PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Summah Summah-tiiiime.....

OK, so all I do now when I'm outside is sweat. It's awesome! It's like, TOTALLY cleansing! My pores are the size of nickels, and I prefer to think of it as a moist dewy glow, not a slick salty sheen.
Yeah, what-fuckin-ever. Welcome to Missouri, where sometimes we call it "Mizzery" because that's what 100-degree weather IS. Hell's waiting room.

But this is actually a happy post. It's a good thing. Martha would rip that poncho right off over her head if she was out here in this heat, but I'm sure she'd whip up some homemade ice cream and sew us all some cool icee bandanas to tie around our necks.

Tuesday night, JWo was on a canning spree. He'd bought some cauliflower & carrot slices at the grocery store & all the rest was from the garden - banana peppers, jalapenos, onions, zucchini, & cukes. The first round of canning had begun, and we were making Hot Mix. The air was heavy with fumes from the apple cider brew, as it bubbled with turmeric and mustard seed. It burned our eyes and replaced oxygen in our lungs, but the payoff came later, after I'd packed the jars full of vegetables, and he'd hot-water processed them.

Every few minutes, a metallic "pop" sang out from the dining room table, telling us that another jar had vacuum-sealed shut. We didn't say anything, just looked at each other each time we heard it, and smiled. An official start of the summer harvest.

posted by PlazaJen, 7:28 AM | link |

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Because I Like Nice Things

There was a furniture store in St.Louis that featured the children of the founder (and when I say children, I don't mean cute tykes, I mean 30-year old spoiled rotten cheeseballs), and at the end of every spot, the guy would point at the camera & in a drawl, state: "Because you lahk NAHCE THANGS!"

That line, of course, became part of the everyday vernacular. Feel like going out & buying some clothes? Why not! Because you lahk nahce thangs. Spent a little extra on lunch? Of course you did. Because you lahk nahce thangs! I still hear it, in my head, even when I am just internet-window-shopping, and I click through on, say, a Bed Bath & Beyond email touting some new bed linens, and I discover the color scheme I was attracted to includes a dust ruffle that could be mine for the unbelievably great price of $229. For a fuckin' DUST RUFFLE. Brain Kerfuffle! That dust ruffle would be covered with black dog hair in one day. But hey, I could use one of my eight thousand 20% off coupons! That would bring it down to just $183.20. FOR A DUST RUFFLE. Do you know how much yarn that kind of bling would buy? How many pairs of Doc Martens from Sierra Trading Post? Hell, it's almost two iPod Shuffles! A new set of tahrs fo' the Civic! Four nice dinners out with the free spirit who is the JWo!

All I could do was laugh when I saw the prices. It never fails for me to pick the spendy-spendy things, NOT THAT I ACTUALLY BUY THEM (all the time). Blame my parents for the emphasis on good taste & having the finest. Why wouldn't I be drawn to a $229 dust ruffle? I mean, geez - it's 100% silk. Of course it costs that much!

Because I lahk nahce thangs.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:04 AM | link |

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Polly Picked A Paper While Peppers Were Being Picked

OK, my dog Polly is one enthusiastic dog. Black Lab, loves EVERYthing. Vegetables, running at high speeds, licking, hugging, toys, sneaking an entire pound of cooked bacon off the kitchen counter, you know, the whole 9 yards. One thing she especially loves is to get the Paper in the mornings. Any time of day, just the mention of "paper" makes her ears go into full-on bat-wing alert. Sometimes a head cock to boot.

(Do you need me to get the paper again? It's no problem! I love to get the paper!)

This morning, while JWo was out picking peppers (he's gonna pickle 'em!) she snuck off - and came back with - yep, a paper! Aaaaaaand she'd already fetched ours this morning. So she'd run down the street, looking for another subscriber, because obviously we needed all the papers collected, and she was ON IT.

So my apologies to one of our neighbors - I know the Star will bring you another one - but our doggie just can't help herself! She loves to get the paper. PAPER!
JWo, get the PEPPERS! I guess that leaves me to get the Patrón!
posted by PlazaJen, 8:51 AM | link |

Monday, June 27, 2005

I'm a Quiz Ho.

Thanks, Scorpy.
I love me some quizzes...

Take the MIT Weblog Survey
posted by PlazaJen, 9:56 PM | link |

Cheap Thrills ....

.... putting mentholated lip balm on the dog. Just a smidge.

Hey, she wanted to know what I was doing. So I shared!
posted by PlazaJen, 9:43 PM | link |

The Wicked Witch of the Plaza

Just to let you know, my tagline for the summer will be: "I'm Melting! I'm Melting!"

Two more months and then hope is in sight.
Sweltering, sweaty Jen until then. Purty!
posted by PlazaJen, 1:24 PM | link |

Seems Like A Sensible Policy....

Over at Becky's blog, she wrote about going to an adult store to shop for an upcoming bachelorette party. It reminded me of some of my (always hilarious) ventures into those stores, the funniest being a time many many moons ago in Chicago. We were in some store in the Boystown area, and were strolling around, giggling at some things, marveling at others, furrowing our brows at some...... and then at the counter I espied a little note taped to the cash register, written in all capital letters: NO RETURNS ON BUTT PLUGS.

Well, never shying away from an opportunity for a laugh, I asked the guy, "So, do you get a lot of people trying to return butt plugs?" And he (VERY seriously and oh so VERY gay) responded, "OH, yes. People are ALWAYS buying them way too big. They think the small ones look too small, so they don't buy them, and then they come back the next day, wanting to exchange them. And we just won't do that."

Okey dokey. Good to know! And I can't really blame them!
posted by PlazaJen, 9:25 AM | link |

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Fashionably Late

Until one of us dies, JWo and I will always always always disagree on the matter of time. His alarm clock is set 17 minutes faster than "real world" time. My clock is jacked up and off by a few minutes, because I still haven't fixed it since I randomly set it after the power went off a couple weeks ago. It's a mind fuck, in my opinion, to live by a clock that is not reflecting the current real time. It's playing a game with yourself, so that wherever you end up, you're there early. And me? I'm always late. I get distracted easily and I long ago gave up excessive worrying about timeliness, because it wasn't something I got raised with - my father being the chronic late arriver, every time.

Take today's fish fry - his grandparents? Arrived an hour early. I no longer am surprised by these events, but instead have the opinion that in arriving early, they will then get what they get - which is me sweating profusely in a nightshirt, vacuuming. Hey, if the party ain't startin' 'til 4, no tellin' what you'll discover at 3. Pretty don't get out of the box 'til 3:45, and you can marvel at the transformation.

And take the term "Fashionably Late". Fashion. Style. As in, vogue, trend. Dare I say, cool. You never hear about "Nattily Early" or even "Ravishingly On-Time." I'm just sayin' - the terminology doesn't judge or say late is bad. I can find the differences between us & laugh at 'em, because neither of us is changing dramatically tomorrow, and despite the differences, there's nobody I'd rather wake up next to - even if my clock says 7:02, his says 7:19, and Naval clock in Maryland says 6:59.
posted by PlazaJen, 11:21 PM | link |

Friday, June 24, 2005

The picture...

The reason I'm lovin' the photo of the old people behind me is that I actually captured their reflection (and possibly their souls) in my rearview mirror, exactly as I saw them from the driver's seat. (I figured if I tried to wrench-around & shoot it through the back window, they'd have seen me!) Plus, if I'd turned around for their picture, it would have allowed you to see all the crap in my backseat. I use my car as a very large, very not-paid-off purse.

I love the idea of a series of photos like that, what you can capture in a small mirror - but if you're using your rearview mirror, just remember you have to hold the camera up further than your eye, because you don't have much error room & cropping when you're that close! (thus the ten pictures & two stoplights...)

Is it a blogging photo challenge? Just don't do it WHILE DRIVING peeps, that is too dangerous! Safety First!

~Your Iowan Good-Driver Blog Hostess
posted by PlazaJen, 8:38 PM | link |

In Forty Years....

My birthday is fast approaching, and I already started to flip out about turning forty. (In three more years, but I figure if I start prepping now, it won't be a big deal by then!) So aging & life & whatnots are top-of-mind right now.

On my way to meet the KnitChicks for a field trip to Lawrence, to the Yarn Barn & dinner at Free State Brewery, I take a different route than planned, staying off the highway and on the bigger streets. Not too bad, it worked out ok. Being a GOOD DRIVER, I am always checking my mirrors, noting who and what's around me, etc. At one of the stoplights, I look in my rearview mirror, and see JWo and Me, in forty years. The woman is wearing those enormous plastic sunglasses you wear over your regular glasses (which I already know I'll end up wearing, when I can't find my Jackie O dinner plate sunglasses). The guy looks like he's been married to her a long time. I could see them talking to each other, and I could imagine them griping about the traffic and who had the brilliant idea to go down Quivera during RUSH HOUR, and the other one saying YOU'RE the one who had to go to Red Lobster tonight, and then they laughed.

It just struck me as FUN-NY. It took me two stoplights and about ten pictures, but I finally got the shot, from my perspective:

Looking backwards at the future.... Posted by Hello
posted by PlazaJen, 6:01 AM | link |

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Last night at dinner, James told me about one of his summer school kids having a tooth that was ready to fall out - and it's completely capped in silver. Dude! What is up with that? I don't know how much that stuff costs, but I know that capping BABY TEETH is like throwing twenty-dollar bills out the window! Sheesh! Cap the teeth you keep!

So of course, I get all squirrely and start talking about how I'm going to get all my front teeth done, but not completely capped, no, I want just the bottom outlines done. Unless they can do little stamps in the metal before it hardens, and then I'll have images of Polly & Suzy put in the two front ones. DAWGGS! Fly teeth for life!

And then I did a goofy overbite and dipped my front body down and semi-shouted "CRUUUUNK"! (like Li'l John does, you know, I am hip to the hip-hop culture sweeping the nation. We watch MTV2. I am a hip-hop SPONGE.) I was delighted that it made JWo laugh really hard. I would have shouted louder, but you know, we were like, OUT to dinner and it would have been a little rude.

Then, when someone tries to give me a hard time, I can yell, "DON'T YOU BE GETTIN' UP IN MAH GRILL" and I'll have grill teeth to bare at them, and they will know my teeth are the grill and they will run to save their hip-hopless soul. And I will tell them to get MTV2 on their cable provider, because then you can learn all the hot fashion tips & lingo, as well as learn great songs that really affirm and praise women. OK, that last part? Total bullshit.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:00 AM | link |

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Qantas Never Crashed

Saw this article, and sent it off immediately to further prove Iowans are, indeed, the best drivers around. Now it's backed up by the insurance industry. Go Iowaegans!

So I sent it to JWo, along with a smug line about the co-pilot commentary now being put to rest. And he wrote back, with a quote from the article.

"I'd like to think it's because everybody is so polite,"

JWo: Uhhh...didn't you tell someone to "Fuck Off" while driving last week? I don't think the article applies to you! :D

fiiiiine. But those boys were being really rude, FIRST. I just responded in kind. And didn't get in a wreck doing it, despite the anger, middle finger & half my head flying out the window. I'm an EXCELLENT driver. Ten minutes to Wapner.
posted by PlazaJen, 1:26 PM | link |

If I Were A Kinder, Gentler Jen

The older I get, the more I can see the side of me that is forgiving, and tolerant, and understanding. However, I often slam the door on that person within me, opting instead for the sharp-tongued, acerbic, and, dare I say, funnier person. I blame my father, for fostering in me the mind sprints to seek the humor, as fast as possible, and to grab it at the heart & rip it out for all to enjoy. A bit brutal, yes.

I re-sharpen my tongue daily. One poor (unknowing, unwitting, rather dim individual) got me going again yesterday. In our house, she is known as "(NAME), PRESIDENT OF HER UNDERPANTS!" because she uses her title EXCESSIVELY - especially when she calls, as though she's getting a table at Le Cirque. Oh, mais oui, mademoiselle presidente! May we serve you complimentary Cristal for the pleasure of your company gracing our world-class restaurant?! No, no, we cannot take your money, it is NO GOOD here. Good god. I could just go on and on, but that would cross the line from acerbic sideline commentary into taking it all too seriously myself. Suffice it to say, I can't help but dabble with vicious back-stabbing, if only for the amusement of my friends. You could say it makes me less of a person than her, but sweet mother, she makes the humor-poking so easy! It's that whole fish-in-a-barrel thing. And if she didn't act like she's better than everyone, and that her ass, and her ass alone smells like roses all day long, I honestly wouldn't get so wound up. That's probably why I got so wound up all the time at my last job - so many people with inflated egos, bad management skills, and no desire to look at any shortcomings so they could improve things. Perhaps I like therapy too much - the examination of all of my own issues, faults, missteps and mistakes, but I think there's something be said from learning from them, not ignoring them, or living in la-la land.

If I were a short-order cook (and I am short), I'd have a sign in my restaurant. It'd say: "Humility. Served Daily." There'd also be lots of swearing. And a twelve-gauge under the counter. But also pie! There would be all kinds of pie! A la mode! Because pie without ice cream is like a kiss without a hug & a squeeze.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:09 AM | link |

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Conversations About Me

After seeing a commercial for "Entourage" on HBO, I looked at JWo and said, "If I ever get famous, I'm totally making Shelley my agent. Because she can kick serious ass, and that's what you need in an agent."

JWo nodded, kept on munchin'.

"And you?" I continued, "You'd be my ARM CANDY!"

That got a thumbs-up.

I think I'd open my own yarn shop with my celebri-wealth, and let all my friends draw dizzingly silly salaries to work there & knit all the yarn they wanted. I think that might even make them "tax deductible", something you always want in an entourage.

My impending fame & fortune aside, I must plug the funny website again - I just love the frothingly biting celebrity-focused blog, Conversations About Famous People. Our knit friend Gretchen found it, and it just reinforces how much SHE needs to get her own blog, because she is a hysterical cheeky monkey! Do you hear me G? Only bloggers will be in the entourage. ;)
posted by PlazaJen, 9:04 AM | link |

Monday, June 20, 2005

There Is No Free Lunch

One of the "perks" right now, in the new job, is that everyone wants to take us to lunch. When I say "everyone"? I mean every single person gainfully employed in a sales position in the greater Kansas City area. EVERY ONE of them.

As in life, I am not going to be friends with everyone I meet, or even break bread with. We are currently in the mode of defining with whom we'll ever entertain the NOTION of having lunch with again! These lunches can get painful. When the sales managers trail along, it turns into a small sideshow, with the salespeople being good lap dogs & behaving & not showing all of themselves, but then bursting with enthusiasm and salesperonship & doing good table tricks to show their bosses that they're doing their jobs. As I always say, there is no free lunch. Somebody may be paying for it, but I'll never get those minutes back! Today's lunch was no different.

Except Kristin kept looking at me like she was going to figure out how to bury my dead body somewhere along Brush Creek once she finally killed me. That made me a little nervous. Good thing my entree came with a big knife.....
posted by PlazaJen, 1:19 PM | link |

My Dream Job

I think one of my dream jobs might actually be (drum roll): Dominatrix.

Just think how clean my house would be - and THEY would be paying ME to do it! Plus I'd be stress-free, because I'd be flogging it out.

Gotta learn how to walk in those pointy boots tho.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:33 AM | link |

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Bubble Blurred

I still struggle with taking on other people's "stuff". I'm a fiercely loyal, loving person, and for those closest to me, I would do anything. Except rob a liquor store. Those don't always go well, I hear. Anyway, it's hard for me to not take on their problems, like they're my own. I feel it, I have an internal struggle with being frustrated & mad, and yet when the day is done, there's not one damn thing I can do except continue being a supportive friend, and try to squash & expel the extra emotion I'm carrying around, because it's not gonna make a difference, one iota. I realize it's all part of my own issues, wanting to be so connected to my parents, anyone, that I would immerse myself until my own (then frail) boundaries were bent, blurred and sometimes non-existent.

Yesterday my bubble rolled through & intersected with two different friend's lives, people who are both in relationships that could be better. Loads better. One of them probably shouldn't even be with the other person, but that's my judgement. I just wish I could give each of them some of my strength, enough to last beyond the time they're with me. I'd give them whatever it takes to make them feel better & do what they really need to do. I even said to JWo, "I wish I could just break off a chunk of my self esteem & give it to (*)." I counseled, I hugged, I admonished, I straight-talked most of the day yesterday, between both people. And yet today is a new day, and both people are still with their partners, situations? Probably unchanged. I got an email last night from one of them, the one I believed should end it, that they'd talked again & made progress - and I just felt like I'd been kicked in the gut. In our conversations yesterday, we'd compared the relationship to someone being beaten, in a physically abusive relationship. They agreed, they were the one being beaten. And the other person refuses to change. But they've made progress? I don't believe it. Because the leopard cannot change his spots, nor the Ethiopian his skin, and that person smelled their demise coming & did a serious sales job to someone who wanted to buy it. As Yoda might say, "Helpless, I am."

And now, I'm the one who said all this bad stuff yesterday, and was brutally honest about what I saw in their relationship. I don't think it will be held against me, but it's going to make it hard for me to look either of them straight in the eye. I'm not that good of a liar, and I've got duct tape on that side of my bubble after everything we went through yesterday.

But it did make me really grateful for what I have with JWo. So much so, he was completley absolved from weed-whacking the perennials I planted last year & he thought were weeds. It's a messy bed & he thought he was cleanin' up. I figure if they're tough enough, they'll come back next year. If not, it's just plants.

I wouldn't want to share my bubble with anyone else.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:49 AM | link |

Saturday, June 18, 2005

I'm a Trooper!

We had yesterday afternoon off at work - spent at the local amusement park. I'm not much on the rides, and I wasn't going to try to squeeze into a ride to discover I was too fat for it & have to wait for (all my co-workers) at the "phattys wait here" spot. James told me later there were some rides I could have gone on, but I didn't want to mess with it - there's also that fear in me that it's gonna me my time & number that comes up on those things & blam, goodbye cruel world. So I was the Mom. I walked the whole damned park with these people, heat blazing up radiating off the black asphalt, and they ALL STAYED TOGETHER. For two hours. I even joked with one guy that there was absolutely no chance to slip off and go back to my car. Until I got my chance, everyone but one person went on this fly-up-in-the-air-drop-down-til-you-puke ride, and he & I had worked together at the old place. So I saw my opportunity & said, "I'm leaving." He asked if he should pretend he lost me, or tell everyone I'd left, and I always prefer honesty, and told him he could tell 'em, I was heading home. I had a nice sweaty hike back to my car & felt like I got some good cleansing exercise for the day! My shins are barkin' today.

I honestly thought there'd be more non-riders in the group - but those people? didn't even go! DUH! I had hopes of knitting some socks & drinking some foo-foo drinks while the "kiddos" ran around in the heat. Sigh. It was not to be! But, then I thought about my old boss, how infamous she was for not going to events, not participating & not showing up at things, and even though I kinda felt like that? I wasn't going to be like that. Because just being there means something - even if I didn't ride the rides, I hiked around (in sandals! and got a ginormous blister under my big toe!) and chatted with and sweated profusely around people who are (mostly) younger than me. I will say that we did fit in all the rides at Disney - that was a pretty fun trip. And I sweated my ass of then, too. Nothing like Orlando in August!

Heh. That reminds me - we took a cooler on the plane, because we stayed on-property & wanted to try & save some money on food while we were there? So we bought groceries while we were there & saved our money for dinners out. The funniest thing of that whole trip (beside JWo's face in the picture from the Tower of Terror)? JWo hauling that wheeled cooler around the airport with his bags bungee-corded on it - it kept getting off-balance & we were already hot & annoyed & every five feet everything was tipping over. It's hysterical now - wasn't at the time! Cranky JWo. That was the same trip on which we had a HUGE blowout fight five days in, and as my auntie said, "Jennifer, everyone fights by Thursday at Disneyworld" - because it is just so perfect, and happy and the customer service is five-star, you just can't exist in all that "perfection" and not feel like things are imperfect! Our friends who just went had the same experience - ready to kill each other by the fifth day. So let that be a caution to any of you going for an extended Disney trip!

(We fought over who would go pick up our embroidered MICKEY MOUSE EARSat the front desk.)(That is some funny shit now. I love you JWo!)
posted by PlazaJen, 10:52 AM | link |

Friday, June 17, 2005

Seriously, I Could Eat A Horse. Clydesdale-Size Me.

If I were a video game? I'd be Ms.Pac-Man. Consuming every dot, blinking ghost, and surprise treat on the board. I wouldn't stop 'til everything was gone.

And on my commute in, a giant truck was stopped IN A LANE, and I realized it after I was behind it (they had their blinkers on) & so I put mine on, waiting for the light to change to move cars so I could get around them, and THEY HAD THE NERVE to wave at me, and then another one yelled at me that couldn't I see their blinkers were on???? OMG. If I could give out tickets for rudeness? They would be paying out the nose, little fuckers. I think they were lost, and frustrated, but I'm PMSing, and so I screamed BACK at them, "I'M TRYING TO GET AROUND YOU, I SEE THAT, SHUT THE FUCK UP!" And then when I parked in my spot I wanted to go back up the hill and yell at them some more.

Good thing it's a half-day at work. I could make people's ears bleed today. And then I'd eat them.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:55 AM | link |

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Sensing a Trend.... that I just now spilled half a glass of Diet Coke on my desk. That makes 2 spillages in one week. I'm going to end up living in a plastic bubble, with those white cones from the vet on my hands & around my neck. (That'll make knitting a real bitch. Hm.)

At least this time, my desk hadn't had time to re-clutter, and very little got splashed.....
posted by PlazaJen, 9:56 AM | link |

What I'm Knitting

Lady Eleanor from Scarf Style Posted by Hello

I'm really enjoying the entrelac & it's 100% due to the Noro yarn. I just LOOOOVE the colors. The picture has the pinks a little brighter, the dark greens too dark, but all-in-all, you get the idea of how it looks. I'm knitting this on slightly smaller needles (8 or 9, vs. 10.5) so it's not going to be the 27" wide (I'm cool with that), but hopefully I'll have enough yarn to get it long enough without having to stretch it. I bought the yarn from Wool Needlework - color #134. They have awesome prices, and they're fast!
posted by PlazaJen, 7:34 AM | link |

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

How To Brew Iced Tea

Get $5 coupon from Kristin for Adagio Teas, and after much delay, decide the Iced Tea Pot Set would be a perfect workday amenity, especially since summer has arrived.

Have it delivered to work. Wonder why it is not arriving.

Have it show up at home, finally, because of mistake on address & the zip code (that part was my fault); haul into work, where its usage was intended.

Be one of a select few to discover how to get hot water out of the water filtration system. Spill some on the floor to mark point of discovery. Burn your hand from the steam if you like, it's purely optional.

While pitcher sits, full of ice, set brewpot on handy black trivet-like-thing that arrived with it. Proceed to write the word "Trash" on three sides of the cardboard box so they take it away this time.

Turn around and realize you have the trivet upside down and it is triggering the "open" mechanism on the bottom of the brewpot. You will know this because 1/2 the hot tea contents are now slowly winding around the surface of your desk, soaking all papers in its undulating berry-blast red-river path. AWESOME!

Note how refreshed and herbal your freshly-wiped-down desk seems.

Empty brewpot into pitcher and re-brew a little more tea, repeating most of the above. Do not make mistake with trivet again.

Marvel at one's ability to get dressed in the morning and mentally thank your higher power that the computer was not harmed in the process of making iced tea. Because there's only so much leeway you get as a new employee, no matter what or where.

Enjoy iced tea and wonder if it will be tomorrow, next month, or six months from now that this process is repeated, if ever.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:18 AM | link |

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Mawwage, and Twoo Wuv

Last Friday evening, we attended the wedding of my former co-worker. This girl never fails to crack me up, sometimes in amazement, because she can talk like no other person I've met. Ever. Kristin once said she liked to watch me, watching her. Probably because I got slackjawed. You know how you think you're pretty good, if not plain good, at some things? I'm like that about talking, but I know when I'm in the presence of a professional.

All of that's neither here nor there. It was a very nice wedding & party, and they were a gorgeous couple. The funny part was that the wedding was basically inaudible (except for Steph. I heard everything she said, clear as a bell.) I heard about every third word, and actually got into a fit of giggles with another former co-worker that seemed to come for no reason and every reason all at once. The minister performing the service? Sounded like he'd just finished up the voicework for the re-release of the Princess Bride. Remember that wedding scene? MAWWWAGE. and TWOO WUV. Now, I'm not saying this particular minister had a true speech impediment? But the way the sound reached me, it sure clanged those familiar bells and then the fact that James had to elbow me every time we were done with bowing our heads (I couldn't hear the "All clear, raise your heads" command), it just got to me. And then when you can see other people in front of you, also doing the "huh? Can you hear any of this?" looks, it's just a teetering moment on the edge where you hope you can stop the silent giggle-shaking before you make a scene that everyone CAN hear. (We were able to stop.)

But it's still one of the most fun ways to laugh, where it feels like it could explode out of control, ripping through everything that's proper and well-mannered, and you never know if in that next second, you'll be on the floor, writhing & guffawing and crying from the pain in your stomach muscles & hoping you don't wet your pants but you wouldn't know because you can't feel your legs anymore. I did that once, in high school (lost control laughing, not wet my pants.) We were at a drama competition, and watching another school do a choral reading. Unfortunately, they all walked in, looking mournful & sad, holding plastic daisies & singing "Where Have All The Flowers Gone." I flat-out lost it. LOST IT. I got in so much trouble from our coach, it still makes me squint. But it was so over-the-top. I was lying down on our bleacher, trying to hide behind another student, while the giggles and laughter squeezed out of me like a balloon being stretched open horizontally at the opening, squeaking and honking, tears streaming out of my eyes.

James hit that point at the wedding, actually. He had the car keys, and was bored out of his gourd. Our group of co-workers (half of whom don't work there anymore) were gathered for pictures & we were laughing about the idea of that photo being on the company intranet in their little "daily picture" slot.... I look over, and JWo is crying, laughing. Turns out, he could see the people standing outside smoking, and we were parked near that doorway, and he started hitting the little "beep" on the car remote that indicates it's locked. The people would turn, startled & look at the car. Apparently, he'd been doing this for about 10 minutes, waiting until they'd resume talking & smoking & then doing some rapid-fire beeps. I had no idea what he was doing but just seeing him laughing & wiping tears from his eyes made ME start laughing, and once I found out what he'd been doing, I laughed harder. My soulmate.

May all of you laugh like that at least once this week. It's good for the soul. And stomach muscles (not to mention a whole lot easier than those pesky ab crunches.)
posted by PlazaJen, 7:13 AM | link |

Monday, June 13, 2005

He "Beat It"....

I'm going to just say this & not go on another rant, like yesterday's: I wasn't surprised at all that Michael was found not guilty. I thought mayyyybe on one or two of the lesser charges, he miiiight be? But I figured he would get off scot-free. And looky-looky, the American justice system once again proves that if you have money, you can overcome most obstacles that would bury you or me.

I will admit that I wasn't gung-ho with the idea of him going to prison, because I expected he'd be dead within a week, essentially, and while I don't know what the truth is, I know he has some serious issues, and he needs help. SERIOUS HELP. And parents who continue to send their kids there for weekend sleepovers and parties? Need to also get some help. And that's all I've got to say 'bout this.
posted by PlazaJen, 4:23 PM | link |

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Hollywood? You Can SUCK IT!

I've had it with temper tantrums and the pretense that Hollywood stars deserve all this privacy and no cameras and no consequences, blah blah blah. Russell Crowe? Needs some anger management, he's no different than the dude down at the Ford plant who blows up because he's drinking too much lately & he's worried about paying his bills and he pops some smart ass in the nose on the wrong day at the wrong time. But Russell will have different consequences - either paying off the hotel concierge, or paying a very expensive lawyer to plead down charges to something as inane as "littering". The Ford plant dude will have consequences. One of the snotty Olsen twins was just photographed flipping off the paparazzi. Now that's the image Wal-Mart and their saccharine-sweet teen flicks want to sustain. You know what? I think my breaking point came when I started reading about all the FREE SHIT these people get, just for being a)pretty, b)rich, c)connected or d)lucky. We're not talking free Downy samples or a little Dixie cup of new Splenda-sweetened Diet Coke, like you or I get when we go to SuperTarget. We're talking BLING fuckin' BLING, iPods and shit that you and I have to think and weigh and measure and wonder if we'll ever shell out the money for - some things we'll never buy - I don't need thousand-dollar sunglasses, my ass can easily break the cheap ones from Target, with less angst to boot. We're the ones who fund their lifestyles, by paying for the movies, music, watching the television shows, buying the products within, worn and seen. Where's my gift basket? Russell? Mary-Kate? Tom? Just pick up the phone, I'll give you my address, you can send me one of your 17 iPods.

In the meantime? I'm not going to feel an ounce of sympathy for your wilted life in the spotlight. You have a shitton of money, you can go buy yourself an island and chill, complete with some B-grade actor hired to bring you fruity drinks. Meanwhile, I'll be trucking around Kansas City, living my non-diamond-encrusted-life, scooping my margaritas out of a bucket in the freezer. And that's ok, quite frankly. The behavior half y'all exhibit tells me the person you become isn't necessarily the person I want to be. Just quit yer bitchin' & bad behavior.

I probably need to stop watching VH1's "Fabulous Life of...."
posted by PlazaJen, 9:29 AM | link |

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Dinner with Rosa Gwendolyn

Last night at the wedding reception, I made a blunder. A Gaffe. A Hilarity of Grand proportions, one I will live with FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, according to my husband. Because that is the only thing that is fair, given that I jump on anyone else's goof, funny, error and make it into a taffy pull of humor.

First off, two guys we didn't know sat at our table. As easy as it is for me to glibly talk with strangers, sometimes it just requires good old fashioned work. So I'm running through all the blind date questions I can barely remember. "Where did you go to school?" "Where are you from?" "What is your deepest darkest fear and how can I exploit it to my advantage?" (Wait, that's one I save.) And so I was talking about going to Grinnell, and the one guy's from Iowa, and he knew of Grinnell & its reputation, and that it is the least-Iowan kind of school, despite being smack in the middle of the cornfields.

Always eager to trumpet my alma mater, I lean forward and say, "Yes! It is! They bring in all sorts of people, I once had dinner with Rosa Parks!"

And I can tell from everyone's IMMEDIATE reaction that I have fucked it up. Because I usually have to explain who NOT ROSA PARKS, BUT GWENDOLYN BROOKS is when I say I had dinner with her when I was a junior in college. Keep in mind, I've only had two beers & a plate of food, this isn't a gin-induced transgression. My mind is now flying as fast as a child's flipbook cartoon. Rosa. Rosa. Sammy Sosa. Rosa Parks. Oh Shit. Bus. Seat. Rosa Parks. Who did I really have dinner with. Not Rosa. No Bus Seat. HELL.

So then I had to come clean, and of course, Gwendolyn Brooks, despite being a Pulitzer-prize winning POET, born in Kansas and from Chicago, a poet I believed everyone had read in 10th grade English, her most famous one, "We Real Cool", but not quite as cool as keepin' your seat on the bus during the civil rights movement, because that is ROSA PARKS Jennifer, and may you never, ever forget it again.

To honor Ms. Brooks, I give you her poem. Written in the 1950's - the words are still profound. It was an honor to meet her.

We Real Cool


We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:57 AM | link |

Friday, June 10, 2005

When Good Knitting Goes Bad

I take this post inspiration from the latest Berroco "Knit Bits" email newsletter. The madness is going to have to stop. "What madness?" you naively ask. Well, that's a broad question, sweetie, and there are far too many starting places in the exciting, popular world of knitting. Our friends at Berroco are always eager to push the envelope and develop edgy, "out-there" designs to keep the young, hip, and unstable under their spell. For instance, and it's just me talkin' here, but we don't need to crochet moccassins, unless we're starring in a re-enactment of Custer's Last Stand, and even then? I just don't think it's worth the time. Nor do we need to knit ourselves swimsuits, even if you're sporting the newest Hollywood Cokehead body that seems to be all the rage.

Last, but not least? The poncho. The poncho. I am not completely anti-poncho, nor am I anti-lefty, but I think we've got enough poncho patterns out there to satisfy the masses. Undaunted, our high-fashion knitware designers soldier on and present us with a poncho that is described as "a very wearable poncho."

IF YOU LIVE IN A PINEAPPLE UNDER THE SEA! And even Sir Spongebob would pick a more cheerful color.

The only positive thing I can say?

At least it's not a man-cho.

NO. VERBOTEN. CUIDADO. NO NO NO. Even if you're gay. This violates everything we have tried to accomplish as knitters, feminists, tastemakers and designers. Only Juan Valdez can wear garments like this, and his might be a ruana. And anyway, he picks coffee and his only friend is a DONKEY, so would you take fashion advice from The Juan? NO! NO! The poncho madness must stop! STOP! This one's courtesy of Lion Brand, and it should be set on fire. I'm not sure I'd wait long enough for him to take it off, either. OY. And I just noticed, his pants have zippers on the upper thighs. You would be snagged to kingdom come with pants like that and a Homespun poncho. Snaggy AND Trashy. Wait, isn't that the new Paris Hilton reality show? Thank god SHE hasn't taken up knitting. It probably involves too much of that "counting" thing, anyway.

OK. No more ranting. I'm leaving for the day. I love summer hours! (See? I can be positive!)
posted by PlazaJen, 11:57 AM | link |

Knitted Things! Super Cute!

I have cranked on the baby stuff these past couple of weeks, making some baby booties for a woman at work, and finishing Anouk from for my good friend's daughter. I'm actually referred to as "Auntie Jen", and I'm so honored by that; she's just precious & I hope I can be as good of an Aunt to her as my Auntie Karen's always been to me.

The baby booties were knit in Paton's Kroy sock yarn, doubled. The pattern is the "Textured Booties" - super duper easy - from "Fifty Baby Bootees to Knit", by Zoe Mellnor, and these are great for quick, fast presents. There are many elaborate booties in the book, and I've made the duck feet booties as well, so if you haven't seen the book, it's worth a flip through, if only to coo and ooh over all the CUTENESS!

Anouk is made with Cascade Pima Tencel, in exactly the colors called for in the pattern. Nobody in town sells this yarn, so I ordered it from Webs. The only thing I didn't do? Reverse the intarsia pattern on the pockets. Because if knitting with cotton makes me cranky, knitting colorwork makes my barely-there eyebrows furrow. The upside of this yarn is that it's like a cotton version of cashmere, it's really that soft. Everyone who's touched it has been surprised! And then they don't stop touching it. So if you were thinking of making a summery tee or shell or something out of cotton, you might want to consider this yarn, it's $5 a ball & if you spend levels of money at Webs, you get a percentage off. No, I don't get any commission. DAMMIT JEN.

Enough already, let's get to the pictures!

Textured bootees! Posted by Hello

Precious Anouk. Posted by Hello
posted by PlazaJen, 7:08 AM | link |

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Slugs:0, Me: 1

We had big, blustery, tornado-threatening storms in Kansas City last night. No matter which tv station you turned to, everyone's version of the Doppler featured RED, in vast quantities. Loads of rain. After most of it passed through, we let the dogs out before going to bed, and James walked around, noting all the bits of oak branches that had blown down. Then, he stopped & said, "Hand me that dustpan in there." I handed him our bright red, heavy metal dustpan. He proceeds to squash a slug. EEEWWWWW. But hey, I'm not a fan of slugs, and even though I'd rather kill them kindly with a shallow pan of beer, when one is stupid enough to slither right in front of the front door, it's going to have to tackle the killer who is the JWo.

So, we got to bed late, I'm up at 6:30, sleepy, contemplating going back to bed after I let the dogs out. Polly LOVE LOVE LOVES to get the paper. You can get her wound up inside just by saying, "Paper?" So she comes trotting up and I missed grabbing it from her mouth & it fell on the doormat. No biggie, let's all get back in the house, no treats today for getting the paper, because I studied that Skinner dude back in my first psychology lab, and treats given randomly for learned behavior actually encourage more of the behavior than regular, expected treats. Ok! And there's a mini psych lesson for you on this Thursday. So I take the plastic wrapper off the paper, squashing the end of it on my stomach, and toss the plastic, sort the paper & head to the bathroom with the funnies. I read all the funnies, (love me that Bucky Katz!) and just as I'm about to poooossibly go right back and sleep another half an hour, I suddenly feel that my nightgown feels all wet on my thigh.
Huh? I haven't wet the bed in 32 years. I reach down to pull it up & examine? And my hand brings me a GIANT FUCKING BLACK SLUG that had apparently been on the bottom of the paper bag, and he spent those five minutes with me, smearing his slow steady way across my nightshirt until he hit my thigh.

I screamed.

JWo, Killer of the Slugs, did not even wake up. The slug is now on the bathroom floor, because along with screaming, there was flinging, and mind racing, and much of the flipping out.

Now, I don't know about you, but this slug encounter now had me more awake than 13 cups of coffee. And while I guess slugs are part of the universe to break down matter and all? I cannot deal with them on my body. Pardon me while I stop to itch all the hair that has stood up on my head while I've re-lived this experience.

So, I'm not fond of smushing anything with a dustpan, and besides, it was three rooms away. Not that the slug was traveling anywhere at a high rate of speed, but he had made his way across a couple of tiles while I tried to collect myself. So I did what any other woman would do: Enormous wad of toilet paper, to shield the hand from feeling too much, and a darting grab, and a flush, and voila! Slug No More. In more water than he can enjoy. eeeeeesh.

I had to strip down & take a hot shower immediately, of course. It had touched my skin in two places! I tried just washing my hands, but then I saw the slimy slug trail all across the front of my nightshirt, and I flipped out again. I have a whole new level of admiration for my girlfriend Sheila, who lives in Seattle, and has told me how she'll go on slug patrol, picking them off plants, etc. - and they're BIG out there. I just can't handle bugs, inverterbrates, spiders, whatever the hell category, if they're bigger than, say, a quarter. Things that are as big or bigger than one of my fingers? Sweet lord in heaven, step back, because I'm gonna yelp.

All I can say is, slugs better not be the new bat for me, plaguing me with reoccurring terror. I will start packin' kosher salt, and I'm not afraid to use it.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:04 AM | link |

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Over the Walls Dialogue

Me: "Do you ever spend time trying to remember WHY you are so irritated, when you've forgotten why you're mad?"

Kristin: "Coooonstantly. Just ask Justin."

Me: "Well that's exactly what I'm doing. I'm mad, and I can't remember why."

Kristin: "I remember why."

And that is why she's the awesomest ever to work with. HIGH FIVES!
posted by PlazaJen, 7:45 AM | link |

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Here's to You, Mrs. Robinson.

Sigh. Anne Bancroft died today. What an icon. She was married to Mel Brooks longer than I've been alive. The universe is too small to hold all the laughter they must have had together.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:35 PM | link |

And You Will Know My Name Is Plaza Jen When I Lay My Vengeance Upon Thee

I am in the mood to knock people down. Knock them OUT!

Briefly noted: I think there are just groups of people that are destined to go after each other, like lions and hyenas: MORTAL ENEMIES. Herbert Kornfeld, I'm comin' fo' yo' ass and I don't like to lose. Your letter opener of death better be mighty sharp.

Now, the person who came closest to getting knocked out today was a clerk at Bath & Body Works. OK, you know what? If I need help, I WILL FUCKING ASK FOR HELP. I appreciate the effort to provide service. However, giving me a five-minute speech when I walk through the door, and then asking me EVERY FIVE MINUTES if "I'm OK" or if I need anything? I am about to grab a heavy jar of sugar scrub and pummel your ass to the floor. And really. It's 900 degrees and humid outside. Let's get some AIR circulating.

And if you're standing in line? And you're next in line? Don't be thinking you can just wander over OUT of line, look at candles, pick up more stuff and then? THEN? come right back and step back in front of me. Good god almighty, if she'd had more stuff, I would have had to kill her. But I was already seething inside and I knew if I even said one thing, it would be like Mt.St.Jennifer and the lava flow would be firey, in vast quantities, and decimating. And while I contemplated just going home from the mall, I didn't. Heads up, KC, I'm still out there, driving around.

Now I am preparing to teach some people to knit tonight, and reminding myself that it's ever-so-hard to get blood out of fiber. So I'll have to skip stabbing them with the straight needles & get my hands on some circulars for strangling.

Be glad you're not my student tonight. I'll be good, of course, but I'd rather operate like Vic Mackey on The Shield (yay that's on tonight!) and pound some serious heads like a badass.
posted by PlazaJen, 4:12 PM | link |

Monday, June 06, 2005

You Can Quote Me On That

I had lunch last week with an old friend from the former job. He's a good guy, and it was nice to finally have a lunch with him where I was happy & not bitching about management the entire time. (He's part of management, but somehow I could still talk to him.)

He said he'd forgotten to bring a quote from me along, but he'd kept it since I'd said it - July 3, 2003. He emailed it over the weekend. I can still hear myself saying it, and can even see my hands waving wildly. Good thing I make myself laugh, otherwise I'd be upset that everyone else was laughing, too.

Words to live by:

“I think if I was self-centered AND selfish…that would be bad.”
posted by PlazaJen, 9:38 AM | link |

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Back Off, Ladies

Seriously, why did People magazine overlook Phil Spector for the "50 Most Beautiful People" list? He's a sexy mo-fo, and obviously knows his way around the diffuser attachment on his blow dryer. All he's missing is a few gold chains, a conversion van, a pinky ring and a box of wine. :: SWOON :: (Oh yeah, maybe gettin' the murder charges cleared, that'll help with gettin' the fillies.)

sweeeeeet. Posted by Hello
posted by PlazaJen, 2:25 PM | link |

Saturday, June 04, 2005


It's like life is a Disney movie right now - I expect a little bluebird of happiness to land on my outstretched hand, while I'm on the back deck singing about rainbows or something else pukeifyingly happy.

I offer this into evidence:

We were supposed to go to World's of Fun yesterday afternoon for a company outing - but it rained. So we still got all our lunches brought in, and then we were sent to a bar next door at 4, for cameraderie & free drinks.

This new place has summer hours. Every other Friday off at noon. No extra work to "make up the time". Some people wanted every Friday off (by then working longer during the week to "make up the hours") - but hey. I came from a place with no Friday off. So I'm dancing in a fucking musical called "JOY".

Then, a most excellent haircut. One should not drink heavily before getting a haircut, because you could make poor choices. Therefore, no Patron shots, sad as that is. I am wise beyond my years.

While getting my haircut, my phone would not stop ringing. Two friends from the old job at Missie B's. (Missie B's is the home of the drag queens, among other queens, and is a very melting pot of a gay bar.) Come meet us for a drink. Instead of calling, I just decide to show up and surprise the hell out of them. It worked. Very fun couple of hours, and I felt so nostalgic for all the years I spent in the gay bars - mostly Minneapolis and a bit in St. Louis. Then I got Thai House take out, and the owner refused to let me tip, I "made her happy just by coming in". I started trying to listen for a soundtrack, because obviously I was in some kind of movie.

Kristin got engaged last night. Couldn't be happier for her, and I wish them a lifetime of happiness.

Going shopping at SuperTarget this afternoon with Roger & David, followed by dinner at Angela's tonight with all of us, and we're having wilted lettuce salad. Bacon grease dressing = heaven, even if it sends you there quicker.

I love my job and I love my bosses. On Thursday one of my bosses & I went to a client meeting & we had a great conversation in the car, about the state of things & what we want to do & accomplish, and he said he saw me taking an ownership position within the company, (not like, Hey, Jennifer is gonna own the company) but just being a leader & effecting change & making the department a lot more solid & valuable to the agency. Jesus in the sky, it has taken 15 years to get here and even if it goes away, it's finally come.

As with everything, there are fluctuations & ups and downs. I know it, and I don't expect everything to keep rolling along this smoothly. It would be nice if, every time I walked into the back yard, a handful of Oompa Loompas appeared & we did a dance number in the grass together. But I'll settle for the two black dogs to just chase each other & knock each other down with the joy of their play, and brace myself so they don't knock me down, too. And without sounding too entitled, I would like to say I think I'm due, finally. I'm shedding the anger layers, the old resentments, the bitterness and lack of hope. Everyone deserves a bluebird of happiness, even if it has to fly off for a little while - sometimes a long while.

I'll try not to pull a Fiona from Shrek and kill it.
posted by PlazaJen, 11:16 AM | link |

Friday, June 03, 2005

Friday Puzzler

I started thinking again yesterday about the question, "How much do you tip on carry-out?" I know I was told long ago, you didn't need to, it wasn't necessary, etc. And yet sometimes I feel guilty, and sometimes I straight-up tip, without even thinking much about it. With the increased opportunities for take-out as traditional dine-in spots add the service (e.g.,Applebee's), it seems inevitable that the etiquette experts will weigh-in and tell us to shell out more money.

I got a carry-out salad yesterday from a restaurant around the corner, and it's a mid-fancy spot, primarily a sit-down place, and I tipped a dollar & change (around $1.35) on a $7.65 order. Mostly because the bartender brought it to me, gave me a huge bag of bread & some butter (unexpected!) and he happened to be the bartender who introduced me to Patron tequila a month ago. I thanked him for that & we had a happy short conversation about Patron, including the $200 bottle I'd been shown at the liquor store a few weeks ago. He estimated the cost (in a bar) for a shot of that would be $40, and said the reason they'd never carry it in their bar is because the owners know the staff would drink it all.

Anyway. I did a search this morning to see what the guiding standard was on carryout tipping, and it's all over the place, especially if you land on some of the bulletin boards I found. Some people get really wound up over it; I don't really have the patience or energy to add carryout tipping to my list of things to get enraged and up in arms over, but I do think it's incredibly subjective. I still don't have it quite figured out - recommendations range from a little money into a tip jar (if it exists), 10%, the full 15%-20%, to nothing at all. And doesn't the kind of place make a difference? (Sonic, versus white-tablecloth-dine-in?) How much of a "regular" you are there? (Thai Place? If it's a big dinner order, I might, because it's packing it up & all; but if it's lunch &/or I had to wait/it took longer than they said, I usually don't.)

What do you do?
posted by PlazaJen, 7:05 AM | link |

Thursday, June 02, 2005


It's much easier to blog when you're pissed off at the world. Some days I find myself just stumped, trying to figure out what to rant about or what stories to dig up from the vaults of my mind.

The good news, though? My jaw hasn't been clenched in over two months now.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:35 AM | link |

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Blinded Me With Science

Yesterday at lunch, Kristin & I were talking about college courses, and I revealed how I never did well at anything science-like. I was a studio ART MAJOR. Despite this fact, my advisor, who later went through a sex-change operation, and never stopped calling me "Jenny", continued to insist I take a science type of class, because, like, PAINT was based on chemistry and so it was a stretch and ok, fine, I fucking enrolled in CHEMISTRY.

The first day was a lab. That blew. I had plans for happy hour and this lab thing was cutting in to them. Sorry dad, your money for school was WELL SPENT if you include socialization and alcohol resistance training. Anyway, I broke my crucible. That was a sign. The next sign was the first full class day, when we were given a QUIZ. I failed. Lovely. I withdrew, and enrolled in Rocks for Jocks. Despite not being a jock, it was supposed to be extremely basic astronomy for non-science people. Withdrew Passing.

Thank god the Psychology department was a science. I enjoyed some of my Psych classes, and even did some independent study projects. But the worst, absolute WORST, was Psychology of the Brain. This turned out to be a very involved anatomy class that was chock full o' science. And there were only four tests. No papers, no labs, straight up tests. I was performing DISMALLY in this class.

But there was one thing that could save me: The Coloring Book of the Brain. Don't be glib and think this was a little workbook. This was a mammoth book, with diagrams you'd never imagine needed coloring. This is 320 pages of hardcore stuff, presumably useful to future neurologists and NON ART MAJORS.

I spent several days parked in front of the tv, coloring furiously while watching all of the CBS soaps, while drinking Diet Mountain Dew & eating brie with wheat thins. (This was my finals week diet every year, for some reason.) For if one completed the dreaded coloring book, it counted as another GRADE, thus reducing your test values from 25% each to 20% each. I had a very excellent box of high-end coloring pencils (because remember? ART MAJOR) and while I suffered some ridicule from my friends, spending all my time coloring, I was driven to get that fucker DONE, and have some semblance of hope of passing the stupid class.

Which I did, but good gravy, I don't remember anything except the brie and the Young & the Restless. Maybe it explains how I ended up in advertising.....
posted by PlazaJen, 8:47 AM | link |

I Just Use Mine For Locating Brie and Being Silly

posted by PlazaJen, 8:44 AM | link |