PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Jenny Got A Gun

OK, this is one of those rare occasions where I'll allow the use of the nickname Jenny, but only by me. So don't start thinkin' it's cool. The point is, I got a shotgun. A Remington youth Express, 20-gauge pump shotgun, and it wasn't because I wanted to start hunting with JWo. In fact, I had a lot of angst over the decision, but given what had happened, and more to the point, how I felt at the time, I found the next morning a resolve in me that I would never, ever feel that way again.

A few weeks ago, at 2:30 in the morning, the doorbell rang. James was away on a fishing trip. The dogs went crazy, of course, and I was still asleep enough to just be confused. I went to the bathroom - and then the doorbell rang again. It was as though all the blood in my veins turned to ice. I put on a robe, and went to the original front door to look out & try to see who was at the other front door, and I could see a minivan parked in our driveway - a vehicle I did not recognize. The doorbell rang AGAIN. I went for the phone & called 911. They dispatched an officer, and in the meantime, I paced, out of sight of our main front door (which does not allow you to peek out unseen.) Then I heard a male voice saying my name. A voice I did not recognize. The dogs continued to go CRAZY, renewing their barking each time the doorbell rang. And while they sound ferocious, and Suzy looks intimidating, they're still black labs - it takes one slim jim or a jerky treat and they're your BFF. This doorbell-ringing-dogs-barking-name-calling-out thing went on for nearly 15 minutes, and the police still were not there. All our doors were locked, as they always are. I was glad I'd double-checked, though. I was preparing myself to rush out the back, and the operator on the line was NOT particularly comforting or helpful. (Monotone: "Don't do anything to put your life in danger." was the reply to any questions about what I should do. That's another blog in of itself.) In the end, I peeked out again & the van was gone. The operator sounded frustrated and disappointed (she had not wanted to stay on the line with me in the first place), and in my state of mind, made me question whether having the police come now was at all necessary. ("Well, do you still WANT the police officer?" I was like, lady, I'm having a fucking heart attack, I think perhaps YOU should be making this decision!) Since I was not IN a rational state of mind, I told her ok, cancel the officer, they're gone now. In retrospect, that was stupid, and I would think the entire scenario would have warranted the officer visiting to make sure everything was ok. But that is why it's called hindsight. In any event, I called James, his cell phone woke up his mom, who had him call back, and I had a mini-nervous breakdown, with dogs racing around me, trying to fix it, too. I told myself to breathe, breathe, breathe, because if I actually HAD a heart attack, it was obviously going to take forever for the response team to get there! I didn't sleep most of the night, keeping a vigilant watch out the window, and finding that every time I'd try to lie down, the sheer vulnerability of being prone overwhelmed me so much I was compelled to get back up again. I can say, without hesitation, I have never. Ever. been so afraid in my entire life. Nobody called the next day, and we still don't know who it was. But they knew my name, and that was the creepiest part of all.

And so, the next morning, I decided I needed to learn how to shoot one of the hunting guns we have here in the house. I talked to my closest friends about the conflict within me. I felt like it went in complete opposition to my pacifism. And yet, I never felt so convinced of the need to know, now. And that led to me getting my own shotgun, with the youth model providing a shorter stock & barrel, being easier for me to handle. Not that I'm eager to shoot anyone, stranger, robber, nothing of the sort. I just cannot ever feel so defenseless again - and the police response time probably underlined that feeling, given just how long it took. (The police car did drive by several minutes after we "cancelled" them, with a searchlight. Unfortunately, a minivan drove by in the other direction a few minutes later. Who knows if it was the same one.) I still would want my first option to be flight, and I was prepared to do so, despite my legs shaking like jelly.

The decision about getting a gun was one I made with the utmost of difficulty. I've always been around guns, because my father hunts. I was always cautioned mightily against touching them, and I steered clear. I still believe that guns are dangerous, that we have far too many in this country, I see no need for automatic weaponry of any kind, and I'm not particularly fond of handguns, except for target practice. Neither of us wanted a handgun in the house. I feel all of these things, and yet I spent some weekend time on Saturday in the blazing sun, shooting my new shotgun at a couple of milk jugs, feeling the recoil in my shoulder, smelling the black acrid smoke as it came out of the barrel, hearing the clink of the spent casing as it ejected with a pump. I wasn't a great shot, and I hope the only time I ever have to fire it is on the shooting range. I will always have caution & respect for my gun. I take the responsibility of handling it very seriously. But while it sounds rather dramatic, like a swooning Scarlett O'Hara when I say it: I will never be that afraid again.
posted by PlazaJen, 6:09 PM | link |

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Pretty Polly

My dog, Miss Polly, has had to adjust to the recent marathon of Dog Whisperer viewing in the house, and the resulting behavior change in her human (me). After all, Cesar Millan trains people, too. So I've been a bit firmer with her and less permissive, but she still tries to revert back to Happier Times and do what she wants. (I mean, it's understandable - who doesn't?)

She does have a "tell" (see, this lingo is the byproduct of having to watch weekends of poker tournaments) when she knows she shouldn't be doing something. And it's flat-out adorable, of course. She squints. Like if she almost shuts her eyes, nobody will notice she's trying to climb up on top of you like a Shi Tzu. I finally realized why JWo thinks Renee Zellweger's hot. (Except I don't. Because squinting from a dog is hilarious and cute. Squinting from an adult woman says "I need sunglasses" or "I am a simpering idiot." I digress. Again.)

So I give you another pic of my sweet squinty Polly, who will undoubtably try to get away with something this weekend, probably in the next 5 minutes....

posted by PlazaJen, 8:21 AM | link |

Friday, July 29, 2005

Chemistry Lesson

Everyone has them: those people who, by their mere existence, send all your atoms and neurons and protons and neutrons and all that other stuff I didn't study, into one discombobulated, frenetic grinding mass of IRRITATION. The human equivalent of fingers on the chalkboard, sand in the vaseline, rough skin and hangnails while knitting with silk. By gum, you just want to stand up, walk over & pick up a 2 x 4, and pound the living shit out of them until the atoms and neurons and protons and neutrons calm the hell down or you pass out, whichever comes first.

It has to be chemical, combined with a strong biological instinct or something. Somewhere, sometime, back in the primoridial ooze or another life, one of those funny-smelling people did something to my ancestor, and imprinted a deep-seated revulsion right on one of my inherited DNA strands. Literally, the P. of her UNDERPANTS is evoking that same revulsion in me, and instead of getting the 2 x 4, instead of lashing out, I am calmly doing nothing. But my atoms and neurons and protons and neutrons are still churning, frothing, shouting, KILL! KILL! SMASH HER UNDERPANTS JUST KILL AND END THE STIMULI.

And don't get me started on the gnomes. They have to try to herd and wrestle all the churning molecules, and then THEY get pissy, and it's all I can do to not write scathing emails. So instead? I blog.
posted by PlazaJen, 12:06 PM | link |

How To Start A National Crisis

Conversation from a couple weeks ago:

Kristin: "Lindsay just wrote me and said that Thai Place was closed."

Me: (inhaling all available oxygen in my office) "WHAT??????"

Kristin: "She said they tried to go today & they were closed down."

Me: (gasping like a fish in the bottom of a boat, arms flailing) "WHA? NO! WHA? That can't be right. I did takeout last night. I have all these gift certificates! What am I supposed to do with - NO!"

Kristin: "I don't know! That's what she said!"

Me: "I'm calling them." (fingers stabbing keypad on phone: 753-THAI. Don't even laugh that I have it memorized. It's easier than my own phone number.)

Fast Busy Signal.
Then, that supposedly calm, soothing voice: We're sorry. The number you have dialed has been disconnected. Please check the number and try again.

I LUNGE at the display on my phone. I have dialed the number. 7.5.3. T. H. A. I.

Me: "OH MY GOD. OH MY GOD! The number is disconnected! That can't be right!" I stare, dumfounded at the phone. "I'm calling them again."

(beep beep beep, 753-THAI) This time, normal ringing. Then, like a musical symphony of string instruments and a piccolo, I hear, "Hello, Thai Place."

Relief floods my body. I decide not to pass along the rumor to this fellow, since he doesn't have a sweeping command of the English language, anyway. Instead I revert to the tried & true standby: "Hi! How late are you open?"

Him: "We are open right now."

Me, now unable to stop playing this charade: "No, how late are you open tonight?"

Him: "We are open right now through dinner."

Me, now completely jammed into a corner and unwilling to be rude, yet, for no apparent reason now feel compelled to establish their closing time before I will hang up: "No, how LATE, WHEN do you CLOSE tonight?"

Him, in heavy accent, mind you: "Ten Forty."

Me: "Ten Forty?????? Uh, OK. Thank you!"

I then inform Kristin not only are they open, they are open until 10:40. Which is an odd time to close, in my non-restaurateur mind, and then as I'm saying all this outloud, in some kind of post-traumatic stress chatter, like a spider monkey, I realize it was the accent and they probably close at 10:30, and I say all that out loud as well. I hear the I.T. guy on the other side of the wall chuckling at me. I do not care. My pants could have fallen off, and I wouldn't have noticed.

The point was, they were OPEN. The opposite of CLOSED. Hallelujah, thank you Buddah! White doves flew about my head in a symbolic flutter of peace restored. And my heartbeat could return to its normal resting state. Because grilled mint beef salad is the most amazing dish, ever. I could eat it every day, sometimes twice. 10:40 in the a.m, 10:40 at night. Thai Delight. Breathe in, breathe out. Cancel the Code Blue.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:40 AM | link |

Thursday, July 28, 2005

A Clockwork Fondue

Two nights ago, we finally got a slicing break in the thick, oppressive, smothering heat that has sat over the midwest like a fat man in an outhouse. The break came in the form of a black cloudline with torrential rain, and while it was welcome, it was also the night we had Plans. Plans that included outdoor seating at Starlight to see Singing in the Rain. Oh, don't worry, the symbolism was not lost upon us. But wonderfully, the rain stopped by the time the show started (around 8:30 p.m.) and it was cool, entertaining, and we had great seats, thanks to my mother-in-law, MommaLinda. The whole family went - James' brother, our nieces, MommaLinda. But we had another sort of show before we got to the park.

Right after work, we met MommaLinda at the Melting Pot, to enjoy their happy hour - half price cheese & chocolate fondue, along with half-price foo-foo drinks. Godiva martini with a chocolate-dipped rim. MMMmmmmm. And the restaurant is below street level, so it's dark and cave-like and dimly lit and just a cozy little spot. Quiet, too. But that is what we call foreshadowing. It was not to be quiet that night. For, a couple sat behind me at the last open table, and the woman? The woman? She was the human equivalent of a record needle being dragged laboriously across the biggest record in the universe. SCREEEEEEEEECH.

First of all, every word she said was at the decibel level we could categorize as "Just Below Shouting". So ignoring her really wasn't an option. Second of all, she had one of those unattractive whiskey-n-cigarettes voices, and we knew it was cigarettes because (I'm not kidding) she smoked non-stop. Third, she spent the entire time we were there, and presumable the rest of her evening, berating her date. BE.RATING. And you could barely hear him, he was murmuring for the first half hour, really a Bill Milquetoast.

"Bill, you are so grouchy." (oh, and in the interest of time, and both our sanity levels, I will not type each one out over & over again? But everything was said, OVER AND OVER again. A minimum of 20x.)

"Bill, that is gross. Who puts chocolate on the outside of the martini glass. That is gross." (Later consults bartender to discover, indeed, the chocolate is there intentionally.)
"I guess I was wrong, but I thought it was gross. I wiped all that chocolate off with my napkin. It was gross."

"Bill, you are so grouchy." "Bill, I thought we'd have a good time, don't you like the rain? But you are so grouchy." "I will never have sex with you, Bill."

(insert the sound of tires screeching to a stop)

OK, I almost fell out of my seat & I HAD to see this train wreck, since I was already being forced to listen to it. I had already tried once to turn around and look at this woman, alarming James, because he was certain that just my looking at the BetteDavisWannaBe would have her trying to fight me. So, I got resourceful: I used a mirror to put on some lipstick, and in perfect spy-fashion, maneuvered the mirror so I could see the woman who was half-entertainment/half-annoyance. Good golly, she was maybe in her 40's? I had the voice pegged at a 57. But I digress. Let's tune back in, right when she tells Bill that not only is he going to spend the night with one combative bitch, he ain't gettin' any, either.

"I'm never going to have sex again Bill. Ever." [Bill: Murmur, murmur]

Insert 100 more "You are so Grouchies" here. Then she's comin' around the track, comin' around again, but there's a new point of irritation, a new target on Bill's bald head she's going to peck and peck and peck at until he's covered in his own blood and blinded by it.

"Bill, you only react. You don't ever experience things, you just REACT, Bill." "I am out there, living. LIVING, Bill. You just sit back and REACT. I call you to come to dinner. You like the rain, don't you? But you're grouchy. You just REACT. You just sit there, you just SIT there."

And then - then - the most bizarre, plum line of the night, was bellowed:

"BILL, YOU ARE NOT STANLEY KUBRICK. I AM STANLEY KUBRICK. YOU ARE NOT STANLEY KUBRICK." over and over for ten minutes. I was in tears, laughing. Our waiter came over (Kevin, awesome guy, excellent service & wicked sense of humor to boot) & informed us quietly that HE was actually Stanley Kubrick. So of course, we tipped him accordingly, I mean, my god, Stanley Kubrick! Director of The Shining, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, and A Clockwork Orange! Right here in Kansas City!

Well, the "You just REACT"s and the "YOU ARE NOT STANLEY KUBRICK"s were flying all around my ears, and Bill was trying to defend himself, but never at a volume level I could quite understand. Except I did finally hear him say her name (Chris), so now James & I have reference names for when one of us might think the other's getting out of hand, there's a new tickmark on the measurement scale: Well, you think this is bad, I'm no CHRIS!

Or Stanley Kubrick, for that matter.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:34 AM | link |

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Pour Me Another

Well, I know this is like posting that really unflattering picture of your best friend, because you know they will forgive you and mostly because it's so. damned. funny.

I used the zoom on Suzy a while back & damn if she doesn't look like she's been sitting at a bar for 4 hours, bemoaning her lot in life, crying in her beer over the fact she's spayed, the fact she's got to share time now with the OTHER dog, the fact that she now looks plus-sized next to that dog, when all she is is big-boned and she is just fine in her skin and who are these dog show judges defining the beauty myth?

posted by PlazaJen, 12:02 AM | link |

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

There's Something About Jen...

For the most part, I've always been quite adept at attracting the crazies. There was the candidate for Worst Second Date Ever (the guy who told me the exact date & time he cut his long hair .... I (lightheartedly) said, "Wow, it must have been really memorable!" to which he replied, "It was exactly 24 hours after we put my mother in the ground, and she always wanted me to cut my hair," and then he began to cry. Hell-O, can you say awkward moment?) There was the date where the hobbit-height man called me "Miss" and informed me he could look up all kinds of information about people from just their license plate number (he was in collections.) I am not sure what chemistry within me makes these people interested in me, but perhaps it is that I'm not overly mean, rude, or judgemental, until the crying or the stalking begins.

So, this brings us to Joe. Joe lived on the same floor of the apartment building and was a lonely little feller. About 4'6", Joe was a diminutive man with a habit of working his jaw and making smacking noises. He sort of looked like a frog, with big glasses. But what I noticed about Joe was that he had numbers tatooed on his arm, a survivor of the Nazi death camps. Auschwitz. Another woman in the building wore faded blue numbers on her arm as well, and whenever I saw them in the building, I was sobered out of my own pity party & minor inconveniences, reminded of horrors I never had to live. So, being able to converse with a tennis racket, I quite easily struck up a conversation with Joe, and that led to him becoming COMPLETELY ENAMORED WITH ME. He would come down the hall to visit. But Joe didn't knock, Joe tried the door FIRST. He walked in on James one afternoon, surprising the hell out of Mr.Wo! He invited me down to his apartment. I dragged James with me, because by this time, he was asking for kisses every time he saw me. Big froggy-smack kisses. (I was grateful that my mother had taught me how to turn my cheek quickly, at the last minute, to prevent unwanted liplock.) He appeared surprised when I showed up with JWo. But, he soldiered on. He told us about being a young man in the camps, and how he regained his strength by working in the kitchen at the army base after he was freed. It was amazing, to meet someone who had seen and survived what truly was Hell on Earth. And then he said, in his thick German accent, "So," pointing at James, "This your brudder?" Oh, Joe's hopes, dashed again. Nope, my fiance', sorry Joe!

The last time I spent any time with Joe, he took me to McDonald's for breakfast. He drove, on his INSISTENCE, and don't ever let me ride with 70+ year-old men, ever again, mmmkay? Because he drove as though we were in some kind of Amazing Race competition. And then, when we got to McD's, he insisted on paying. So we sat down, and shortly thereafter, men were coming up and chatting with him. And I realized, I was his ARM CANDY. OMG! He was totally showing off to his Saturday morning breakfast buddies that he still had the MoJoe Magic.

JWo & I got married & moved shortly thereafter, and we still laugh once in a while about Joe, who didn't have appropriate boundaries & must have fancied himself something of a geriatric Lothario, pursuing an engaged woman half his age! He was harmless & it was kind of amusing to be someone's arm candy - at a frickin' McDonald's no less - despite the age difference. A little bit younger & JWo might've gotten a run for his money - except for the fact Joe was slightly crazy. And kissed like a frog.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:07 AM | link |

Monday, July 25, 2005

To Pod or Not to Pod

Actually, I am already on the Not Podding road. I don't want a piece of technology that when the battery goes out, the item is finito.

So! That leaves me with a lot of options, but not a lot of knowledge and a reluctance to bring another gadget into the home that will go relatively unused. My primary purpose for getting an MP3 player would be to create a mini-jukebox from the existing CD collection, which is quite significant. That means I probably want the highest-level of storage capacity. And a way to hook it into a stereo or surround-sound system. But wait, I want more! I want all the song information to transfer to the gadget, and I want to be able to categorize things. Like, "Party Tunes" or "Dance" or "Folk", because then, if we have a party, you could select that as the filter and then all the music that would be shuffled would only be songs with those labels on them.

And I realize the whole burning & transfer of music is as exciting as watching paint dry, which is the other reason I am not jazzed or chomping at the bit to do this - but eventually, I'll be getting a big-screen tv, and upgrading the surround sound system, and a tidy, compact MP3 player with all our music on it would rock the casbah. Hey, I gotta dream.

So if you have knowledge or ideas, float 'em my way. Thanks in advance!
posted by PlazaJen, 11:31 AM | link |

Surreal Life Fans:

What is UP with Janice Dickinson? She is such a bitch. BEYOTCH. Her diva attitude makes Omarosa look like someone you could almost hang out with. I said almost. What I really hate about Janice is that she keeps QUITTING over the stupidest shit and trumpeting her self-appointed title of World's First Supermodel, like somehow it gives her license to behave like the world is hers and everyone else is in the way. She needs to be slapped. Hard.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:51 AM | link |

For the SFU Fans:

Six Feet Under viewers: WTF? I am so mad at Nate I could clock him. Except he's already on the floor. And no SCENES for next week?! What is up with that? ARRRRGH!
posted by PlazaJen, 9:50 AM | link |

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Chapter 23, In Which We Become Shut-Ins

It's so hot, we didn't even go to the movies last night. Because even though movie theaters are supposed to be FREEZING, especially in the summer? Last weekend we went, and they weren't. And sitting in a room with 200 people in the dark, while trickles of sweat race from my temples is not what I call a "good time". There is only so much technology can do in the face of 90-degree-plus heat. And yesterday? It was 100 degrees. And then there's the whole journeying process, from the door to the interior of a car, which probably reached levels hot enough to bake muffins yesterday, and then there's walking from the mile-away parking space, and so we decided to stay inside & drink slushy pina coladas. JWo played backgammon on the computer, and watched a movie, and I read. Finished Harry Potter this morning, weepy & yet still fufilled.

And relieved. Because my favorite radio station gave away the ending on Monday, but because I was too busy either talking on the phone, or listening to Coldplay, I didn't hear it. WHEW! They did it again on Friday, and who knows how many times in between, but by that time, I had heard they were doing it, and I announced to JWo I was going to No Media Status. CD's in the car, CD's at work, and very skittish viewing of web news & blogs. The radio station ruined it for my friend Roger & he was quite bummed - and even though I started to flip ahead (to help myself brace for the news), I got busted by James & realized the error of my ways. :) Sigh. At least now I can discuss it with my friends!

If I ever leave the house....
posted by PlazaJen, 10:58 AM | link |

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Every Dog A Wanted Dog

I'm feeling extra-PSA this morning - a result of combined exposure to Cesar Millan (the Dog Whisperer), an article in the paper on pit bull rescue, and the weekly dog adoption segment in the local morning news.


Now that I've got that off my chest, let me just pontificate for 60 seconds.

Don't get a dog because you want to surprise or gift your partner or child.
Don't get a dog and then give it up because you're "moving & can't take it with you." The only valid excuse I can think of for this is if you're getting moved overseas by the army. I have seen & read this reason so many times it makes me want to slap people without even hearing the why. Dogs are not sofas, to be unloaded when you're moving because you don't want to bother! ARRRGH!
Don't get a dog and treat it like a baby, and then be surprised by behavior problems later.
Don't get a dog & think it's NOT like raising a child. Just because you can crate them, doesn't erase the parallels between the two. Boundaries, discipline & responsibility are essential.
Don't get a particular kind of dog because it "looks cute" or is somehow "in fashion". Research breeds. Take a hard look at your life & lifestyle, and determine from there the kind of dog that fits you.

I wanted a soft-coated wheaten like nobody's business, five years ago. They look like teddy bears, they are exuberant, and they are cute, cute, cute. With jumping-up issues, and a coat that requires loads of upkeep, and as a terrier, a mindset already prepared to challenge and resist you. Things I blithely ignored. Thank god I'm married to JWo, who had a lot more knowledge than I about the process & commitment to a dog. We already had Suzy, and I wanted "my" dog after we bought our house. Since he was going to have to do more care for the dogs, given his work schedule, we agreed it should be a breed we'd both be happy with, and that would benefit us both (me-companionship & fun, him-hunting) and wasn't going to require either of us taking up running, since we'd probably fall down after a block. It was a long discussion, and we concluded a black lab was the dog to get. I'd grown up with them, and of course, they're great hunting dogs.

I realize I've treated Polly like a baby at times, and she is more needy & less polished & trained than I'd now like her to be. Suzy & her 1/4 Chessie genes need to recognize that I am not on the same level as her in the pack, but that I am above her. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love our dogs, but I realize I need to give up a little of the "she's my baby" behavior in order to give Polly some of the room to just be a dog, a calm, submissive dog who knows her pack leaders are large & in charge. :) In watching the 800 episodes of the Dog Whisperer, it becomes crystal clear that in allowing a dog to have more control (esp on the leash), the dog becomes anxious, aggressive, out of control; exerting just that small amount of assertiveness quiets the dog & allows both owner & dog to enjoy each other. It's frustrating to see people with dogs get angry & upset & then think the dog should be put down, because somehow it's the "dog's fault" and the issues are incurable within the animal.

I could draw a parallel to how many people are parenting their children nowadays - excessive permissiveness, ignoring problem behavior, doing what's easier for the parent regardless of the result in the child, etc. - but then I'd have to scream again & write for another twenty minutes. So. The mantra for the day is, Be the Pack Leader. It's what your dog wants.

posted by PlazaJen, 8:32 AM | link |

Friday, July 22, 2005

Culinary Delight

Say you're making volumes of zucchini bread. Usually, you add nuts. Instead, you add chocolate chips and coconut.

Duuuuuude. It's totally stoner bread nirvana, and for those of us who work and don't lay around all day tokin' up on mary jane, it's pretty damned good, too. Kudos to JWo on another batch of yummy goodness!
posted by PlazaJen, 10:07 AM | link |

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Keep Your Arms & Legs Within The Vehicle At All Times

Wednesday was what I'd categorize a "roller coaster" day. If you asked me about my day as a whole, I would have to average all the quarter hours and say, "Well, it was stressful at times, but overall, it was good." However, averaging things just means you're working with an average. You can get to the number 11 many different ways. For instance, my morning started with histrionics from a sales rep, kicking, biting & screaming like a toddler, and since I am fucking addicted to the Dog Whisperer on the National Geographic channel, I imagined myself putting a choke chain around the neck of this squawling, puking being, and pulling up on the leash, you know, (say this in a sexy accent) raise his head up, like in dog show. Show him you are the leader, he will be proud! Instead I attempted as much diplomacy as I could, while defending myself, without being rude, until he made a threat. And then I said it. It was a first for me, asking someone straight out if they were TRYING TO THROW ME UNDER THE BUS, before they even tried to do it. Because I am goddamn familiar with The Bus, having felt its wheels on my body many a time at the old job, and I tell you what, a sales rep is not gonna punch my ticket for the bus. And suddenly the bus went away and the ears went back and the strain relaxed and we established that I was not in his life to make him miserable, but that he was crossing a line. Don't make me get Cesar Millan on your ass.

After that, I figured I might as well tackle all the other things that were pissing me off, you know, just sort of throw all the stinky trash into one bag. It was like fishing through sweaty locker room underwear. BLEAH! Then, running late & rushed from all the grossness, I was off to a client meeting, and it was one of those meetings you wish for. It was fun, we laughed, we had a great time, and my revolutionary, change-your-entire-strategy proposal actually slid right in to the overall discussion and was well-received and appreciated. APPRECIATED, people, that is what makes work worthwhile, makes the morning from hell fade away. Then I had lunch with friends, and then I had a dentist appointment and then I did more work.

And you probably think the dentist appointment was another bad thing, but it really wasn't. I got a lucky roll on the dice genes when it came to my teeth - so checkups are speedy & relatively painless. I came home & watched more Dog Whisperer & ate Thai food. All-in-all, a good kick-ass day, with the good far outweighing the bad that was my morning. So I leave you with what was my FAVORITE part of one of the DW segments:

Cesar: You show favoritism to one dog over the others?
Dog Owner: Yes.
Cesar: See, that is not fair. You have to treat your dogs equally. If you send your dog to me and I have a favorite dog already, that is not fair to your dog.
Dog Owner (not believing him): Don't you have favorites of your dogs? (Cesar has 30 dogs)
Cesar: No. They are all number 2.
Dog Owner: Who is number 1?
Cesar: I am.

Cesar is the SHIZNIT.

posted by PlazaJen, 8:45 AM | link |

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Most Sincere Form of Flattery?

A dear friend of mine is currently experiencing an acquaintance (by proxy, really, it would be far too generous to even call this person any name under the friend umbrella) who is copying most of the aspects of her life. She gets a new job, the other girl switches jobs. She gets engaged, the other girl gets engaged. She takes up spinning, the other girl takes up spinning. She thinks about selling her homespun yarn, the other girl muses about creating her own business, selling - shocker - homespun yarn. Interestingly, this happened to another dear friend of mine - anything she did, the co-worker had to do, too. It practically drove her "underground" - she didn't want to share things because she knew they'd be replicated within a week!

Now, I am not saying I am 100% completely constructed of original thought. Quite frankly, I believe I have an excellent balance between self-driven concepts and those that are copycat. We all are copycats, to some extent - after all, in a free society, an exchange of ideas is expected. So much so, we have patent laws and copyright laws, just to punish those who try to be accomplished without doing the work! But haven't we all had that one person, made even worse when it's a friend, who insists on doing, being, living EVERYTHING you are doing? It's like someone's trying to steal your skin and live in it, and then where does that leave you, just slopping around like a background dancer in a Robbie Williams video, tearing out chunks of yourself & flinging them at the camera out of frustration? It sucks, and it's been my experience, that the friendship ends.

The person who liberally helped themself to my ideas, style, and life eventually got kicked to the curb. She loved my apartment, so she rented one in the same building. We were friends, so it seemed fun, at that point. But then the pattern got established - I got a cat? She got a cat. I shopped for (fill in the blank), she got one the next weekend. I bought a new car? She bought a new car. It never ended. Gratefully, she moved away, and one of her truer personality traits shone brightly through the facade she had patchworked over herself: cheapness. If there is one thing I can really get behind hating, it's being cheap. Not broke. Broke is forgivable. Cheap. Cheap means you have money, but you just won't part with it, no matter the circumstance. Cheap means not paying people well even if your own net worth from their work is in the gajillions. Cheap is when you break something, and you don't buy a new one. Cheap is telling someone you'll pay them X amount to do something, and later go back on it and try to nickel & dime the situation. ("I'll pay you $15 for gas." Fifteen minutes later: "No, actually, I'll pay you $5 for gas.") She was infamous for this, and she pulled a fast one on me, at the last minute, and at that point? I was done. She was toxic, besides being cheap. I am all for frugal, and finding the deals and being a power shopper - but don't be cheap. It reeks of bad breeding and you soon discover you have no one to go to dinner with, like, ever.

I joked with my friend (the one who's being copied) about how I'm also copying her - we're both knitting a particular shawl/wrap, both knitting it out of Noro, bought from the same online retailer. But she also knows I do plenty of other things off in my own direction, and it's part of the froth & fun of our knitting gal-pals: you see someone working on something that's so ass-slappingly gorgeous, you just have to make one for yourself! And we're not doing the same color, for pete's sake. My friend Kim finished the most gorgeous cabled scarf, and I might have to be making one of those, too. It's affirmation and adulation - and part of the "knit klatch" mentality.

Every one of my friends (knitting & otherwise) is an individual first, and a follower second, and perhaps that is the difference to me. For me, imitation CAN be a form of flattery, but in small doses. If you spend more time imitating, than being yourself, then you are not real. You are a shadow, always a few beats behind, striving like mad to ignore who you really are.
posted by PlazaJen, 6:31 AM | link |

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I Almost Don't Want To Read It Because Then It Will Be Over And The Waiting Begins AGAIN.

Hurrah, Harry's back!

You scored as Hermione Granger. You're one intelligent witch, but you have a hard time believing it and require constant reassurance. You are a very supportive friend who would do anything and everything to help her friends out.

Hermione Granger


Albus Dumbledore


Sirius Black


Ron Weasley


Harry Potter


Remus Lupin


Ginny Weasley


Draco Malfoy


Severus Snape


Lord Voldemort


Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
created with
posted by PlazaJen, 7:14 AM | link |

Monday, July 18, 2005

One Man's Trash....

Today is "Bulky Item Pickup" in the neighborhood, and you see people cruising the streets, scavenging for treasure, da da da. I spent a chunk of time yesterday, working on the garage (filled with allllll my stuff from storage), in the effort to clear off & drag out the antique couch for BIP Day.

It was a mixed deal. It's a gorgeous piece of furniture, yet it would have cost me at least a grand to have it reupholstered, and another few hundred bucks to have the leg repaired properly (broken off). I also know my mother spent $500 for it, and she gave it to me my senior year of college for my apartment. It's always been the couch she gave me, in my mind. There's a lot of shit in the garage she gave me, products of shopping, mostly for herself & then clearing out her old things & giving them to me. The process of working through the boxes in the garage is a lot like confronting all of your past - reminders of my own bad decisions & purchases - and then all the stuff given to me by my mother, with whom I haven't spoken in two years.

So. It felt cathartic, throwing a ton of stuff away, putting old clothes that don't fit into a charity bag, and then before JWo got home, I dragged that couch to the curb. I felt like I needed to do it, by myself. There's still a lot of stuff to go through, and I still struggle with getting rid of things, but it's astounding just how much of it I've held on to out of a sense of obligation and duty - not good reasons to keep them.

And by 9 p.m., the couch was gone. Someone else's treasure. May it serve them well.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:19 AM | link |

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Tempest in a Teapot....

Our nieces: Miranda, on the left, is 8, and Danielle is 6. Their grandma, JWo's mom, sent me this picture & it made me laugh, for several reasons. First, when I was growing up, we never had a kiddie pool BIG enough for a floating lounge. Second, I can totally hear both the girls, Miranda's probably shouting, "Loook! Look!" and Danielle's probably screaming, "STOP! STOP!" because she thinks she's going to be monsooned by her big sister and her bigger float device. And lastly, because I can hear BOTH their giggles, the kind of giggles you have when you're a little kid, unrestrained and erupting.

I love to watch their sisterhood as they grow....
posted by PlazaJen, 8:14 AM | link |

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Life by the Stars....

The first big laugh of the day, from our horoscopes in the paper:

CANCER (June 21-July 22)Five Star Day:
Wave goodbye to the 2-1/2-year transit of Saturn in your sign. Your stamina has been tested, as well as the validity of what you have chosen. You might have suffered some losses, though you will soon find that they were for the better. Tonight: A full-scale celebration is in order.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)Two Star Day:
You might sense a change in the wind as Saturn enters your sign for 2 1/2 years. During this period, the authenticity of your life choices will be tested. You also might let go of what doesn't work for you anymore. You are starting a new 39-year life cycle. Tonight: Your home is the right place.

Hey, good luck there with Saturn, JWo. Try not to trip on all its muthafuckin' rings.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:56 AM | link |

Friday, July 15, 2005

Who Knows What Danger Lurks....

In the office refrigerator.

We have Kitchen Duty that rotates - one person /week - and the primary duty is to put the coffee cups in the dishwasher, run it, unload it, etc. I do not go into the refrigerator (only the freezer for ice) because the refrigerator is SCARY. There is no room, and it looks like it could eat you if you spent too long trying to put something into it.

However, one of the newer braver souls here is on KD this week, and he sent out an email yesterday that the fridge was going to meet a new sheriff in town: him. And part of the warning to get your stuff out of there contained an observation: that in the refrigerator, there was an unopened carton of milk.

Expiration date: December 26.

He asked for guesses for the year. The predominant guess year has been 2003. (There's no way to check, but still.)

It kind of makes me feel a little less shameful about our refrigerator at home. We suffer from a condiment problem, in that we have every kind of pickle, relish, sauce, and flavor accoutrement or enhancer under the sun, leaving very little room for much else. I can just see our recovery program: Condiments Anonymous, where the first step is admitting you don't need three kinds of barbecue sauce open at once......
posted by PlazaJen, 8:54 AM | link |

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A Bountiful Harvest

Right now, the kitchen table is covered with these:

This was taken over the weekend - now there are 4 huge oversized bowls full of tomatoes, plus two cardboard box lids filled as well. Did you know you can pick your tomatoes as soon as they start to change color? The plant/vine is done with them, and you can bring them inside to safely ripen, away from the Evil Squirrel Conspiracy. As soon as the hue gets a tinge of yellow or pink, pick away. The flavor is unchanged, and you don't lose as much fruit in the wait!

Yesterday morning, I nearly walloped the SuzyDog - she walked right up to the cherry tomato plant we have in a pot at the entrance to the garden, and snacked herself one right off the vine! OOooooOO! Bad dog! Reminded me though of my black lab Oscar when I was growing up - you'd be picking blackberries at the top of the bush, he'd be stripping an entire lower vine - ripe & unripe alike, plus leaves, thorns, whatever - with his teeth to get himself some berries. Goofball.

James has some serious canning adventures ahead of him today!
posted by PlazaJen, 3:43 AM | link |

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Seamy, Sordid Side of Internet Addiction

Before the van rolls up & bundles me away to a recovery program, I am typing out this blog to you, internet world. For it has been a long two days at work, post-vacation, and while the Air Conditioning (broken on Monday) has been fixed, the Email and the Internet have withered and died. Connections were already sketchy, on Monday, when big happy portals like "Yahoo!" wouldn't load, but Google would search for me, and sometimes things took an inordinant amount of time, but I kept the faith. Kept it burning, like a candle in the wind. Then on Tuesday, it Was. No. More. The Internet and the Email were dead. DEAD! All incoming and all outgoing - a black hole. Bouncing messages, the only communication was internal. INTERNAL! I had to resort to USING A PHONE to work with the outside world.

I would catch myself, thinking, "Oh, I'll just Google that & get a phone number!" even turning in my chair, poising my curled speedy fingers over the keys. Then the wave of reality crashed into me, much like the waves in Puerto Vallarta, knocking me down into a wake line of sharp shells. The sting of the salt water in those tiny cuts, just like the pain I felt under the realization, "I have no internet."

Kristin & I spent our lunch hour shopping the aisles of Office Depot. Like heroin addicts seeking methadone. Searching for supplies, something, anything, to give us purpose and direction and focus for the afternoon. I briefly, blindingly considered buying some sort of adaptor for my PDA, to convert it to a wireless computer. I wouldn't have a clue where to start, it would be like trying to start a meth lab with some sangria, altoids and some Clorox Clean-Up.

By 4:00, the jonesing really kicked in. All my business contacts' cards had been organized into a binder containing newly-purchased plastic sleeves, grouped by parent company & media type. As someone who normally deals with piles and chaos all the time, I barely could recognize the level of organization in my office. A quick glance in my pocket mirror confirmed it: a wild & crazed look about me, mascara crumbling under my eyes. I had tried out both kinds of the new pens I'd purchased - cheap fix that they were, they were absolutely delightful, Pentel R.S.V.P., and Pilot razor sharp felt tips (all in a wild colors). My new magnetic clips were lined up on my overhead file cabinet, waiting to clutch a project. My new phone call organizer made me happy, but it was a fleeting sort of happiness. Like drinking non-alcoholic beer. A watery, familiar taste without any of the satisfaction. I inspected my PDA, and did not determine any kind of wireless accessibility. I damn near had the shakes: I was looking to score. I left work.

I drove home & went straight to the computer. Oh sweet internet, you are a cruel bitch monkey on my back and don't ever leave me again. I had a 30-minute window, before I had to leave & get to a knitting class I was teaching. Speed-reading blogs, email, and news - I cut it close, and with all the construction, showed up a few minutes late (walking in with the first student, however!) The second student was 1/2 an hour late, and all I can say is, they had a much calmer teacher than if I'd just driven straight to the classes.

I'm hoping Wednesday will bring us back the internet, at least in the afternoon. I can only imagine how many work emails are waiting for me. If I start to get glassy-eyed, and begin re-sorting all the business cards, I may have to leave & find an internet cafe.

Hey. At least it's all LEGAL.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:31 AM | link |

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Are dog yawns catchy, too?
posted by PlazaJen, 7:13 AM | link |

Monday, July 11, 2005

A Vast Right-Wing, Conservative Christian Conspiracy:

I submit to you two specific reasons why I believe a conspiracy is being plotted against me on my first day back from vacation:

1. No air conditioning in the office, and
2. Internet access is sporadic and spotty. Blogs? Accessible. Yahoo? No.

I smell a plot, by those who would destroy me, trying to break my spirit! They infiltrated the Ace Hardware over lunch, when I went to buy a fan for Miss K, since she was sweating, too, and I got all the way back here to discover the fan blade was broken.

Now I ask you, and I even called Ace to ask, because it seemed so logical: would you not just accept the broken fan blade, and pull a new one from another box? In my world, when I rule it, you will be able to. But nooooo, not today! I had to take the WHOLE THING back in, even though I was literally just there. So I said "Screw it!" because I was pouring sweat and I had debated on upgrading MY fan to a Vornado, giving the Blue Wind Machine to Kristin, and rather than have to put a fan together, I upgraded, fifteen minutes after buying the cheaper fan. Perhaps the Vornado people are behind the plot.

Well, if they are, they sure make a great fan.
posted by PlazaJen, 1:32 PM | link |

Adios, Vacation!

So, it's 'bout that time again, waving farewell to a week of vacation, over which I accomplished nothing except turning a year older! Woohoo! F the garage and all its contents! F the craft room! F the po-lice (only the ones on motorcycles)! It's nutters, but I missed work, I missed my daily interactions & brilliant mutterings after I hang up the phone. ("F that stupid sumbitch, whattheHELL?") But I did enjoy the time off & am already thinking "Self, when we taking more time off?" Guess I'll have to get some stuff done now, I don't have the excuse, "I'm on VACATION!"

I did, actually, make one hell of a vat of Sangria last Saturday night. Here's a picture, in all it's sparkling glory!

There's no way to fully recreate it, but here's what I did:
Started with a bit of simple syrup - about 3/4 cup of water, 1/2 cup sugar, cooked until sugar dissolves & cooled - 4 bottles of cheap red wine - one container raspberry-lemonade concentrate, one can of water - one can of lemon-lime soda - 2/3 bottle peach brandy - huge assortment of cut-up fruit: cherries, oranges, lemons, limes, granny smith apples, peaches, grapes, strawberries - serve very cold over ice, with plenty of fruit & a few pours of lemon-lime soda (for fizz & to lighten it a bit - completely optional). You can add fruit juice, skip the brandy, substitute rum - judging from the 8 bajillion recipes on the internet, there are a LOT of options. If you plan ahead (we didn't), it's even better the next day! (The leftovers proved it!)
posted by PlazaJen, 8:00 AM | link |

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Poor Polly & Suzy.....

They are loved dogs, that is for sure. I adore them both, and we take good care of the pooches. Costco has unleashed a whole new line of pet products, including an iron-scroll bed, complete with COIL SPRING MATTRESSES. A raised dog bed bath, capable of supporting 350 pounds, obviously designed by someone who's never bathed a labrador retriever: I'd love to have the dog fuckin' ELEVATED so when they inevitably shake, they soak my entire HEAD AND TORSO.

All of that aside, it is a sad day for Polly & Suzy, because I had to break the news to them that they will never get to eat/drink from this:

What is this thing of beauty? Why, it's the Versace Barocco Pet Bowl, with Gold Leaf Edging - available at! It's porcelain, too, so hopefully your dog's a delicate, dainty eater. Ours would have it broken within 30 seconds. (That's the ONLY reason they're not getting one. Each.)
The Versace Barocco Pet Bowl can be your dog's diningware, too, for the low, low price of $439.99. Why? Why do they need this? Because the Alpo :tastes: better in Versace.

It should be noted that the price DOES include shipping & handling.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:37 AM | link |

Saturday, July 09, 2005

A Hattie Collage of Memories

My great-grandmother Hattie (on my Mom's side) was the only great-grandparent I ever knew. She lived to be 97, never let the sun touch her face, and died a redhead. It took me years to figure out it wasn't her natural haircolor. When she made dinner rolls, she made 90 at a time. Because if she was going to make one batch, she might as well make three & freeze some. She fed cats outside her back door, every day. Her skin was milky porcelain her whole life, and she never slept in her bed after her husband died. She instead slept on the couch, adjacent to her bedroom. She would wake us up with a warbling "Yoo Hoo!" from the bottom of the stairs, and proceed to feed us a breakfast designed to nourish us for a long day in the fields: oatmeal (with sugar & cream, of course), toast, eggs, bacon, sausage, milk, juice. (Never mind there wasn't a long day in the fields on our agenda.) I loved going there because I actually didn't starve, even under the eagle-eye of my mother. When she was 92, she wanted her house painted. Her son & grandsons delayed and put it off, and so she finally propped a ladder up (on the road side of the house) and began to paint. Grandpa (her son) just about had a heart attack when he drove by. Her house was painted within a week.
When she wrote us letters, she would run out of room, and her signature and final thoughts curled up around the side of the paper. She refused to stop driving, and I've never seen my father so afraid, when she gunned the car in reverse out of her garage. It still makes me giggle in high hysterics. She put jars of water in her garden to ward off rabbits, so they would "see their shadow" (she meant reflection). She was the bright spot of generous love in a family of hard Danish/Germans who retreated inside themselves, finding it safer to lash out or cut off. She worked hard her whole life, and she loved to watch Lawrence Welk. She made the greatest chocolate chip cookies, EVER. And of course, she made a gazillion dozen at a time.

My favorite, most favorite memory of her was when she came and stayed with us for a week one summer. We were still living in the dome home, and my father had accrued a large pile of fairly expensive, heavy-duty wool socks, that had holes worn into them on the heels. He was going to throw them out, but GGM Hattie would hear nothing of it. They could be darned, and she would teach me how. So up in the oversized loft that was my bedroom, Hattie rocked in the big wicker rocking chair, and I sat at her feet, and I learned how to curl my hand into the sole of the sock, and weave the wool back and forth with my darning needle, restoring the socks to new life. She showed me how to make my woven fabric dense, and we spent hours together, quietly, working on the pile of socks, until they were all done. It was satisfying, it was productive, but most of all, it was something she and I, and she and I alone, had shared together. I was only 11, but it meant so much to me. I remember my father remarking on it later, after she had died, fondly remembering how we'd darned all his socks together, and I realized I had been given such a gift, to share and learn with her, without distraction or interruption.

It's probably one of the many reasons I love knitting with friends, even when it grows quiet. There is a conviviality of spirit, of focus on the needles, the yarn, the process, the product, and the shared experience. I hope I can give our nieces that same kind of memory and connection to me someday.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:24 AM | link |

Friday, July 08, 2005


Bekah tagged me with a

What was I doing 10 years ago: Moving to St. Louis, where I would fully develop allergies, and an aversion to people asking me what HIGH SCHOOL I went to.

5 years ago: Spending my second summer with JWo, living just off the plaza and absolutely loving my job.

1 year ago: Watching JWo fall asleep all the time (sleep apnea, untreated at that time), and deciding that the only joy at my job was lunch, combined with the realization the only way things were going to change was if somebody died....

Yesterday: Haircut & hosting knit night with loads of good food, friends & fun! Oh, and some knitting, yeah.

5 Snacks I enjoy: Ice cream anything. Rice cracker mix. Pretzels. Coffee drinks. Gummi Bears.

5 songs I know all the words to: "Running on Empty", Jackson Browne/Eagles, "Chocolate" by Snow Patrol, absolutely anything by Concrete Blonde, Annie Lennox or Gwen Stefani/No Doubt.

5 Things I would do with a $100 million: One HUNDRED MEEEELION? I'd pay off the house, and get us new cars. Then I'd pay off all my friends' houses, and get them new cars. I'd make sure JWo bought a greenhouse, we'd spend a month at Grand Lido Braco in Jamaica, and I'd probably buy a damned iPod.

5 Locations I would like to run away to: Fiji, Jamaica, Orcas Island, Grecian Isles, New Zealand.

5 Bad habits I have: Swearing like a sailor, spending money, not eating right/exercising more, nitpicking, and being very lazy.

5 Things I like doing: Wasting time on the computer - games, blogs, email, etc., KNITTING, shopping, laughing with JWo, playing with the doggies.

5 TV shows I like: Six Feet Under, Sopranos, Survivor, As the World Turns, and COPS, the greatest guilty pleasure on the planet. Well, ok, there are few that are greater. ::wink::

5 Biggest joys of the moment: 1. I'm on vacation! 2. I actually miss my job! 3. I had Thai food for lunch! 4. Air Conditioning! 5. Home Grown Tomatoes!

5 Favorite toys: Digital camera, DVD Burner, Palm Pilot, Cable Modem Internet & my boy-toy, JWo.

5 next victims: Chewdy!, Kristin!, Becky!, Strizzay!, and Kyra!!

posted by PlazaJen, 1:46 PM | link |


My friend Kim
Has a cat named Zak

He is a cat
Like no other:
Zack is actually
Made of rubber!

How big was it Zak?


And if the President of Her Underpants, or any other major dignitary ever shows up, Zak is at the ready to show his respect:

For Those About To Knit,
Zak salutes you!
Happy, happy Friday!
posted by PlazaJen, 8:41 AM | link |

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Listen with YOUR EARS

I am on vacation this week, it has been quite wonderful, very mellow, but with fun things dotting the calendar, just about every day. I've gotten a little bit done, not loads, but again, it's vacation, and all the other days get spent scurrying & racing so it's been nice to feel like things are moving more on Jamaican time than BusyBee time.

What does astound me, out there in the world that IS working this week, is just how much people don't listen. Before I left work, it took me three tries, but I recorded a voicemail greeting that stated I was on vacation & returning on July 11th. They could leave me a voicemail, or if it was hair-on-fire urgent, they could press "0" and talk to the extremely capable & efficient Kristin.

Now, I said I was gonna do it, that-which-violates-the-code-of-vacation, and I have. I have downloaded email remotely & listened to my voicemails. And I am stunned at just how many people leave me a message AS THOUGH I AM IN THE OFFICE and one person even mentioned that they were going to call back and page me. Huh. Wonder how well that worked for them? Fortunately the person who answers our phones is always patient, waiting instead until she is far from the phone to emit a disillusioned, eye-rolling sigh of exasperation. But I was reminded again, of how I will sometimes say to James, "LISTEN WITH YOUR EARS" which with him is more for a humorous effect, but still, it fits in this situation. These people are going so fast, wanting to get everything done whack-a-mole style, go, go go go GO GO GO that they're not hearing information.

I guess it means everyone could probably use a little slowing down. Even if you don't think you do, give it a try. Just listen & breathe & let some of it go. Unless you've got your hands in someone's chest cavity, trying to save their life? Most of this stuff you & I do each day is not critical or crucial, we've just artificially made it that way, and every year it feels like we crank the ratchet handle just a little tighter, but it doesn't make life better, it just makes life tighter. It doesn't mean our work isn't worthwhile, I just think we'd all do a better job at it if we didn't have a cell phone in one ear, a work phone in another, one hand typing an email while the other spills Diet Coke all over the desk.....
posted by PlazaJen, 9:40 AM | link |

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Birthday Cake

Gosh, I sleep in & everyone's wishing me a Happy Birthday - it feels FABULOUS! :) Thanks, blogworld & friends!

Last night, we saw Cake & Weezer - I could become a Cake groupie if I weren't so old - we laughed at the four 13-year-old girls in front of us, waving their phones instead of lighters, and then stopping to text message, and indeed, dear world, technology has changed the world. The sweet flicker of a lighter, held up until the holder's thumb burns, has been replaced by the blue screen of a cell phone. Those girls were so damned funny, and I had great fun watching them, because they weren't mean girls or fake girls, they were just goofy girls who'd spent a LOT of time getting ready for this concert, with their hair and makeup and outfits, and so they would sway together and slam hips and eat pretzels and giggle and gasp, and while I appreciated their youth and their beautiful skin, untouched by a single wrinkle, I did not envy their next ten years, when every single thing MEANS so much and you are still amassing your wisdom and your footing is so uncertain.

The flip side of being old & wise is that your bladder gnomes become MUCH more vocal, shouting and ringing the buzzer almost non-stop. And also, not being a drunken 22-year-old, one avoids the portalettes as much as humanly possible. So, true to old-folks form, we left before the end of Weezer, got out of the parking lot with no trouble at all, and zipped home to the comforts therein.

The last observation about the four girls: they were chaperoned by one of the girl's dad. He was so cool, and let them be - gave 'em money for pretzels and didn't tell them to knock it off when they were almost knocking each other down with their sideways-hip-slams. But he sat at the end, with them, unlike the man in the parking lot, asleep in his truck. And I admired that dad's dedication to being a grown-up father.

Being a grown-up, no matter what your responsibilities are, isn't easy, and youth is, indeed, wasted on the young, but I am glad to be alive, and I'm glad to be wiser now than I was back then, and I treasure all the wonderful people I have in my life, some of whom are more like family to me than blood relatives. It is a short trip on this earth, and my journey is better for having you in it.

Thank you, from the bottom of my Cake-lovin' heart.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:31 AM | link |

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Thai Sensation

We ate Thai food last night, and it was all about the sharing. We got spring rolls - YUM - and then a couple salads & pad thai. We always get everything "medium", so as to enjoy the heat without passing out. Medium at Thai Place can get a little hot, so that's why we don't order hot. Well, the Crazy Jumbo Seafood salad? Medium? Let's try hot to Thai hot. Oh Mah Gawd.

It's like time slows down, and you start looking for your server, so they can bring you anything, now, to stop the pain. All my taste buds were smokin'. JWo looked like he was going to start blowing steam out his ears. We ate green cabbage, steamed rice, ice cubes - it took the rest of the meal for our tongues to stop raging. Our second salad, grilled mint beef, was delicious. If you haven't had that dish, you need to. It's absolutely exquisite, and for whatever reason, at medium heat, is not on par with the seafood salad. Yet, despite the pain, we finished both salads, because there is something about that spice that makes it so incredibly palatable, tasty, addicting! And even today, the day after, I'm craving it all over again. My poor stomach. Either I'm creating an iron stomach, or I'm slowly burning the entire lining out.
posted by PlazaJen, 11:30 AM | link |

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Today is the first day of my vacation! I'm actually taking all of next week off, with many plans & dates already set. The new job gives you your birthday off, so with the 4th of July Holiday, my birthday, and a free 1/2 summer day on Friday, I get one full week for the low, low price of 2.5 vacation days!

And I'm obsessing. It feels like it's too soon to take more than one day of vacation. It's been only three months, and I told my boss yesterday that I feel competitive & I shouldn't take vacation time because he's not taking vacation time. Now, granted, he's buying the company, and has a differently-vested interest in the place, but still - it's not that I think I'm so fabulous and everything will fall apart without my big mouth & brain there - but it's mostly the whole not-knowing what's happening all the time, combined with that tiny grain of fear that if you're not there, maybe they'll start to think they don't need you anymore. It's a tiny grain, but at the last job, it was the size of a fuckin' boulder. That sort of mentality was bred & fostered, and god help you if something went wrong while you were out - never mind the fact we're in a business where stuff goes wrong ALL THE TIME, deadlines don't get met, we're the middle-men, juggling & shuffling - it's part of the ad biz. Sure, there are people who do it badly, and leave big messes to clean up. They have poor business hygiene, approving things randomly and not leaving a trail to follow, so three months later you look like a cartoon character with question marks over your head. I knew that when I was asked to depart the last place, that inherent in their "you must leave now" policy, came the inability to follow through on loose ends, straggling threads, and whoever got stuck doing it was gonna curse your ass for having to be stuck on clean-up. Sorta like being the bus driver who has to clean up the vomit.

I know vacation is there to be taken. I always take it. If I were going to Jamaica, I would still worry, but I wouldn't cancel the trip. Since I'm staying in town, I'm going to check my voicemail & email regularly, and hope that all the effort I've put in this week to handle everything that's outstanding is enough to keep anyone from cursing my existence (and absence!) :) And I will have fun. I'm going to work on organizing my craft room, take some initial runs at the garage cleaning-out-experience, since that's the gateway to buying a big-ass tv, per our agreement, getting my hair cut, going to dinner with some "rediscovered" friends, SLEEPING, and all sorts of other lofty goals that if I type out will allow others to remind me that I didn't do.... ;)

So, on the birthday front, I decided this morning that being medium-aged sounded better than middle-aged. I turn 37 next Wednesday, and I plan to spend it with friends, our dogs & my best friend in the world, JWo. The following day I'll have knitty friends over & we'll eat like it's the last supper (after the last time, JWo commented, "Those girls can EAT!") and laugh and reconnect. Oh yeah, and knit. It's weird, because most of my life, I spent it as the "younger one" - I have a July birthday, I skipped first grade, and so I was 16 when I graduated from high school, 20 when I graduated from college. People in the business world were always older, and now I'm older than one of my bosses. I refuse to buy in to society's notion that youth is king, because youth is primarily stupid. I worry about dying, about losing people I love, maybe a little bit more than I did when I was 20, but I've always worried about that stuff. My hands look older now when I stop to look at them, and I see little lines around my eyes.

But, much like Great-Grandma Hattie, I may never know if I have gray hair. When she died at the age of 97, she was a deep auburn redhead. Bless her heart, I've been meaning to do a memory post in her honor, and I will, this week. Oh yeah, I'm also coloring & highlighting my hair. :)
posted by PlazaJen, 10:11 AM | link |

Friday, July 01, 2005

A Windshield of Donuts

There is nothing like a Lamar's donut. It's the donut that eats like a meal, and they ROCK. I love cake donuts best, and yet, even their raised & glazed are pretty darn tasty - and have some substance, unlike Krispy Kremes, which are the donut equivalence of cotton candy. They have their place, but still - we're a Lamar's household.

So imagine my surprise & delight this morning, when I left for work, to discover a bag containing 4 Lamar's donuts, sitting on the hood/windshield of my car. Awwww! Way to go, JWo! An excellent start to the day.

Unless someone in the neighborhood is trying to poison me. They sure did pick good bait, though.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:26 AM | link |