVING GLOVES), and of course was in charge, as he had been to the client before. He went the wrong direction on Hwy 40. FOR AN HOUR. We saw a lot of pretty countryside, but when three of you are squeezed in the back of a Jeep, it is not comfortable. Why rent a Jeep for five people? Because Jeep used to be his account when he was Big Time. So he only rented Jeeps. A couple of other people kept asking, "Are you sure this is the right direction?" I always called him the Bloviator. Because he wouldn't ever SHUT UP. (Bloviate is a word: to speak or write verbosely and windily.) And I lost my temper because he tried to blame US for going the wrong direction and in one of the few instances I didn't bite my tongue, I screamed back, "If you hadn't been going on and on talking & waving your hands TALKING the whole time, like you do in every Monday Morning Meeting this wouldn't have HAPPENED." Oddly enough, my outburst didn't affect our relationship. He was just. that. self-centered.
posted by PlazaJen, 11:53 AM | link |

Walk A Mile

Right now, I am so apoplectically irate with Phil Kline, the Attorney General in Kansas, that I couldn't even call the radio station this morning to voice my anger. I was spluttering, fuming, and unable to fully construct sentences. If you have no idea what he's doing, you can read about it here

This is a post that may alienate some people, because it's a big ol' issue and people tend to be black & white about it. I am. Splutteringly so. I wrote this a few months ago when my alumni listserv was yapping on the subject of stem cell research & abortion, and I was rather amused that my post shut down the entire conversation. I don't often go for the full smack upside the face, but when you read this, you might understand why.

You may judge me for my choices, but in the end, my life is not (and should not be) measured by your values and choices.

My stance on abortion's pretty galvanized. I accompanied a friend to a clinic when I lived in Minneapolis. At that time, the early 90's, it was a pretty volatile scene. As soon as the police officer (sitting near the door) saw us, he left his post to come down the sidewalk to escort us in.
A man with a gun and a bulletproof vest on.
Walking us up the sidewalk.
We could have been there for birth control pills for all anyone knew. And we required police freakin' protection to walk 25 feet. Honestly, my memory of it comes as close to shock as anything else. Pro-life people were flat out screaming at both of us (they didn't know who was pregnant and who wasn't, of course.)
Plastic bloody babies, signs, bibles open, shouting "Don't kill your baby!" We got past the locked lobby (with bullet proof glass, having surrendered our drivers licenses through a slot much like the bank or a gas station) only to discover, after an hour, that my friend's pregnancy was too early to terminate. She was distraught, having mentally endured the choice, the gauntlet of judgement, and the stress of knowing she'd have to wait a month and come back and go through it all over again. Leaving was the same thing in reverse, except now we steeled ourselves against the protesters, escorted by the same officer to her car, protestors blocking the road, placards smashed onto the windshield with people screaming at us again.

I wouldn't wish that on anyone, ever again.

I understand it's those people's right to protest. It's their right to believe ardently, fervently that burgeoning cells equal a child, no differentiation. But. Creating the sense I should fear for my life to enter a clinic that exists more to provide prevention, sex-education and lower-income counseling to reduce the planet's overpopulation of unwanted children? Not cool. Hands, laws, threats - off my body. I don't "like" abortion. I think it's awful, and I wish it didn't have to even exist. But I do not want to tell a rape victim, "Just give the baby up for adoption." I don't think it's my right to tell another woman what she has to do with her body. I also don't want women to die in back alleys or motel rooms because they are denyed medical care for their bodies. For now, these reproductive rights and choices are supported by the laws in our country.

To finish the story of my friend - an irony of sorts - she miscarried the next week. was it nature's solution? The stress of what she'd gone through? does it seem more acceptable that she "lost" her zygote/baby even though she'd already made the choice (and appointment) to terminate the cell growth/"kill her baby"? I just think there are things that require us to step back & say, those are your shoes & I could walk a mile in them - and I still wouldn't know how you feel inside, so this choice is yours.
Fuck you and your witchhunt, Phil Kline. I hope with every cell in my body that the highest courts strike down & disallow what you are doing, because it is being done to intimidate and create fear, not to prosecute crimes. You are further victimizing and villifying women, who have every right to the privacy of their medical records. The doctors at the clinics are mandated to report any suspected abuse or crime. Using your office to exploit these women's experiences, because of your personal values and anti-abortion agenda is an abuse of power.

I will return later with a more cheery post. I just had to get this off my chest.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:37 AM | link |

Thursday, February 24, 2005

How well do I know thee?

My boss sent out an email that Quentin Tarantino will be directing the season finale of CSI (May 19), so expect it to be awash with blood & gore.

Pulp Fiction is one of hubby's favorite movies. I thought it would be fun to see if I could accurately list his top five movies (I reserve the right to claim victory if they are correct but out of order.)
1. Reservoir Dogs
2. Pulp Fiction
3. GoodFellas
4. The Matrix
5. Something Wild

I'm not sure if that last one is still in his top five. (He told me it was his favorite when we first started dating.)
posted by PlazaJen, 11:09 AM | link |


I've turned into a crazy lady, and I don't care. So let's get that out there and done with, right off the bat. I carry a little spiral notebook with me everywhere, because otherwise, thoughts, things I need to buy, things I need to do - all fall right out my various head holes and onto the ground and my little gnomes don't leave the body to go and grab them again. So I jot. I scribble. I list. Sometimes it's about things I want to blog, or things to buy at CostCo, or that I need to go buy one more button at Urban Arts & Crafts. See! Right there! I'd already forgotten about that, and I promise you, I will forget again.

So, I will use my notebook at any point in time - even while driving. That requires a certain kind of shorthand and finesse all at once. But this is why: there was a cah-ray-zay license plate the other day and I could NOT figure out what in the hell it was supposed to be telling me. I still can't. So if this makes sense to you, or you have a guess, leave a comment!

posted by PlazaJen, 9:25 AM | link |

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


I now state forth that all medicine directions should be printed CLEARLY and in BIG TYPE. Granted, I'm being pouty and sullen because I took two horse-sized caplets with barely enough water and they left the memory of their size on my throat, and so I sit here, vacantly gulping, not to mention still mouth-breathing (so sexy! It's the lambada of breathing!) and I'm looking for things to be mad at, rather than go to the kitchen and get some water. And the whole thing reminds me of how discerning dosages and maximum quantities and frequency and quantities and all that stuff that never seemed too pertinent before, all of it's written in TEENSY WEENSY TYPE as though you have become a Borrower, or a tiny gnome living in my body. Or perhaps a cockaroacha. It's your story too, if you like Kafka, go for it. But the sicker I am, the less inclined I am to read anything that's written in TEENSY ITTY BITTY letters and the more it hurts, the more I am inclined to WHACK OUT FORTY TABS and chew them up. I would have made a very good monster in Japanese Cine'.
{Big lady enters city, knocking over buildings, stomping on cars}
"RAAAAAHHHHHRRRR" as she siezes a gigantic bottle of NyQuil. The streets are filled with cherry -flavored syrup as she throws the bottle back and the glugging medicine flows down from her cheeks.
*STOMP* *STOMP* {crunching noise as giant bottle of Tylenol is wrenched from billboard}
[much cursing]
"Dammit. How many of these do I take?" {Monocle to eye, because monocles are so cool} {Entire city is ablaze from sun's reflection on monocle.} "RAAAAAHHHHHHRRRRR! WHY IS THE PRINT SO SMALL?!?!?"

Don't get me started on these foil-wrapped horse pills. They're so damned hard to get open I have to use scissors & I'm just waiting to pierce one by accident.

It won't end well, I know it.
posted by PlazaJen, 3:40 PM | link |

Learning to Drive.....Part III.

Ahhhh, the stretch van. With only one side window, no rear windows. EX. CEL. LENT. Backing that thing up was joy-rriffic. But! It was not a stick shift, and I was far enough away from my father's reach that he no longer was smacking my right knee.

I got the hang of driving, and soon I was sent to get the mail by myself. Now, this was awesome. This is what driving was all about. Our lane was a gradual slope, and my father had put small speed irrigation bumps in to control rain washing everything away. Let me tell you, you can get some serious jumps in an empty stretch van if you hit those fast enough on the downward trip! Ha! And right now my husband feels affirmation that I'm still a reckless driver when it comes to my car's suspension.

Anyway, it was time to make a Real Trip, beyond our little half-mile lane. We were going to Drive on the Highway. We would also compound the solemness of this journey by taking the NEW VAN. Also a stretch. But with back windows. Yo. I don't think I'm gonna be backing this muthah up on the highway, but ok, it's a more glamorous ride. This made me a whole 'nother level of nervousness, though, because not only had I bonded with the Blue Bomber Van, but the van was like, NEW. And I wasn't going to have wrecking it on my conscience.

So off we went. I could not tell where I was in the lane. You must remember this as well. It's hard at first, figuring out where you are in proportion to the lines down the middle of the road, when you've spent your whole life in the passenger seat, or worse, in a director's chair in the back of a stretch van, slidin' around, hanging on to shit to keep from falling. My father kept reminding me that I did not want to be like our family friend, who was always mocked for how tightly he hugged the center line. Hell, I could care less about him, I don't want to have a head-on collision with the NEW VAN. So I hugged the pavement on the shoulder side. For half of the trip, this was fine. It was gravel on the side, and I knew enough to not stray into that, and I began to think that this driving thing was really going to smooth out. Then we turned to head to Prairie du Chien. This strip of road is narrow, winding, and a sports car's dream. Not the dream of a teenager in a hulking van on her first paved road excursion. This part of Iowa is also very hilly, so there are significant valleys and gullys off the side of the road. Oddly enough, though, there was a bike lane, so now I had a paved shoulder I could stray onto, as I kept a very safe distance between the front end of the van and the center line & oncoming traffic. I honestly thought I was "getting away with it." What I didn't realize, and was too nervous to even feel, was that the wise construction people had texturized the bike lane with "rumble strips", so errant, sleepy drivers would be alerted if they were going off the road.

For those long miles before we found a place to stop and switch places, my only memory of that white-knuckled drive is my father pressing his body flat against his seat, hairy-eyeballing out the window and grabbing the handle above the window, shouting "BIKE LANE!" "BIKE LANE!" "JENNIFER! BIKE LANE!" as I kept using that strip of pavement as my "cushion" and my father saw his new van careening ever-so-close to catapulting off the side of a hill, his side first.

They let me get my learner's permit, but not my license. I had to wait until I was 18. That experience being its own story.

It has only been in the past couple of years my father has become capable of riding as a passenger in my car. Either he's relaxed and trusts me more, or? He's made his peace with this world.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:06 AM | link |

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


If I answer the phone, croaking like a dying frog, and you, sales rep from hell, say, "How are you?" and then you keep talking because it is apparently ALL ABOUT YOU, oh, my mistake for listening to your words, then you, dear sales rep, deserved the "fuck you" I said after I hung up. For I barely had the time to inhale to answer your question and you were launching into your All About You speech. So I exhaled, wishing the alien creature deep in my chest could smash through the phone lines and rip your head off with its glistening wet teeth.

I know I can be self absorbed? But some people take it to such a higher level, even I am astounded.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:38 AM | link |


I thought, last night, it would be interesting to play "Bejeweled 2" while trying to numb my brain down enough to go to sleep. You know how it is, after a certain point, the Brain Gnomes refuse to play cards anymore and they want to go joyriding for some action, even though all the other Body Gnomes are laid up or working their little gnome asses off, fighting infections, mucus, and sweats.

So I think to myself, Self! If you cannot get past level 3 on Bejeweled 2, you are not qualified to drive a car (further justifying not going to work!) Because, as I started playing the game, there was a certain slackjawed panic in the first level and I tried to find matches and things were taking a lot longer than usual. And keep in mind, this is now under the influence of one mega-dose of NyQuil, followed up by a couple of nighttime caplets an hour later, when my brain refused to let me sleep. I was lying there listening to my wheezing, whistly exhale, each breath reminding me more and more of the vicious, viscous creatures that burst forth from every hapless victims' chest cavity in the Alien movies. I kept seeing that shiny dripping little head with its own rows of teeth. Pleasant, eh? Don't think I've been mouth breathing for the fun of it, folks.

So I make it past level three on Bejeweled 2. Surely this is a fluke. No, I made it all the way to my usual level (9) and the second dosage of medicine finally started to kick in. Bejeweled 2, under the influence. I guess I'm ok to drive, operate heavy machinery and do my job. But when that horrid alien creature pops out of my chest, eeeeverybody at work is gonna wish I'd stayed home.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:31 AM | link |

Monday, February 21, 2005

Ear Canal Gnomes

Every so often, the Ear Canal Gnomes pry open the seal the Cold from Hell seems to have placed on my sinuses and other whatnot things going in and out of my head. It's like a burst of sunshine, freedom, and a wonderful feeling that my head, indeed, is not 12 sizes too large and submerged in a fish tank.

Alas, they can't keep them open and so the ucky feeling returns rather quickly. But it's good to have hope, glimpses, of the Other Side. Thank you, Ear Canal Gnomes, your efforts are not wasted.
posted by PlazaJen, 6:37 PM | link |

The Science of Sickness

Good thing I majored in art. I can talk and talk about science without being hindered by "stuff" - like research and studies and knowledge. So here are my groundless observations on the subject of a chest cold. This dissertation will involve the imaginary gnomes that inhabit my body and keep things running (or react when things are not well.) (I said I was an art major, peeps.)

I think it's interesting how our bodies can be both sweaty AND chilled at the same time. Talk about mixed messages, nerve endings! It's not like the internal body gnomes at Command Central aren't confused enough, they're getting one reading on the ticker tape saying "FREEZING HERE!" and from the same region a wire's coming through saying "EXCESSIVE SWEATING!" I find it repulsive that our bodies can generate so much sweat in bed when we're sick, it's as though one took a sponge bath IN bed. Without towels. Yeeecccchh.

Right now, I feel as though Tony Soprano & his crew went to town on my lower back with an assortment of Louisville Sluggers. I'm thinking that's a result of all of the attractive hyena-coughing I've been doing. But are they productive coughs, you ask? Oh, about half. And that's a whole 'nother arena. The body's ability to generate various colors and expel them is also fascinating. My mucus gnomes are in High Gear, shoveling the stuff into the Expelling Pipes and working overtime.

Hitching the sinuses up to the ears was simply brilliant. There's nothing like feeling those sinus tubes fill up and then recede a little bit. Not to mention how much it all affects your balance. It's like getting an amusement park ride for free, just sitting still. Wheee! The gnomes are less thrilled, as they do not like sudden shifts underfoot and the slipping and sliding across the breakroom floor.

My body gnomes are tired. We're all taking President's Day off, as a sick day. Bloody annoying, given how much work I've got sitting & waiting for me, and it will make the other days this week very stressful. But I know if I go through the very arduous task of dressing myself, driving in, finish one project & come home, I will have delayed my recovery by an exponentially-related amount of time. I have no idea if that even makes sense. Math gnome is hiding. Probably under the covers, wondering why it's so dank there.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:09 AM | link |

Sunday, February 20, 2005

I got chills......

they're multiplyin'..... lucky me! I just got home from my ample-knitters' retreat weekend, and yesterday afternoon I started doing this really attractive barking cough. By bedtime I was obviously coming down with something and spent the night vascillating between chills and sweats. AWEsome. So I'm home, grateful for access to all the cold medicine we bought at CostCo last week for hubby - and ready for a nap in my own bed. Boo hoo on being sick, but I've been pretty lucky this winter so I guess I was due. I thought I'd dodged a bullet when James started getting better from his cold.... no such luck!
So, I give to you part two of learning to drive, which I wrote before I left on Friday, and I am toddling off for hot tea, tv, and sleep.
posted by PlazaJen, 12:29 PM | link |

Learning to Drive.....Part II.

So, we last left it where my dreams of driver's ed were dashed on the rocks by my mother. Eventually, though, I did need to learn to drive, and who better to teach me than my mother?

That was a short-lived solution. First off, my father ruled the roost. You did not get emotional or loud or crazy around him because Mr.Logic would shut you down faster than the Health Department at a Typhoid Mary convention. But my mother and I had no such boundary, and when left to our own devices, and differences, the screaming and yelling was phenomenal and immediate. So you can imagine how well her instruction inside a Chevette would go over. Not. And it's pretty confined in there, so the screaming seemed even worse. After one attempted lesson, she handed me over to my father. Phew! Finally, the rubber shall meet the road.

Now, if you're thinking about teaching your kid to drive, I'd suggest driver's ed. But if you refuse to listen to that, then start with a car that has an automatic transmission? Please?

Yes, the Chevette was a stick. And one of my father's first instructions to me was to keep my left foot BACK by the seat, so as to not condition myself to ride the clutch. Dur. In my mind, I don't even KNOW what riding the clutch is and there are three pedals and I have NO FUCKING CLUE how to listen to the engine and do all of these things, SIMULTANEOUSLY. However, he decided to eagle-eye my left foot and EVERY TIME it hesitatingly, insecurely worked itself up towards that clutch, he would BAM! slap his hand on my right knee. Causing me to jump out of my skin and completely kill the engine because I would let up on EVERYTHING.

Lord, I tested his patience, and we hadn't even gotten the car into reverse.

Now, we lived a half-mile from the county road - a gravel road, no less. So once I got the car going, we travelled out to get the mail. Lurching, sputtering, slowing, speeding, we didn't really pay attention to how much FOG was in the air. After all, our lane was as familiar as the back of my hand. So out we go, and all we're gonna do is basically a three-point-turn, get the mail, and get back home. A couple of hand slaps on my knee scare the bejeebers out of me, but I don't kill the engine. Hey, man, this driving thing's not so bad! What's the big deal? But once we're on the county road, I kill the engine, and cannot, for the life of me, re-start the car. Try after try after try. My father is anxiously looking back and forth, because it's basically pea soup and you can't see more than five yards in any direction.
Dad, urgently: "Come on, Jennifer. Just give it some gas and eaaaaase up on the clutch."
I can't say anything. I'm becoming frantic, which means I can no longer remember anything we've learned in the past half hour. I kill the engine no less than ten times as I try to back up.

Dad: "Come ON, we can't see, we have got to get out of the road!"
Me: (on the inside) "Really? Really? I hadn't notice we can't see anything and seriously, getting frantic panicky with me? -heavy sarcasm- THAT's helping.")

Good grief. It took fifteen minutes. It was awful. I was shaking, and my father obviously had an equal stress level to mine. The first driving lesson was over.

My father's conclusion? Let's not learn on the stick shift.

What did that leave me with for future lessons? A stretch van with no rear windows, and only one side window. Awesome. AWE. SOME. Frying pan into the fire.

To be continued.....
posted by PlazaJen, 12:03 PM | link |

Friday, February 18, 2005

Learning to Drive.....Part I.

I figure since I lambast so many other people's driving skills, I should tell some stories on myself, and that means the starting point is usually a good place to start.

First off, my mother wouldn't let me take driver's ed. I know, I KNOW. My memory's a bit fuzzy on what the Iowa laws were back then, but I'm pretty sure you could get a learner's permit at 14. Because of all the tractors and whatnot. You know, farming communities. There were all sorts of restrictions on what and where you can drive, obviously, but I think most of my classmates took driver's ed in 10th grade. I was a year younger than my classmates, so despite the GRAVE insult of having to take driver's ed with those idiots in the class behind me, I began lobbying my junior year to take the class.
Mother: "No. Our insurance will go up."
Me: Excessive amounts of pleading.
Mother: "NO."
And around and around we went. You remember how it was when you were 15. The world is your oyster and give me the Tabasco, bitch.

The Spring of '84 brought us the Grandest Fight Ever over Driver's Ed. We had a foreign exchange student, Maria, living with us, and she and my mother were sitting at the kitchen table. I was preparing dinner and had launched into yet another full-scale attack on the impenetrable walls of my mother's decision.

Mother: "NO, Jennifer. You're not taking driver's ed. That's final." She and Maria went back to whatever the fuck they were doing, obviously not realizing what was coming next.

Now, let me give you a quick snapshot to set the stage. I started doing all of the baking for our family when I was in junior high. By 9th grade, I was preparing dinner every night. On the weekends, I had a large list of chores, and basically cleaning the entire house to the inspection of both parents was the first business of the day on Saturdays. I did not have a job outside of the home, but I sure had a buttload of jobs in the home. I also trace my dislike of housework to those formative years, when I could have spent more time perfecting my Sheena Easton and Cyndi Lauper renditions with my curling iron microphone, instead of serving as free labor to my parents. I digress, but it's relevant.

Where were we? Oh yes, on an emphatic NO from my mother. I was making spaghetti sauce, as I recall, because I started waving the spoon while I LOST MY MIND.


And she & Maria collapsed into laughter. Which only made me start to cry as I repeated my argument. My mother was doing that gasping thing, holding her stomach, as she said to Maria, "Oh yes, that's me, just driving around and around in front of the house! Poor Jennifer, stuck in here COOKING!"

Ohhhhhhh. I can still remember the white-hot anger I felt. The absolute frustration and powerlessness, magnified by the fact they were LAUGHING at me.

I wouldn't be 15 again for all the money in the world.

I think my dad came in eventually and stopped all the screaming and crying.
And the bitch still wouldn't let me take Driver's Ed. A decision she - and my father - would mightily regret later. Because teaching your own child to drive? Now that's where the screaming really starts.

This, my friends, is what we call foreshadowing.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:30 AM | link |

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Fingerless Gloves, Pictures Galore

So I tried my hand (cough) at a pair of fingerless gloves, and ended up creating my own pattern. Which still needs fiddling with, and the fact that I'm going keep messing with the pattern until I'm happy with it flies completely in the face of my style, "Come out swinging and don't look down!" But I'm going to do it, because a) I don't want to rip these out and b) I want to have a pattern that I've made and I'm happy with! Bravissimo. And I got TWO requests in one night for more pictures. Therefore, I give you pictures of the original prototypes for Jen's Fingerless Gloves, ribbed and beaded for your pleasure. :)

When I re-work these, I will have at least two more columns of beads. A shout goes out to my friend Chewdy for spending the time with me to show me some smart stuff about knitting with beads.

The yarn is from Knit Picks, it is the softest sock yarn - their Sock Landscapes, in the "Spring Prairie" colorway. I LOVE IT! I got some more in the Rocky Mountain Dusk to make the Clapotis that is sweeping the knitting knation by storm.

And as you can see, Miss Polly gives them a seal of approval and pronounces them "Tasty".

posted by PlazaJen, 8:00 AM | link |

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Toe-Up "Mother In Law" socks, pattern found here, knit in Lion Brand Magic Stripe.  Posted by Hello
posted by PlazaJen, 10:33 PM | link |

A Many Splendored Erg

I was reading Becky's blog and her musings on love in the wake of Valentine's Day inspired some thoughts of my own.

The main thought being that nobody anywhere portrays love as work, and I think that's a huge disservice to love. I can hear the sniffing, "Well, love shouldn't BE work", and I guess love in itself is not work, per se, but marriage, and healthy relationships do require it. (and it's not BAD that it's work, either.) It's just that you have to put something into it, all the time. It's not a painting that you save up and buy and hang on the wall and you're done. I think that's the big myth that is perpetuated, because how can you quantify 365 days of work each year into a 2-hour movie? Hollywood scripts it so we see
1. Initial attraction,
2. Ensuing pratfalls and hilarious obstacles,
3. Magical moment where all obstacles are swept away,
4. Happily Ever After.

They don't show minor squabbles or the satisfying moments when you lean your head against your partner and feel their warmth transfer to your own skin.

And I do believe in Happily Ever After. You just have to live it one day at a time, and have realistic expectations that not every day will be scripted by an adept writer. I've talked to my dear friend who has been married for over thirty years - and she's the first to acknowledge how much work goes into a successful marriage. I think there's an unfair, negative association with the word "Work", because in our society, it's usually the opposite of "Fun". So maybe the more palatable word is "Investment". Or maybe we start using poker terminology.

JWo, I'm all in.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:23 AM | link |

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I DO knit .....

It's funny, somewhere along the ride I intended this blog to be 90% knitting and the rest just flotsam and jetsam. Turns out I've flipped the ratios, so I thought I should do a quick Knittin' Update.
Nearly Done: Self-designed, ribbed and BEADED (for my pleasure) fingerless gloves. Of course as I finally get down to the knitty-gritty and try them on, I find myself wishing I'd done another column of beads. Sigh. Not so much I'll rip them back out. All I have to do are the thumbs and presto, Rocky, I'm done! Pics to come.
Still Slogging: My Folly. I want this sweater to be done. Teeth-gnashingly so. Not in a bad way, just an anxious, eh, come ON self, get this sweater done, with our Faux Spring days, I'm feeling the pressure of fewer cold days left and thus opportunity to wear this sweater.

I'm gone this weekend to Rocheport, MO, where I'm meeting up with some fellow knitters from the Ample Knitters list, and we're going to have a great time. I'm hoping with all the time to focus on knitting, I'll get the Folly that much closer to completion.

In the wings, waiting to leap onto needles:

-Bumblebee socks for JWo. (He wanted black and yellow socks. I will knit him some. Found some self-striping yarn, he will be buzzin'.)
-Maple Leaf scarf in some yummmy Lorna's Laces
-Something springy/summery! And I will be shopping from my stash for the project, oh yes I will!
-Oh, and one of those popular Buttonhole Bags from Mason-Dixon knitting. I like anything with such immediate gratification!
posted by PlazaJen, 4:47 PM | link |

Black Eyed Bubble Tea

So Miss Kristin and I enjoyed ourselves a little Thai food therapy, and then strolled over to Tea Drops in Westport, which is just a lovely space. Every time I go in there I want to plop down and hang out there for 3-4 hours. Especially on sunny afternoons. I got a peach-flavored black tea with boba (the black tapioca-esque blobs) - YUM! I chose a bright red straw because I felt, well, very bright. And red. This straw would make a serious spitwad shooter, if a person were so inclined. My lid/seal featured red tulips, too. Very springy, very happy. I enjoy the boxes that have Asian calligraphy next to them with English subtitles, "Few Sugar", "No Sugar", "Few Ice", "No Ice". Then I notice the small print on the right-half of my seal. It's in English. It's the lyrics from the Black Eyed Peas' "Where Is the Love" song.

The first words I discern say, "people killin', people dyin'" and I'm thinkin' YO, I'm trying to enjoy a spot of tea and sunshine here, folks. Let my boba go.

Other random thought/observation: on the walk there, a young female dalmation was sunning on her dog bed in front of her owner's store. It was the happiest thing, and as everyone went by, they just smiled, and some stopped to pet her. The world needs more smiles and less stress. I can't wait to get home and hug my (very clean fresh-smelling) dog!
posted by PlazaJen, 12:46 PM | link |

Worst Things Ever

I don't usually list out things I feel are dreadful, because who really needs a written reminder of awful things? But this week has gotten off to an abysmal start, and in the spirit of Best Things Ever, we have to have the rain and sad things to help our Best Things shine more brightly.

1. First item will be covered in tomorrow's post. I'm still reeling. And also feeling way old, and that I've already turned into a squawking senior citizen about These Kids Today.

2. My dear friend Kristin lost her gorgeous knitted Charlotte shawl on it's debut day. Heartbreaking. I see she has a similarly titled post as well. I continue to get tears in my eyes for her, it is just so unfair.

3. My darling dog and I have opposing ideas about what constitutes Best Thing Ever. According to Polly, Best Thing Ever! list includes rolling in dog poo. That would come, of course, right after EATING cat poo. Yesterday morning, she thoroughly coated herself in excrement. Why not? It has the same detoxifying qualities as a mud bath, and people pay good money to be detoxified. Here, we have it in the front yard for FREE! Yippee skippy! James put her in the kennel right away and then gave both dogs a bath when he got home last night. We're having Faux Spring right now, so he hooked up the hose and washed them outside. Unfortunately, Eau de PoochiePoo is a powerful, powerful cologne. She still wafted an ever-so-faint nasty scent every time she tried to snuggle up to me. So, before going to bed, we had an indoor bath as well, to wash away the last of the scent residue. Have you ever bathed a medium-to-large-sized dog in a tub? If so, you'll understand why I choose to be half-clothed, otherwise I'm in the wet t-shirt contest, party of one. It may not be the sexiest thing on earth, but it's functional & it works.

I told Miss Polly, while bathing her in the tub, that people would pay equally good money to be bathed and massaged and scrubbed by a topless woman. Some might even consider it to be a Best Thing Ever. However, I don't think it makes her list.....or mine.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:58 AM | link |

Monday, February 14, 2005

My Bloody Valentine

For reasons that will become clearer later, I was thinking about what age I was when I received SexEd, courtesy of the public school system. Of course, my mother also did her part throughout my pre-teen and teen years, but the older I got the more painfully awkward those became. For some reason, I think they started on the basest of basics, menstruation, in elementary school. I vividly remember a booklet filled with letters between three girls over the summer, as each of them (indicated by a different colored flower) got their periods, and the sheer excitement of it all.
I bought it, hook, line and sinker. I was intoxicated. Drunk on the glamour of menses and all the accoutrements that denoted you as a Woman. I am now going to make a very embarassing, yet hilarious, confession. The year is 1977. I am 9. I have begun to have Delusions of Grandeur, already. I beg, beg, beg and plead with my mother to buy me this particular item. I must have it. Have to have it. She is bewildered. She tries to talk me out of it. She tries to explain that I will not like it. All I hear is a whirring tuba noise as her mouth moves, and I sweepingly brush her arguments aside. I will have none of it. I MUST. HAVE. THIS.

For I, dear friends, had to have the Maxi Pad With Belt Configuration.

If you are much younger than me, you will not even know what I'm talking about. I think the product decline happened shortly after I finally got mine. You can see a picture of them here. Oh, but yes. My mother bought me the whole shootin' match. I still remember my uncontainable excitement, when she brought it home with her after work one day. I could hardly STAND it, I was bubbling over with my imminent Womanhood.

Now, if you've never worn one of these, allow me to describe how it works. You have a maxipad, roughly the size of a body pillow, with a large amount of loose tulle at either end. This is what you will thread through the little jagged metal hooks to secure the pad in place. Then, much like a chastity belt, you step into this riggery and ignore that you cannot walk normally. In fact, I'm sure these were quite effective AS chastity belts in their heyday. Heyyyyyyyy, sailor! Gaze upon my body and this king-size pillow wedged between my legs. I am IRRESISTABLE.

So I wobbled off to school the next day, triumphant in my ascension into Womanhood before all of my other classmates. Good. Lord. Those delusions crashed mightily onto the Harsh Rocks of Reality. By ten a.m., I requested a bathroom pass. I still remember an overwhelming desire to chuck the entire thing into the trash, but since the belt had cost some coin, I only tossed the pad. (Mind you, I was nowhere near starting my period at this point.) I had to wear my crazy belt under my pants until I got off the schoolbus, where, in the privacy of my half-mile hike home, I removed the elastic gizmo and shoved it into my backpack.

And yes, my mother did say she told me so. And no, I no longer find menstruation to be a glamorous, accoutrement-filled event.

But you can't say I've lost that peculiar brand of enthusiasm.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:11 AM | link |

Sunday, February 13, 2005

(state) Lines In The Sand

I moved to St. Louis in 1995. I didn't really know what to expect, and while I still have fond memories of my time there, it wasn't exactly the greatest time of my life, and a rather lonely one, in retrospect. Lot o' growin' up, not to mention some funny-ass drama (Car Burnt to Crisp, Women's Prison Experience, etc.) So when I moved to Kansas City a couple years later, I focused most of my apartment-hunting on the Missouri side, out of convenience - my driver's license and car plates were already Missouri, why not keep it easy? And I found out later, if you work in one state and live in another, tax time can be crazy. So! Keep it on the Mighty Mo. And good gravy, I wasn't taking another driving test - for all my complaints about drivers, the Missouri driver's license test is freakin' HARD! Two co-workers in St. Louis flipped through the book, having been drivers for years before moving there, and in most other states, your general driving experience will be enough to pass. YOU WOULD THINK. NOT SO! They both failed the first time! Even with all the studying, I choked on the correct length at which you must tie a (white? red?) flag to something protruding from your vehicle. Good grief! If anything's sticking out more than 6", I'm putting a freakin' balloon bouquet on it and hiring a "Wide Load" car to escort me.

After moving to K.C., I discovered this odd little border war that has never died. A guy at work was talking about how Kansas was "O.K.", but when I said, "Would you live there?" the response was emphatically, "OH no. Never." My husband tells me the feud traces back to the Civil War. I said, "So, what side was Missouri on?" His answer: "Slavery." Ah. Well, then, that's a good reason to keep ourselves divided. (?) But it isn't all about that anymore. It's this strange rooted upbringing, a level of disdain and wariness about that side of town. For the longest time, we'd drive over to Johnson County, to do some shopping, or to go out to eat, and literally five minutes after crossing the state line, James would slump in his seat and with an air of disdain state, "I'm totally lost." I would start pointing out consistent landmarks, like the SUN, and the fact that they, too, use a numbering system with their East-West streets. Just like us! To no avail. "I'm turned around. Completely. I have no idea where we are." I was astonished until I figured out it was his auto-reaction to being in the Land of the Devil, a.k.a., Kansas. I'm just saying, when I lived in Minnesota and Iowa, we engaged in border jibing, always. The poor Dakotas - there are so few people left to even defend their great, frozen, funny-talkin' states. :) But there wasn't this crazy-wonkers-blinders thing going on, it's really quite amusing coming from the outside, to see how galvanized people get over sides of a city that are divided only by a four-lane (sometimes two-lane) street called "State Line".

People, it has taken several YEARS to unstick that learned response in my husband. And only as it relates to finding his way around. He'd still never live there, and that's ok. Shall the leopard change his spots? I'm just relieved he's no longer "immediately lost" once we've hit Kansas soil.

How did I do it? We started with desirable, easy-to-find locations, like Hooters. And Galyan's, a source for Hunting Supplies. By stringing together desirable eating establishments, and appealing shopping, a little trail of duck decoys and chicken wings have proven to be the shoehorn that allows my husband to slide into the neighboring state and not be immediately transported to the State of Flummoxed. And I have realized I'm getting older (and more of a Missouri resident myself) when I'm happy to see more shopping opening on the Missouri side, because I want to keep my tax dollars in my state.

(Speaking of Galyan's. Now they're Dick's Sporting Goods. And did you know if you thought you could go online to look at sporting goods, and you innocently typed in dicks dot com? You get 8,000 pop up windows showing you 16,000 Mr.Happys and very tan naked men in every position trying to entice you, and it's not to buy sporting equipment. Some of those Mr.Happys would even require a red flag tied on them if they were being transported in the trunk of a Missouri car. And did you know if you do this innocent search at work, you will eventually have to turn your computer OFF in a panic because you do not posess the ability to click a mouse fast enough to make those pop-ups go away? Did you know this? Hm? Well, now you have been warned.)
posted by PlazaJen, 8:03 AM | link |

Saturday, February 12, 2005

VH1: Behind the Fag Hag

OK, so you know I was raised in the utter sticks, but did you know I was raised by hippies? Hippies who got fired from their social worker jobs when my father tried to start a union? And we lived on a quasi-commune in Iowa, which goes over like an iron dirigible when you're talking about a sheltered conclave of conservative, religious people who really don't want to think about anyone being different from them?
Oh, yeah. Well, all that happened. Oodles of stories, my own personal Kafka novella. Raised without television and indoor plumbing until 9th grade. (And then, we only got the toilet. Dad didn't get a tv until a couple years ago. Now he's Mr. MacDaddy Plasma screen. Go figure.)

So, my father being an artist, we spent summers travelling to art fairs around the country. I saw all sorts of people.... all sorts of art..... all sorts of highway. I still remember that bizarre mix of being 10 going on 32. My dad and I walked by a couple of hippies in Madison, Wisconsin, and I said, "They're smoking pot!" And Dad got all wigged out, "How do you know what pot smells like?" Uh, Dad. You may have stopped smoking pot, but I still figured it out when I was like, 6. You didn't label me precocious for just learning how to read, duuuuude. :)

Anyway, as we travelled the country, I met a wacky wonderful lady, also an artist, who introduced me to my "Uncle Michael". Uncle Michael had a partner (I don't remember his name) and Uncle Michael was a dentist. And had been married, and had a 12-year old daughter. A daughter he couldn't see, because his wife had custody, and a gay man could never be fit to be a parent, and why not, it was the early 80's and gay men hadn't even started spreading the plague yet. I was apalled that he couldn't see his daughter. And that, dear friends, is when one of my bright flames of justice burst forth inside of me. (pun intended!) All through college and beyond, I have attracted gay men the way a 60-watt bulb on a humid summer night attracts bugs. Even now, and I don't know if it's my style, my size, or some pheromone I emit, but most gay men just click right onto me, like a Lego snapping into place. And ooooh how I adore it. I used to frequent the gay clubs with some regularity, and enjoyed the freedom/lack of pressure those places seemed to provide. How can you go wrong with great dance music, and no pressure to meet your life partner? You can be outrageous and it's accepted. You can be bitchy and you get crowned with a tiara. You can even kiss them and never have to wonder the next day if they're going to call you again. Because they will. I realize people find it easier to hate what they fear, than to work through their fears and find tolerance, but easy doesn't equal right. I only have to think about Matthew Shepard and my heart grows so heavy, that such hatred and violence exists in the world, towards individuals I consider as close or closer than family. But I shall not end on a sad note. After all, there is still much dancing to be danced, and parties to be impeccably hosted, and gossip to be shared.

To all my wonderful gay friends, I toast you with a raspberry champagne cocktail. With a cherry. And an umbrella. And a twist. With plenty of lipstick on. (Would I toast you any other way? I think NOT.)
posted by PlazaJen, 10:45 AM | link |

Friday, February 11, 2005

Careful What You Wish For

A work meeting degenerated into a funny discussion the other day, centering on all the horrible things we wanted to have happen to us when we were kids, because we were stupid and didn't know any better. Confessions Revealed: I wanted mumps like NOBODY'S business. I even tied bandanas around my head (under my chin) to see what that would feel like & play Pretend Mumps. I wanted to stay home from school and be waited on, I think. Something that is still on the top of my list, but I would rather be fine & dandy, not laid up with the mumps. Both of us wanted a broken limb - again, something we never got - for the attention and the Glorious Cast-Signing that seemed to accompany everyone else who was "lucky" enough to break an arm or a leg. (Bonus: with a leg injury, came the covetous CRUTCHES!) I wanted a back brace, because the prettiest girl in school had a slight curvature in her spine & she had one, therefore it was THE thing to covet. We both wanted braces, or at least a retainer. Apparently she would undo her notebook wire & make Faux Braces. I just wanted those adorable, colored rubber bands. Of course we know better now, and there are days I find myself beseeching all that is powerful in the universe to keep me from falling down and having to experience even a mild sprain. But, when you're young, you're rather idiotic, and I guess that's why it's so funny to look back on it all now, knowing just how ludicrous those wishes were.

The winner in this pitiful comparison? My friend wanted headgear.

I am still laughing. She wins.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:02 AM | link |

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Greatest Thing EVER!

Add it to the list: Leaving work - leaving work LATE - and - drum roll - THE SUN IS STILL SHINING. Yay for rotational axis and all that other science stuff I barely recall now. Yay!

And, lest ye forget to be grateful, tomorrow? Friday. Mmmhmm. It's nearly here. Rejoice and be merry.
posted by PlazaJen, 5:36 PM | link |

Punctuation Princess

After another email went out with improper usage of an apostrophe, I contacted my two allies, known rebel fighters against the ever-marching War on Grammar, and informed them that when the revolution finally happens, and I rule the world, a punctuation test will be issued to determine if you live in the Land of Happy or on a tundra, with a remedial notebook and only a penguin for reference. One was terribly excited that he would finally have a chance to live in the Land of Happy, though that was difficult to conclude because the reply was rife with punctuation & grammatical errors. (Intentional, of course.) The other? She wants to be my Minister of Misused Apostrophes. I told her she could then issue "whipping's".

Yes. It is difficult being this perfect and snotty, ALL THE TIME. Pray you never have to carry the burden.
posted by PlazaJen, 11:42 AM | link |


1. If I could, my next car would be a Sheriff car. With lights. I would NEVER BE LATE again. Or, conversely, I could do what I want even longer, and still arrive at the usual time.

2. If I could eat pad thai for breakfast today, I WOULD. I am Thai-riffic.

3. Billy Corrigan nailed it with the line, "Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage."

posted by PlazaJen, 9:06 AM | link |

Prince Charles is a Tampax

I am annoyed at P.C. with his little happy announcement he plans to marry Camilla in April. Yes, they both look like horses and they can go gallop off together, but he was such a schmo and like any good child of the 80's, my loyalties will always lie with Diana.

And come ON, his whole "hot phone sex chat" with Camilla? Where he wished he could be a tampon and live in her pocket? What is THAT? I guess he gets props for not wishing he were a maxi-pad with wings, but we may need to toss the analysis to the ever-entertaining, Sue Johanson.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:08 AM | link |

The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways

I believe in fate (or Fate, however you like it), to some extent. I think things happen (or don't happen) because something else is waiting to unfold. There have been things I've wanted in my life, jobs, relationships - that didn't pan out. I think on both of those fronts, I needed to wait and meet JWo, which is why I didn't get that glamorous job in San Francisco, and moved to Kansas City, instead. So, for some time, JWo has expressed his desire to own a Bowflex, and we started discussing it again this month, what with a tax refund on the horizon, and the fact they sell them that at the other powerful force in my life, CostCo.

So when we got home on Monday night, remember, that half-priced drink night? We'd run to CostCo first, for recordable DVDs they don't sell, and other stuff we immediately needed - and as we exited, we were handed the Joyous Sheet of Coupons, and later that night we discovered the message being sent to us: $150 off a BowFlex. Next week. See? I am meant to have the body of a 50-year-old grandmother. Can you believe it? I'm still reeling.
posted by PlazaJen, 6:58 AM | link |

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

DING! Fries Are Done.

Or, perhaps I should more accurately state,

"Ding! I am fried, I am done."

posted by PlazaJen, 4:00 PM | link |

Little Lily and Her Hot Pink Sweater

I told my friend Julie I was "unnaturally excited" about her pregnancy, and sweet Lily has no idea how her crazy Unofficial Auntie Jen is going to dote on her. :) For starters, we present the absolutely adorable baby overalls and the hot pink hand-knit sweater I gave her at the baby shower.
The sweater is knit in ?yikes! I don't remember, it's acrylic, it's a kid's yarn, I bought it at The Studio. The pattern is wicked simple, it is a freebie from the KnitList gift exchange, and can be found here. The hair? That baby has some serious hair. Mamma has a head full o' hair, and Lily definitely inherited her hair, it seems - and for now, it's untameable, outrageous, and UBER CUTE! She's just so pretty. And snuggly. When I held her, she completely curls her head & body into you. Insert your "awwwwws" here.....
posted by PlazaJen, 7:40 AM | link |

We have the best hair ever. Posted by Hello
posted by PlazaJen, 7:32 AM | link |

Now we're smoothed down a bit. Posted by Hello
posted by PlazaJen, 7:31 AM | link |

yay for overalls! Posted by Hello
posted by PlazaJen, 7:30 AM | link |

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Road Rules, Part DUH

Good grief, Charlie Brown. Days like this confirm my conspiracy theory that every month, there is a secret day at the DMV, and anyone who walks through the door automatically gets their drivers license, no test, no fee, no proof of insurance, see ya later, have a great drive!

We are in the stranglehold of a Winter Storm Warning! NBC's weatherman Gary Lezak was O. O. C.! He was all hands and arms waving last night on the news. "THERE'S NEW DATA COMING IN ALL THE TIME!" he effused. Don't get me wrong, I love Gary, because he is unabashedly enthusiastic, and unbelievably passionate about the weather. But sweet mother of all that is holy, NOBODY ON MY ROUTE HOME KNOWS HOW TO DRIVE IN SNOW. OK, that's too sweeping, but there were at least a dozen people who obtained their license on that Free Day, and they never should have ventured out in this. I was mentally toasting all of the Twin Cities Snow Removal Department in my drive home, a drive that normally takes 20 minutes, and took an hour and ten minutes tonight. We're not big on snow removal here, because - hey! It's gonna MELT, eventually!

So I was behind a Jeep. (a JEEP! I say in high-pitched tone!) And this Jeep did not understand the "advisable to leave extra space between you and the car in front of you" concept. Also, Jeep Driver had never grasped the notion that you gently goose the accelerator after you've been stopped for a while, very very gently, so you just start rolling. No. He ascribed to the "FLOOR THIS MO-FO" theory, and seemed to not learn from his repeated sliding, nearly off the road, nearly into a jacknife - every time. I was glad when he turned, because I really didn't want to have to get out, knock on his window & explain the error of his ways.

Then, I see a BMW driving along, with the HAZARD LIGHTS ON. Behind it? A LEXUS SUV, doing the SAME DAMNED THING. WHAT IS UP, people? The only time you can drive with your blinkers on is if you're dragging your muffler and you're desperately trying to get to a service station, or you're preceding a house on the back of a semi and your car is sporting a "Wide Load Ahead" banner. Otherwise, your sorry ass needs to be parked alongside the road, stuck, like the other two dolts who made a 1/4 mile drive take 35 minutes.

Now, it was a big ol' snow, so I'm already looking forward to the "stay away from downed power lines" cautionaries that will undoubtably cover the 10p news tonight. I wonder if people think that they, an untrained human, can put them back up somehow? Like dragging a tree limb from the road, just grab onto the big sparky and make the road passable? I repeat my earlier theory: LET THESE FOOLS DO IT. It's one less bad driver on the roads. Speaking of tv "news" drama, I will leave you with a quote from last night's dramatic reporting: "pain shimmers in their eyes, which are little dams as they try to hold back the tears."
NBC 41 Action News 2/7, 10:01 p.m.

I had to write it down. It was JUST THAT BAD.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:16 PM | link |

Shakes the Clown

I had a doozy of a headache all morning, despite coffee consumption. So before my dealer, uh, I mean Kristin and I headed out at lunch, I had her hook me up with some of her Powerful Drugs. This would be the Excederin Tension Headache medicine. I tried to read the tiny print on the bottle but did not really get any good dosing instructions. Why is the print so small, when you can barely SEE from the Master P Pounding in your brain already? Something about 2 caplets every 6 hours, maximum. Mmmkay. Two it is. Down the hatch! There was another line about limiting your caffeine consumption because it could cause NERVOUSNESS, among other things. I don't need to be any more nervous than I already am, thankyouverramuch, so I stowed that away in my little brain pocket.

I noticed when we got back, Huzzah! Headache is gone! And then I sat down and ate some tasty thai (from Thai Place, NOT Tasty Thai, JAMES. (sorry. inside joke/reference. It will be explained someday.)) and burnt every taste bud in my mouth from the spicy peppers. Woo hoo! Yum! Why do I love such torturous food? I do not know. I went to the kitchen to get ice, thinking, "Hm, Diet Coke with Lime? My friend? I need you to cure The Burn, baby!" And then I noticed, "Hm! I am JITTERY!" and I will take jittery over nervous any day of the week, BUT, I feel compelled to blink a lot and my typing DEFINITELY suffers. However, this drug, this Excederin? It makes me very PUNCHY and FLIPPANT and you think, "Hm, how could there be ROOM for any more?" You might think there isn't! But oH there is, and look out.

Right in the middle of writing this blog, we get an email with three (3!!) attachments from HR about how our HMO has rules and restricted places blah blah blah blah blah blah all this medical stuff we pay big money for and how we can't go anywhere except the sixth ring of Jupiter if we need to be seen by a doctor, and they don't cover witch doctors anymore, blah blah blah.

My response (as forwarded to a very select few):


But if you do it ON THE JOB, it's covered. So make sure you do all your dangerous moves on property. Thank you. You do not need to read the attached now.

Don't get me wrong. I love health insurance. I need it, god KNOWS I need it, everyone needs it. But here I am, self-doping, I mean, self-dosing myself all up on caffeine, but you've got to go through these elaborate Twister moves to make sure you do every single maneuver correctly if you're going to the doctor, otherwise you come home 30 days later and there's a bill for $3,921.17 in your mailbox. There has got to be a revolution, and the system has got to be Overhauled. This has been your PSA, as written by Shakes the Clown, who has no ability to proofread right now.
HOWEVER. I got myself some water, instead of Diet Coke, because extra caffeine right now? Could get me fired, bitchslapped, or - gasp - dropped my medical care provider!
posted by PlazaJen, 2:06 PM | link |

Nut Jobs, Half Price

There's no sweeter sound than your waitress saying, "All Liquor's Half Off Tonight", and that one small sentence sent our entire evening skittering in a brand new, unexpected direction. Not really *that* dramatic, however, it did entice me to switch from the standby iced tea to a drink called a "Nut Job". A frothy, creamy blend of almond liqueur, creme de cacao, vodka?, ice cream, an almond joy and who knows what else, they were half price and dammit, it was a Grim Monday. After the first one? It felt like Thursday night. Woo hoo! Nut jobs for everybody!

We were at Houlihan's to celebrate Gordon's 30th birthday - and we didn't anticipate the fact that ten people can not all fit in a booth. (They only have booths at Houlihan's, an odd decision for a restaurant in one of the fatter U.S. cities, but hey, they were spacious booths at least.) So we occupied two adjoining booths in the corner, and had a fantastic meal, great company & yummy food. I was really impressed with the service & the value we got - hubby got two LITER-sized Long Island Iced Teas for $5.75. Total. That whole "half-off" deal, workin' in our favor! Poor James. He met me at my office and we raced around before going to dinner, and he plumb forgot he'd still have to drive home. When I reminded him, it was like I dragged the needle straight across the Record of Fun. Whoops! Sorry sweetie! I stuck to my foofy drink, the Nut Job, and of course, all the accompanying jokes. It was a Nut Job with a bit of a kick, despite being "foofy"! At one point I said, "Now, that's the NUT JOB talkin', of course." and they all pointed at me with knowing looks. MMMhhhhm, the nut job HERSELF speaks.....

Anyhoo. Nut Jobs? On a dismal gray Monday? Greatest Drink EVER!
posted by PlazaJen, 8:59 AM | link |

Monday, February 07, 2005

Greatest Thing Ever!

In our house, things that are good,useful, helpful or handy are dubbed "The Greatest Thing EVER!" and this comes from roughly a year ago, when Polly Purebred was a wee 4 months old. James, who had raised & trained Suzy from puppyhood, had more experience than I (my father trained all our dogs, and so I naively underestimated how much work it took). He explained to me at one point that in Polly's world, everything that was new and cool was THE GREATEST THING EVER. Ice cubes. The Greatest! Chewing on a new toy? GREATEST! Food? OH MY GOD, let's pass out from the excitement. Polly still loves her toys, and her favorites are the Busy Bee (NOT a bear in a bee suit) and Monster (Picture here) .... both had to undergo repairs and have done surprisingly well since then. Especially Busy Bee, she is very excited to carry him around and not shred him.

So, in honor of my enthusiastic, loving little dog, I am going to try to muster some enthusiasm myself on this dreary, cold, MONDAY, and come up with some of my own Greatest Things Ever:
1. Hot coffee, with hazelnut creamer (low carb creamer, no-less. Can I still believe I bought something with that on the label? No. But it's rich & creamy, and I figure if it tastes good AND contains a few less calories, then I'll succumb, despite the labeling.)
2. Hugs. Hugs from friends, hugs from loved ones, I tell ya. The world would be a slightly less frazzled place if people made sure they got hugs every day. I trained Polly to give hugs, and they're hilarious - pat your chest and say "Hugs!" and WhOMP you have a 45# labrador standing up, pressing her head on your chest. Licking, yes, but I love her so!
3. Knitting. All the yarns, all the patterns, all the gizmos and gear - it's a fabulous hobby that's relaxing and productive.
4. Friends. Including my best friend in the entire universe, JWo.

You know what we all need to remember? It's the easiest thing to forget, I think. We have entire groups of people in our lives who think WE are the Greatest Thing Ever. A work friend caught me in a dark moment last Friday and said, "Jennifer, there are so many people who respect you and think the world of you and your abilities, and you can't ever forget that." Which is what I do, sometimes every minute of every day, because I'm conditioned to think those sorts of thoughts are Puffery. And when too many of those minutes are spent forgetting, I find the slippery slope part of life that seems to descend and not rise back up and the dark depression demons start gathering, pointing in my direction. But the theory behind Misguided Motivation is if we think we're Great, we won't try harder or keep working. Gee, what would happen if I thought I was Great and I kept working? Could it be? Hm! Some semblance of Happiness and Contentment?

If there's one thing I have learned in 36 years is that I am not the only one who feels these things, either. (You know how it was when you were 22 - NObody understood your plight. Rubbish. Everyone goes through similar stuff. Which is why I feel brave enough to put some of this into words.) So all of you out there need to remember the Greatest Thing Ever theory, too, just as I work to remember it. Some people are lucky and it comes more naturally to them. The good thing about Greatest Thing Ever is that it applies to everything, equally. From fish sticks to ice cubes, Colinette yarn to fresh pasta, and from me, to you.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:22 AM | link |

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Wake Up Call

There is nothing like setting your alarm (at 12:30 a.m., after a double feature of violent scary movies) and having your bed partner say, "Why are you setting your alarm?" and you reply, "Because I have THINGS TO DO in the morning!" and then when your alarm goes off, you hit the snooze seven times and then turn the whole contraption off. Because this little awake part of your brain seems to think it can rally round the cerebrum (with a pocket full of cheese!) and wake all the other parts up, but then it finds out quite quickly that the sleepy fat gnome in charge of Eye Operations isn't having ANY of that nonsense, and he cold-cocks that optimistically happy awake part and you slide back into blissful slumberland.

So an hour later you get awakened by bed partner sliding across the mattress and hugging you, saying, "I thought you had things to do this morning?" while AT THE EXACT SAME MOMENT, your worshipping dog licks your exposed bare foot. That, my friends, is a LOT of stimuli that even the Eye Operations Gnome cannot ignore. But it's still better than the alarm clock. And I made it to Einstein's on time, where I met my friend Julie and her baby Lily, who was wearing the overalls I gave her (because every baby needs overalls) and the bright pink sweater jacket I knit her. I'll get pictures up in the next day or two, I promise. I even get called Auntie Jen, which is totally awesome, because even though we're not related, I love them like family, which in the end, is really what it's all about!

It was great to catch up & play with the baby, except for the part where I dumped my entire cup of coffee everywhere (not on Lil', thankfully). I mean everywhere. The table, my purse, the floor - I even made the guy at the next table flinch and check his pants for random coffee spray. I'd give it a 9 out of 10 for making a mess. .

Apparently Reflex Gnome was on break at the time. Leave it to me to have a Gnome Union.
posted by PlazaJen, 1:41 PM | link |

Blogger Tag!

Bekah - fresh off of Mardis Gras partying, I might add, just instigated a game o' tag with me. I can already tell my answers to this particular quiz are gonna show my age.

1. Total amount of music files on your computer?
79 in MP3's. One is the Christmas song with Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sans. I have to pause and butt dance in my chair now.

2. The CD you last bought is:
Snow Patrol's "Final Straw". LOVE IT.

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?
Hm. That would have to be the theme music to "Alien vs. Predator" on the credits of the movie last night.

4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.
"Chocolate", by Snow Patrol, because I LOVE IT. "The Way You Move" by Big Boi and Outkast. Anything by Barry White makes me happy because it reminds me of awesome times with my husband. (Hey! Get yer mind outta the gutter. 'Sides that, we got married to Barry White!) "O Happy Day" by the Edwin Hawkins Singers, because as a toddler, I would stand in front of my father's two-and-a-half-foot tall speakers and dance to it, and I still will, but without the diapers. OK, I can't believe I'm admitting it, but "Saved the Best for Last" by Vanessa Williams. There. A tiny chink in my armor, exposed. (grin)

Who are you going to pass this stick to? (3 persons) and why?
Let's go with people who I know have music on their computer! Kristin, Sara, and just to see if she has any, and to force her to update,CHEWDY! Wild Scorpy, m'dear, I tagged you on an earlier quiz. Feel free to play but no pressure. ;)

OH, wait! MY HUSBAND! Husband! Update thy blog!
posted by PlazaJen, 9:37 AM | link |

Saturday, February 05, 2005

With a Pocket Full of CHEESE

I like to make up my own lyrics sometimes, especially if it's a song with a catchy tune but I'm not terribly interested in learning the words for my car (or shower) singing. There are songs I work hard to learn, to memorize - some songs are just really easy to hear what they're saying, and then other songs, the words are harder to hear, or the music is louder than the singer, blah blah blah, basically, I'm getting older and I find myself picking and choosing what I'm going to sacrifice as far as hard drive space in my brain.

So yesterday morning I was hopping around trying to get my husband to recognize a specific song, and I was angry-singing "Standing in the AIRport, with a pocket full of CHEESE." He looked at me like I had announced we were selling everything and moving to Tibet to wear orange robes and sit on prayer rugs. Obviously I was not even close on those lyrics, so I would need to do it again, WITH FEELING and a little more of the music. I am not easily daunted, so I continued to sing, with more angry metal gods in my voice: STANDin' in the AIRport! a pocket full of CHEESE!

Oh. Mah. God. Yes, he got it. It's Rage Against the Machine's "Bulls on Parade". And the lines I was screeching are actually, "Rally round the family, with a pocket full of shells." Of course my thrashin' metal hubby knows this. He corrected my version softly.
I stopped my metal-dancing, which is me hopping from foot to foot and holding an imaginary microphone for my angry song: "Hm. So, it's a violent song, hm?"
"Hm. Well, I like saying 'Pocket Full of Cheese' better. "
"Pocket full of SHELLS, Jennifer."
"Yes, well, that's the way THEY sing it. I'd rather have a pocket full of cheese, myself."

I would. I like cheese. I like when hip-hop artists talk about getting lots of cheese. I know they don't mean Gruyere, or Gouda or - gasp - Havarti, the blessed of the blessed cheeses. But it makes me laugh more to think about getting bits of Vermont Aged Sharp Cheddar instead of Benjamins, or Kasseri cheese instead of rifle shells. Velveeta shells & cheese, now THAT would be something in your pocket. A dreadful mess, yes, but what a nice non-violent message it would send the youth of today. Rally 'round the calcium!!

With a pocket full of cheese.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:39 AM | link |

Friday, February 04, 2005

The 9th Dwarf

In determining my dwarf name was "Fussy", we also agreed Hubby could give "Grumpy" a run for his money. Never one to shy away from a thesaurus, I would offer up alternatives, including "Testy", "Surly", "Crotchety", and my favorite by a gnome nose, "Peevish".
posted by PlazaJen, 4:32 PM | link |

Stop. Shower Time!

I love my shower radio. I was even talking about it at Knit Night a month or so ago, and Abbey said, "Oh my gosh! I always looked at those and wondered, 'Who buys those?'!"

Well, that would be me. I'm not ashamed. I like it. The first time I took a shower with it, Green Day was playing ("Boulevard of Broken Dreams") and I started singing along, and immediately, the dog started burfing. BURF! Hey, she's gotten used to it now. She just wants to make sure we are always ready to move to a higher alert level.
In any event, I enjoy my $20 gadget, it has a clock (so I can see how late I am), and even a mirror (so I can NOT look at myself, mmmmmk, I'm confident but not that narcissistic). It has a three-suction-cup thingy that slides into a slot on the back, if you want it to stick to the wall - AND/OR it has a shoelace-sort of hanger to sling over the shower head. I excel at overkill in some areas of my life, and Shower Radio Safety is one of those areas. The tile on the walls are small tiles, and the positioning of the suction cups allows for only TWO suction cups to work. Plus, I don't have a lot of faith in those things. So I use the two suction cups, AND the rope thingy over the shower head. And the rope thingy is secured by one of those gizmos nobody even bother to name, the thing you push in so the holes are open, and then you thread the laces through, and let go, and then it springs back and through tension, holds the laces in place. Commonly seen on parka hoods and sleeping bags. Mmmmkay? Got the visual?

So I'm getting in to shower one morning, and turn my radio on. In adjusting the volume, I accidentally bump the tuner. ARGH. I can't deal when a radio station is not coming in perfectly. The scratchy and the feedback - sends me to the moon. So as I try to mess with the tuner, WHUPS, the suction cups come off. I told you! You can't trust them! So I'm grabbing behind the shower radio (keep in mind the water is on, adding Slippery and Vision Reduction to the drama!) and I accidentally press that damned gizmo that holds the rope laces in place. Now the radio is falling, because Gravity takes over. (GRAVITY: IT'S THE LAW.) And I (not realizing how loud I'm being) unintentionally start sing-song-shouting, "OH OH OH OH OH OH OH OH OH!" And my husband is cracking up on the other side of the wall because I sound EXACTLY LIKE M.C. HAMMER.

Shower Time!

You just try and tell me you can't hear that catchy music in your head now. :)

Then James started banging on the wall because I was singing, and it was just like the Good Old Days at Widow Creek with the Neighbor From Hell, and all I could do was laugh and laugh and laugh at the thought of JUST how horrible her life would have been if I'd discovered the shower radio a few years sooner. Oh, yes. I would have had my own drum section covered by her banging, eeeeevery morning. (According to her, I did my laundry at 5 in the morning. Helllo, have you met me? I don't get up that early unless (altogether now!) it's the DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING OR THE DAY AFER CHRISTMAS. I will try to put together a few blog recaps about those joyous days, because now, free of apartment living and a next-door-neighbor who drove every resident crazy, they are funny stories. Not while I lived them, and believe you me, I didn't just take her allegations and banging and roll over and turn the other cheek. It's as I said last night to my husband about the cable company trying to overbill us, and it applied to Harriet the Horrible as well, "You just don't fuck with me." Can't Touch This!

STOP! Shower time.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:12 AM | link |

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The 8th Dwarf

Hubby & I decided that my dwarf name would be "Fussy".

I'm OK with that.
posted by PlazaJen, 5:03 PM | link |

Reason # 147 Why I Am Not A Secret Agent

.....or a Double Agent, or a Triple-Secret Black Ops Agent.

Two out of five nights a week, I exit the little concrete structure that connects all the parking garage levels - and I have NO IDEA where my car is. I stop. I mutter. Never mind that in most instances, a mere 4 hours earlier, I had returned from Lunch, parked the vehicle in question, and no, I do not have a Do-It-Yourself-Lobotomy Kit at my desk. So I veer in one direction, ambling along, until I round the corner and see, no, my car is not there, therefore, logic dictates it is in the OTHER direction. Oh ho, yes, there it is. Shuffle, shuffle.

And by that point, the Bad Guys would have caught up with me, riddled my body with bullets, and stolen all of the Crucial Documents and Computer Files.

Agent Sidney Bristow ALWAYS knows where her ride is.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:39 AM | link |

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Final Straw

HAH! you thought this would be about work! But it's not! Hah! It's just a shout of joy and praise for the "Final Straw" album by Snow Patrol. I LOVE THEM. They are like an Irish Coldplay mixed with a smidge of Cranberries and a dash of bitters. Sounds like a mighty tasty beverage for your ears, doesn't it?
posted by PlazaJen, 2:50 PM | link |

"Beef Reminds Us of the Good Old Days"

Sometimes I think advertising copywriting has to be the funniest job in the universe. I thought about doing it, but I'm too sensitive to criticism on things that I make/do/create, I'd get fired for crying on the job, probably. So, hey, why not have a blog on the internet where trolls could ridicule me? (paroxysms of laughter. hoping the trolls have to look that word up & then forget where they were and go live under somebody else's bridge.) Anyhoo, that was the first thing I heard on the radio when I got back to my desk after lunch and I thought, "Hm. Beef really doesn't remind ME of the Good Old Days, but I'll file that under "Curious" and meanwhile it kinda makes me laugh."

The Lovely Miss K and I went to Westport CoffeeHouse at lunch today, to eat paninis and drink beverages & work on our sock knitting. It was only 211 degrees in there, so my blood did not actually boil, but my cafe latte stayed hot a lot longer than say, a place with the heat set at 85 degrees. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not like the heat so much. My office is often referred to as the "meat locker". I justify the cooler temperatures by saying I would fall asleep if it were warmer. That said, I would have been in a coma if we'd stayed at WCH any longer. What cracked me up, prior to going there, is that I did some research online to ascertain that they did, in fact, serve lunch-type food. Not that I'm opposed to eating cheesecake and drinking coffee for lunch, but that makes for a bad scene around 3:00 in the afternoon, and if you've read any of my Shopping-at-Costco-Hungry posts, you have an inkling of what sort of behomoth fat crazy wonker lady I turn into with the blood sugar crash. So yay! They serve cold sammiches AND paninis. They even state on their website, the cold sammiches are served on "Baggett".

I messaged Kristin: "I am still deciding if we can go there, they don't know how to spell 'baguette'. And they have pronunciation guides for 'panini' and 'focacia', which they did spell correctly."

Oh yes, I did. I am that much of a snob. And I justify my snobbiness because I LOOK EVERYTHING UP. See, I'm not saying I'm one of those people who automatically knows how to spell everything? I do know how to spell a LOT of things, mainly because I went to the state competition in 8th grade and it turned into something that was a little more important to my father than to me, so I went out on "leucite", but still, I made it really far, and my dad was so disappointed he didn't speak to me the whole 7 hour ride home, but I don't think that scarred me, do you? (I've forgiven him. Don't you hold a grudge now. They'll eat you UP!)

Anyway, if I'm not sure about a word, spelling or definition, I ALWAYS double-check. and are my friends. And I know I have typos here and there, but I proofread like a freakazoid and try my darndest to catch 'em. And I think, much like my earlier post this week, if you're going to spend money and time promoting yourself, your business, have information on a website, or have it ENGRAVED INTO PLASTIC, then you damn well better be sure you're spelling everything correctly, not to mention you haven't thrown some extra apostrophes in for good measure. ACK! Don't get me started on apostrophes. People are afraid of the apostrophe. They think if an "s" is on a word, then let's be safe and put an apostrophe in there. Oooooooooh, drives me nuts. I used to correct my high school teachers' spelling and punctuation all the time. ALL THE TIME. It did not endear me to them. (shocking!)

So while we were there, a man came in and was trying to figure out what to order. Apparently a coffeehouse virgin, he was. He had no clue! So the barista CORRECTED HIS PRONUNCIATION of something and Kristin and I exchanged looks. As in, WHOA, they ARE crazy about this here! Then the man eventually sat near us and this must have been his first day in the Big City, as evidenced by his inability to drink his beverage without copious amounts of SLURPING. It was borderline insane. Like he's got to be belching by now from all the air intake. Which is probably Russian for "Good Coffee", where he's from, but still. I freak out if I slurp the bottom of a glass with my straw, I can almost see my parents' glares in my memory-eye. (note proper apostrophe usage!) (My dad would burp after dinner and say, "That's Russian for 'Good meal'!")

Anyway, all this bally-hoo about pronunciation reminded me of a coffee house I used to frequent in Minneapolis - they served ice cream and pastries, and had the the snottiest staff EVER. For, if you ever pronounced anything incorrectly, they would arch their eyebrows at you and correct you. You, the customer. My ex-boyfriend took great delight in this, and was always ordering (sounds like) "One Croyzunt, to go". And they would nearly fall down in SnobPain, eyebrow twitching, as they haughtily replied, "It's pronounced KrwaSAN".

It strikes me, as far as the written word, I'm just as bad as them and probably twice as haughty. The difference is I'm more entertained by it all.

posted by PlazaJen, 1:19 PM | link |

Squirrel Shelter

I actually was chatting online with a friend of mine yesterday - I'm becoming Old School anymore - I'd rather write an email than IM! Anyway, she used to work with me & has since moved to another city - and we were discussing some of the details of the 'State of the Union', and I was indulging in some self-pity, lamenting my lot in life, in my Old Age, as I continue searching for my Purpose, and as I work towards my dreams and such, and if you know me for more than five minutes, you'll know I LOVE ME THE METAPHORS. Love 'em. Imagery, hyperbole, all that stuff. I love to DESCRIBE.

So I was describing me: "It's like I'm caught over in some dead tree by the bank and everyone else is canoeing right on through the rapids. "

To which my friend replied, "Yes, but you are the shelter for a lot of homeless little squirrels...they are grateful for you."

Me, laughing OUT LOUD: "This must be the "penance" phase of my life then. Squirrel Shelter."

The funny thing is, it's sorta true. And, actually, it's not so bad. I like being there for people and helping them feel better. Keep your eyes peeled, Squirrel Shelter Life Coaching could be coming to a strip mall near you.....

posted by PlazaJen, 9:41 AM | link |

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Road Rules

OK, I like to dabble in trifling fantasies sometimes, mostly under the header "If Jen Ruled The World" and one of those governing rule mandates would have to cover driving.

Here's a few rules that would get implemented under my tyranny, I mean, Benevolent Rule:

1. Turn Signals.
A. If you throw it on WHILE you're in the middle of changing lanes, it does NOT COUNT. In fact, it is more insulting that you did it as an "afterthought", rather than putting it on and THEN moving over. Like you're throwing a bone to the rest of us "riff-raff" and blessing us with a half-baked courtesy. Ticket.
B. If you LEAVE your signal on, extensively, blinkety-blink-blink-blink long after you've changed lanes? Ticket.
C. You completely ignore using a signal and instead rely on the element of "surprise" when changing lanes, often indicated by a grabbing of the steering wheel and violently throwing it to the left or right, while punching the gas? Ticket.

2. If your wipers are on, your lights are on. Minnesota made this a rule/law. It's a good one. Don't do it? Ticket.

3. Constant tapping of the brakes. Look. Either you need to slow down or you don't. I remember a crazy illustration when I was young, of Goofy, illustrating how you used the brake: you pretended that you had an egg between your foot and the pedal. I was, apparently, the only person to see this. I will not fine you for this, but I may run you off the road. If you're so afraid behind the wheel, take the f'ing bus. You've been warned.

4. See a "Lane Closed Ahead" sign? This does not translate, in ANY LANGUAGE, to "Speed Like The Devil Until Lane Ends And Then, Merge Like A Bastard In Front Of Everyone Else Who Payed Attention." Do it again? Ticket.

5. Someone lets you in, because you put your blinker on and you were doing it at the right time? Give 'em a wave. It's fifty cents in the karma bank, and thirty dollar debits if you don't.

This is, of course, only a start. I'm sure we'll have a future blog post covering more driving transgressions (and yes, that's the ROYAL WE). However, lest you fear for your personal independence and freedoms under my rule, think again. In Land of Jen? There are NO MOTORCYCLE COPS.

oh. But. One last thing. I'm always in front. Always.

posted by PlazaJen, 8:59 AM | link |