PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Monday, October 31, 2005

Best Costumes....

Happy Halloween!
I've always liked Halloween a lot, more so as an adult, since we really didn't do a lot of trick-or-treating when I was little. I've gotten maniacal at times, carving elaborate pumpkins, and working up clever costumes. Some of my favorites include:

Wearing a wig, bathrobe, slippers, and carrying a martini glass. When people asked what I was supposed to be, I shrieked, "I'M YOUR MOTHAH! YOU DON'T RECOGNIZE YOUR OWN MOTHAH???" This costume came to be during the Great Halloween Blizzard in Minneapolis, since the weather hit with 36 inches of snow in a day & a half, and our shopping areas were rather limited.

Wearing a brown corduroy jacket, looking prim & proper, carrying a small basket with a tea towel in it. Again, the response to what I was supposed to be? "I'm Martha Stewart, and I'm better than you."

All black, black feather boa, sign around my neck with "Nevermore" (and in tiny print, "You can quote me on that".) That was when I first moved to Kansas City and was living in temporary housing without all my crafting supplies at hand. Hey, it was literary.

Then, the best costume I've done - I've done it twice, in fact. I won a contest in Minneapolis with the first one, and I won a $500 contest here in KC with the second one. I threw the costume out when I left the last job, since I was going IN A HURRY, and I have the knowledge that yes, I can make it again & again & it's always a winner. Even though I am loyal to Colgate, this brand works better:

Mixed Messages
On the back, I did have the instructions, including "Squeeze from the bottom up". Heh. I also think it's a bit of a mixed message, to hand out candy while representing good oral hygiene. However, my dentist would be very proud.

You only floss the teeth you want to keep! Remember that after you swipe all the good chocolate tonight! :)
posted by PlazaJen, 7:20 AM | link |

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Happy Run-Around-And-Change-The-Clocks-Day

Twice a year, I have to get out my owner's manual for the car to figure out how to change the clock. I've tried too many times while driving, to NO AVAIL, and I wind up being frustrated as hell, that two buttons outwit me every time.

I do love the fall time change, what with "getting the hour back" and waking up and it actually being early, but changing all the clocks is a pain in the butt. I am glad some things actually have figured out how to automatically change on their own, like the DVR, computer and the VCR. I felt old this morning, making that observation ("One less thing to do!")

I'm off to spend the 'extra' hour cleaning out the garage - yes, I know how to rock it out on the weekends, party people. That and all my knitting! I've skipped middle-age & gone straight to geriatric excitement.

Shots of Metamucil with Geritol for everyone! I'm buyin'!
posted by PlazaJen, 11:14 AM | link |

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Scream Therapy

We went to Halloweekends last night, where they have several haunted houses/"experiences" and you can also ride all the amusement park rides & eat funnel cake.

My two favorite moments from the evening: after the first haunt (Camp GonnaGitchaWitchaHatchet), Kristin was yelling at me about how the scaring was all my fault, how I made her take this job, etc., etc., and THE ENTIRE TIME she is walking & talking & shaking her fist at me, THERE IS A TRICKED-OUT GHOUL directly over her shoulder, silently stalking her, four inches from her FACE. OH. MAH. GAWD. I was laughing so hard, I couldn't warn her, and then GhoulBoy swooped in and much screaming ensued, and finally, to make the Ghoul leave her, I pointed ahead and said, "Hey, go get our friend Jimmi." Which he did, even though I thought she was far enough out of the zone he wouldn't be able to run up and scare the pants off her, which is exactly what he did.
Sorry, Jimmi.

Second favorite moment came around 9 p.m., when we were waiting in line, and I said, "Whoa. All my stress from this week is GONE." All the laughing, screaming (I'm hoarse today, and I can only imagine how Kristin & Jimmi are doing) and walking was enough to drain all the tension & bad stuff from my body. We got home around midnight and collapsed - today is for puttering & knitting, tomorrow for cleaning, and then we get back on that horse & ride it again. Too bad Halloween's only once a year. I could use the scream therapy a little more often....
posted by PlazaJen, 8:31 AM | link |

Friday, October 28, 2005

Hey, Handsome!

Scary Ass Clown

We're off to Halloweekends tonight. We were supposed to go last weekend, but the rain, cold and damp, and general exhaustion from the Yarn Dyeing Party prevented us from going. But tonight, we're off to the haunted houses at the amusement park. We had a behind-the-scenes tour a couple weeks ago, and the photos from that adventure can be seen on my Flickr account - here and here.

Happy Friday, everyone! I figure after the insane week of work I've had, screaming my head off is probably cheaper than intense therapy, or a weekend at Two Rivers.....
posted by PlazaJen, 7:12 AM | link |

Mmmm, Another Shocker


Putting your appointed path ahead of any inner conflicts, you make your own rules for the benefit of all.

If my life or death I can protect you, I will.

Aragorn is a character in the Middle-Earth universe. There is a description of him at

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Click on the picture to take the quiz yourself!
posted by PlazaJen, 7:04 AM | link |

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I'll Take It In Small Bills, Please

My blog is worth $11,855.34.
How much is your blog worth?

thanks to the Knitting Cybrarian for this link!
posted by PlazaJen, 7:37 AM | link |

Best Compliment, Ever.

JWo has a thing for Gwen Stefani. If she had big knockers, she'd be a serious threat to Jennifer Tilly in the JWo-Hotpants-DeathMatch.

It was a year or two ago, but I still remember it, because it was an awesome compliment.... I think I was whining a little about myself, and he just said, "But, Jennifer, you're EXACTLY like Gwen Stefani! You're just not blonde & skinny!" And knowing my hubby likes the bigger-boned gals anyway, that was the best compliment, ever.

Now I need to assemble my posse of Harajuku Girls. And find a drum majorette uniform.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:25 AM | link |

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I Could Have Sold Pencils While I Wore It

James has Parent-Teacher Conferences today & tomorrow - long days for him, and every year, I have my flashbacks to PTCs of my own. I used to dreeeeead them. Dread, dread, dread. Sitting there with my parents (or sometimes, just my Dad), listening to everything about me, categorized, summed-up, and presented for consumption.

It's not that I was a terrible child, or student. Quite the opposite - but I wasn't perfect, and while perfection itself was never stated as the "goal" in our house, excellence, striving to do better, and outpacing everyone else were the desired accomplishments. To me, in those meetings, the things I was already doing well were in the "yes, fine, that's expected" pile, and the areas of improvement were cartoon-like huge. I've spent a lot of years since trying to find a bit more balance.

Not surprisingly, there were always two areas that got addressed during my Tour of Duty through the public school system - but the surprising part was how much I actually didn't care about them. Even in 4th grade. I felt terrible about being called on the carpet for them, the embarassment & fear I might be in trouble, but the actual behavior? PFFFT?! What-EVAH, bitches. That behavior being, of course, excessive socializing (talking, passing notes) and being unorganized/messy.

I laugh, remembering that particular 5th grade PTC. It was just my Dad, and Mrs. Haller, the disciplinarian from hell, who proudly displayed a paddle each year with the warning she WOULD break it over someone's butt that year. Oh, and she did. She of the long fake fingernails that would dig into your shoulder, or grab your ear. (You youngsters today have no idea what you missed out on! LOL!) The topic came around to my desk. I can still see it. I have to laugh at the memory of that image: of course I would take a 12" x 24" space, meant to house just a pile of books & notebooks, and turn it into a Vortex of Chaos. Papers hanging out, everything about it said "disheveled". So they started cooking up a threat for me, how could they make me more organized? And my father turned and looked at me and said, "We'll have you wear a sandwich board that says, 'I AM A SLOB'." Of course, Mrs. Haller agreed whole-heartedly with THAT one, because I already had enough issues fitting in, surely this would be the motivation I needed to keep my desk clean.

Now, before you get too worried, I never had to wear a sandwich board. And it did worry me a little, though I think I looked at my father with eyes that said, "Are you fucking kidding me? SURELY not, dear father." But mentally, I was already thinking about how I could possibly SIT in my desk chair while wearing a sandwich board. (Could I set it to the side at times? Hang it off the front of my desk?) And how I'd sit at the lunch table, or how I could play on the swings at recess with it. Because for me, it wasn't a question of changing that messy-desk behavior, it was how I was going to adapt to these new challenges placed upon me.

Did I ever mention before that "stubborn" also came up a lot at these conferences?
posted by PlazaJen, 7:36 AM | link |

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What's That Hissing Noise?

Oh, yeah, that'd be me. Back in the day (when I lived in Minneapolis), I got completely screwed over by a TiresPlus store. You know, because you don't have lumpy bits dangling betwixt your legs, it means that you should be subjected to talked-down-to instructions & it should cost a lot.

So we got in the habit of hissing like a cat at all TiresPlus locations. You know, teeth bared, hands up like claws (boy, don't I have that theme going this week. Fits right in with all my knitting.) And a spit-laced back-of-the-throat hissing. Extremely attractive. Effective in making people stop and steer clear of you, though.

So, I'm having sortof a rough week - mostly large heaps of work & a rather strong disinclination to work every minute of the day. And I find myself wanting to just HISS at everything, as a stress-release. I did have a good reminder yesterday, though, to put it all in perspective. I thought about what I'd be doing in my old job right now? And it makes my current stuff look like prancing through gardens of flowers in springtime. Like a big clumsy tiger, that's me!

posted by PlazaJen, 11:01 AM | link |

He Was Off By One Letter....

Einstein = Mega Knitting Squared.
Seriously. My hands are going to be permanently clawing at the world like Lobster Boy by the time I'm done knitting this jacket. (The Einstein Jacket by Sally Mellville, in the Knit Stitch book...) DAMN me for not being itty bitty! It's acres of garter stitch that you knit, turn, pick up more stitches & magically you end up with a coat! Right now it looks like an afghan gone bad, in a heap on the loveseat, where I sit with it, each night. It's been two weeks, and I've got the lower body done, the front & back panels & have just begun the first sleeve. Once that's done, it's collar time, and finishing! Good thing, because I'm refusing to wear a coat right now, and that's rather stupid, since we slid from unseasonably-warm days, to freeze-your-face-off days with no in-between.

More fall leaves pictures to come, too.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:41 AM | link |

Monday, October 24, 2005


My blog (gladly) got discovered by Heidi a while back, and because we used to work together, we have a bond no Hurricane Wilma can break. I haven't seen her in a few years, in fact - and a fact that will hopefully change soon. After all, when you work with kindred spirits in this advertising business, your connections are forged like airline titanium, or ten-year-old blood-brother boys with pocketknives. It's a connection not even your spouse can crack, unless they, too, are employed in the Evil Empire. All you have to say is, "Motherfucker (client) (supervisor) (project)" and it's as though a large gong in a far-off land has been struck, one that we were trained in our cribs to recognize when The Time Comes. You just Get It. I realize this isn't inherent to advertising, either - whatever particular industry you're in, the common pitfalls, hilarity and issues interweave you together with people you might not have ordinarily known or shared experiences with.

So that brings me to my point, which is that Ms. Heidi posted a quick entry titled, "I know someone who’s been to a prostitute." And then, all she said was, "Oh, come on people, I didn’t get details." We-he-he-ELL, pardon me for taking off my hat & stayin' a while, but curl up your feet & take a listen to MY story. For I know someone who's been to a prostitute. At least a couple of 'em, in fact. The man in question & I used to work together, and there were many happy hours-turned-into-evenings with our crew & I heard a lot of funny stories in my tour of duty at that employer. In fact, he was on a work-related trip in San Francisco, where he availed himself of the services from "the most beautiful woman he'd ever met". Yeah, I rolled my eyes, too. You can think "Pretty Woman" and romanticize the working-girl industry, but then I give you THIS story, from the same guy: He also availed himself of a little :cough: oral pleasure from a Working Girl over on Independence Avenue. He extolled her "skills", but then revealed this gem: "I'm not sure now if she was a man or a woman. I was really, really drunk." I absolutely loved to give him shit about THAT one.

Thankfully, he's quit drinking, been sober for several years now, and presumably, no longer feeling the need to pay for services rendered. If not, I hope that at least now he can spot the drag queens.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:21 AM | link |

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Dyeing Adventures

Yesterday, some of the knit crew gathered on our back patio & began a very exciting adventure: hand-dyeing our own yarn. It was blustery cold, and at times, raining. So we had some outside circumstances contributing some challenges! But Kristin was an awesome teacher, and we learned a ton on how to do the dyeing, the different processes, and all the steps to creating our own versions of the $30 skeins you buy in the store!

My focus was on dyeing sock yarn - I have some merino worsted, as well, but I think I'm going to wait for another day. I wanted to learn & experiment, and see what might work, and what might result in something dreadful, before I ventured in to creating wool for an entire sweater. (Kudos to the ladies who jumped in with both feet, though! They'll be knitting sweaters soon!) I'm happy to say that I absolutely love each skein I dyed, for they are each very different, but were really fun in their own ways. I have four complete skeins, with a fifth partially-dyed & needing more done to it - it can wait until next time. We used acid dyes, and didn't do a whole lot of mixing/experimenting with shades, since we had a nice assortment to start with. The sock yarn also can be used for lacey-type scarves, and one or two might become that, instead of footwear.

Here are the skeins! They are all on my Flickr page as well.

My first skein, definitely looking a lot like the landscape around us right now!
Autumnal Yarn

Beth is a saint, for she created the enormous skeins for self-striping sock yarn. Purple, Orange & Red. Pippi Longstocking, get out of my way.
Self-Striping Sock Yarn

I love these colors...they are what I gravitate towards. I'd like them a bit brighter, but again, for a first-time out-of-the-box adventure, I'm happy!
Jen's Laces

My last skein, half-immersion (purple), half-handpaint. Jungle Fever, baby!
Crazy Yarn

And yes, after 5 or so hours of dyeing, eating, tidying up, etc., I collapsed & took one of those naps that feel like you've been professionally sedated & when the phone rang & woke me up, I had no idea 1. where I was, 2. what day it was, & 3. what time it was. Later, when I went to bed, I even beat James to the Land of Nod, and he almost always falls asleep before I do. Play dates tucker me out! And yet I'm already looking forward to doing it again soon!
posted by PlazaJen, 11:35 AM | link |

Friday, October 21, 2005

Blazing Toes. Look Out.

Courtesy of Wild Scorpy, another fun quiz! You can get your Superhero Identity here....

Your Superhero Identity For Today Is:

Name: Silver Sister (True, true, I do not wear gold. Platinum would have been better, though.)

Special Power: Blazing Toes (Need a light? Hang on. Must take off Crocs. Lifting up leg ....and..... I've toppled over. Hold on.)

Transportation: Quantum Minivan (oh yes, nothing says Superhero like a minivan. No offense to those who drive them. Remember, my dream vehicle's a station wagon.)

Weapon: Quantum Spear (I guess I have thing for the Quantum brand.)

Costume: 100 Percent Cotton Helmet (For breathability! It is, after all, the fabric of our lives. Wait, do I only wear a helmet? That's scary.)

Sidekick: Bobo (ah sweet Bobo. Good monkey! Fetch mommy a daiquiri.)

Nemesis: Harold the Unspeakable (Why are we speaking of him again? :arched eyebrow:)

Tragic Flaw: Addicted to yogurt (uh, yeah. For the culture.)

Favorite Food: Cashews (Mmm! The only nut that cannot be sold in its shell! Show off your smarts & tell us why not!)

posted by PlazaJen, 9:21 PM | link |

The Striptease of Fall

I've mentioned it before, and I have to say it again, this is absolutely the best time of year for my commute. Each day, the transformation of the trees that line Ward Parkway bring new changes, new colors, and very soon, the riot of color will explode, and then shortly thereafter, be gone.

In my mind, Mother Nature is the consummate striptease artist. And only in the classy sense, like a coy can-can dancer from the paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec. Her Fall dance starts out with a hint: just a slip strap, peeking out from her clothes, pressing in to a freckled shoulder. Then a glimpse of lace hem, creeping out from below, a shock of bright color drawing our eyes in. We hardly know where to focus, when will it all be unveiled? What will the ultimate palette of colors be? Will it take our breath away, anew? That is the mystery we anticipate, holding our breath. Once she is clad in her swirl of reds, golds, browns and oranges, we watch, transfixed, for we know, as all years before this have taught, we will blink before the music stops. And she will slip behind the back curtain and be gone.

posted by PlazaJen, 7:44 AM | link |

Thursday, October 20, 2005

In Which I Get Serious For A Minute.

I saw this online this morning. I don't know if you have to register to read it, but my reaction boils down to two words: Absolutely Dreadful. Yes, that's an American Idol quote, but honestly, it's what I first thought, and not in Simon's voice. We have had an enormous jump in our homicide rate this year in Kansas City, and the notion that people are buying t-shirts to support staying SILENT about those deaths is revolting. Just because most of those deaths are happening in "one part of town" doesn't mean it's not our problem. It's everyone's problem. And I have no idea what I could do to change it, but at least I'm mad about it.

Fear is the ugliest, ugliest thing in our society. It makes people do the wrong things, prevents them from seeing the right things, and keeps those lines drawn along street names and income lines.

I often lament the rapid decline of responsibility, and James finally snagged one of the reasons: we have children of the children who were babies having babies. Got that word trail? Sure, we gave options for taking care of your child while you stayed in school. We've got WIC so you don't starve. But the parenting broke down. Parenting is where you learn responsibility and accountability and rules and consequences and in the absence of that, you stay stuck in a teenage mentality. Without a support system, you don't leave that mentality, either. And that's the full circle on the "don't snitch" link up above. I wish to God I had the answer, without sounding like an Aldous Huxley novel, re-programming people, sending them to boot camp, mandatory schooling.

I'm definitely in a "Rail-At-The-Sky" place this week.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:51 AM | link |

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Banishing of The Ear Worms.

Seriously. Sometimes? Don't you just want to pour kerosene into your ears, light them on fire and run around the neighborhood shouting "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN BAD MUSIC IS PLAYED ALL THE TIME!"????

I sure as shit do. Let's take the Ear Worm From Hell, and it's second cousin, Ear Worm From Fucknut. EWFH would be "Don't Cha" by the Pussycat Dolls. No. I am not going to f'n look up their websites or mp3's and LINK to them. If you haven't heard the song, then this is your personal Public Service Announcement courtesy of PlazaJen. PSAP-Jay. I just THINK about that song and suddenly I feel compelled to tilt my head like a goddamn spice girl. And if you know me, virtually or otherwise? I AM NOT A SPICE GIRL. Nor can I get behind grammar this bad.

So that leads us to EWFF. I had never even HEARD this song before last weekend. THANK YOU JWO. It came on MTV or something & he was all, "OMG, you HAVE to hear this song!" (ok, he said Oh My God, we don't speak in acronyms. Mostly not, anyway.) Oh, pray tell, what was this candy taffy nugget of puke set to drum beats? "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas. No, bitches, I'm not linking to them EITHER. My humps! My humps! My humps! My humps! My lovely lady lumps!

WHAT the Fuck kind of lyrics are those? My lovely lady lumps? Lovely? Yes, I like that word. But when you attach it to "lady lumps" we now have the absolute stupidest euphamism for buttocks or breasts, and both are emphasized in the video, with emphasASS on the butt. A co-worker told me his 10-year old niece was singing the song at dinner the other night. Niiiiice. The whole song's shallow as hell, with of course a perfect ringtone-kinda beat, and isn't that what it's all about now? Get a hook that earworms in and is so popular people are paying $1.99 to make their cellphones play it, too?

God, I am going to turn into one of those old-man muppets that sit up in the balcony & hate everything. But it's better than setting my ears on fire. I'll choose to be Statler. The other guy's name is Waldorf, and that's also a salad featuring walnuts. I hate walnuts. Walnuts & Ear Worms. SMACK SMACK SMACK. I smack them all.

THIS is why I don't listen to Top 40 radio. It makes me very, very angry.

posted by PlazaJen, 8:31 PM | link |

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Now I'm Channeling Uma

Yes. I have had one of those days. Really, it's almost two weeks' worth of those days, and when I hit this point, I keep hearing " I SAID GODDAMN!" in my head, exactly as Uma Thurman spoke it in Pulp Fiction after she's just done a line of coke that would make Kate Moss break into a sprint from across the room. Only I'm not high, nor am I about to drink a five dollar milkshake, or dance with John Travolta.

It'll be ok. I won't even have to get medieval on anyone's ass. But don't think I can't if I need to. BMF, baby. I'm a B. M. F.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:05 PM | link |

After A Long No-Good Very Rotten Afternoon In Which I Feel Very Belgium*.

sometimes I want
a pottery barn life
with chocolates from belgium
and pink chandeliers

someone to clean
the crannies and nooks
organize my cds
fold my laundry each day

sometimes I want
to wake up in tangiers
live a life of adventure
silk scarf in my hair

sun freckles my face
curry spices drift by
excitement awaits
my passport is stamped

sigh with me, for you
have watched too much tv
seen too many catalogs
been told for too long
what to think
what to buy

someday we will go
to tangiers and forget
about pottery barn
and long velvet drapes

but we will always remember
the chocolate from belgium
and the boy in the fountain
who laughed when you kissed me
on the tip of my nose
under late summer's sky.

*Feeling very Belgium was coined by Bucky Katt of Get Fuzzy fame. I say it in my head sometimes. It works. Today, fits like a glove. And no, it doesn't make any sense.
posted by PlazaJen, 5:50 PM | link |

Further Proof of My Quirkiness.....

So, I see this news story link on Yahoo! Entertainment, and all it says is, "Rocky's Back!"

Immediately, I think, "Rocky & Bullwinkle? OH MY GOD! I LOVE THEM!" It has a LOT to do with the fact that I, Jennifer, the one & only PlazaJen, have a speaking voice that sounds almost pitch-on perfect to Mr. Rocky the Squirrel, if I just go up one octave with my voice. (or whatever. I'm no Mariah Carey or Celine Dion. Maybe it's just "raise" my voice.) I enjoy proving this fact by saying "And now here's something you'll REALLY like," in my best Rocky trill.

Oh, the excitement and yeah, but no. It was Rocky the fighter, Sylvester Stallone. Apparently he's making yet ANOTHER movie about the boxing and the eggshakes and the jogging up steps and the YO ADRIENNING. Somewhere, somehow, a pop-culture need got identified. They obviously weren't consulting ME! What's next? Geriatric Rambo? Taking on the Platoon of Elderly at Shady Acres Retirement Homes with Assisted Living?

I am connected to Sly, though, in that I share a birthday with him. Me, Sly & Nancy Reagan. Yes, I keep excellent company on my birthday (July 6). Brigitte "I'm-So-Drunk-I-Love-Flava-Flave" Nielsen's slurring ex-husband and the Hugs not Drugs Lady who, I believe, spent a shitload of money on new china for the White House. Oh yes, do not question that random factoid from the 80's. That is what I remember more than her anti-drug program: the fact she spent oodles of controversial money on new plates. The one (and only) time I learn a good lesson from the Republicans: never disrespect the emphasis on exquisite hostessing & fine dining.

Heh. Lessons from Nancy Reagan.

Oh Bullwinkle.
That NEVER works.
posted by PlazaJen, 6:28 AM | link |

Monday, October 17, 2005

Jennifer Needs....

Yes, I'm playing along. You google your name + "needs" and see what comes up. Not surprisingly, I have many, many needs. 19,800,000 in fact. Here are the top ones:

1. Jennifer needs a cold shower (I don't like them so much. More a boy thing.)
2. Jennifer needs a smack daddy (Yeah, but you get one & they change their names every freakin' week. First it's Smack Daddy, then it's S. Daddy, Diddy Smack, and I can't keep up.)
3. Jennifer needs a tutor (True. I love to learn. Photoshop & Illustrator, please.)
4. Jennifer needs space (Always.)
5. Jennifer needs to keep on improving (And I ask you, who doesn't?)
6. Jennifer needs heavy visual depiction of her subject in order for it all to work (Yes. Get to work on the heavy visual depicting, stat. I need it for work. And improving.)
7. Jennifer needs the earth energy in her life (Again, who doesn't benefit from the earth energy?)
8. Jennifer needs this Diva Publicity like she needs a hole in the head (AMEN!)
9. Jennifer needs a thorough psychiatric evaluation (Now, hold on, let's not make any hasty decisions. I'll spend more time with the earth, and I'll be ok. I promise.)
10. Jennifer needs time to heal

Hm. Well, don't we all. Let the healing begin!
posted by PlazaJen, 7:00 AM | link |

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Oh Yes, You Can Make Your Dog Want To Kill You.

I'd recommend sleeping with one eye open. And hope your dog doesn't figure out how to harness "The Force" and kill you from across the room.

(This 'outfit' is featured in this week's Target circular. Don't worry, I'm not planning any Star Wars Themed Shenanigans for JWo & the dogs!)
posted by PlazaJen, 9:03 AM | link |

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Ohhhh baby. From the New Moosewood Cookbook, tart apples are topped with sharp cheddar cheese and streusel, combining savory & sweet in perfect harmony.....

Baked it on Tuesday - it's already gone. Good thing we still have apples.....
posted by PlazaJen, 12:39 AM | link |

Friday, October 14, 2005

More Scarves & Happy Friday....

Vintage Velvet is finished, and has been for a week now - but I haven't felted it! That will happen this weekend. In the meantime, here's a couple of pictures in all its softness & glory:
Vintage Velvet

Vintage Velvet

This is a quick-knit scarf; Knit with Crown Mountain Farms Corriedale Pencil Roving, color: Twilight. The yarn is so soft, and the colors are just beautiful. Pattern is from Knit Ponchos, Wraps & Scarves - it's a super fast, super easy K2tog, YO kinda pattern! I highly recommend the book, too - many beautiful, unique patterns. This scarf didn't even use a full skein, so I know I'm going to be cranking out the Xmas presents quickly with this pencil roving!

Pencil Roving Scarf

I'm ready for the weekend: more garage-cleaning, knitting, getting caught up on TV, cleaning, a birthday party, and tonight? a date with my hubby. We're gonna see the Wallace & Gromit movie. How can you NOT love a dog who knits????

gromit knits
posted by PlazaJen, 7:32 AM | link |

Thursday, October 13, 2005

New Jewelry

Oh yes, Miss Polly got herself a new tag! From Fetching Tags, hers says, "Greatest Thing Ever!" - because that is how she treats everything to cross her path. Her Busy Bee, a bone, ice cubes, (unfortunately) other dog's poop - SQUIRRELS - you name it, in Polly's world, it is the Greatest Thing Ever. I'm going to try to adopt her attitude today! It will be hard with some of the billing discrepancies I have to do, but let's give it a go....
posted by PlazaJen, 8:01 AM | link |

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Queen of Me

Growing up in the middle of nowhere (rural Iowa), being raised by hippies & not having TV, it would be an understatement to say that I got some interesting ideas about Life.

My father has had a subscription to the New Yorker magazine for as long as I can remember. Except for the Tina Brown years. I'll cover that in a separate post. It requires its own space, it's that combustible. In any event, one of my great joys in Life was to sit down & read all the cartoons & scour the magazine for all the little droll, dry observations that were tucked in at the end of articles, in the back, etc. Many times they featured a horrible typo, grammatical error or misused word, and their only comment was, "Noted." It's still a word we use to indicate extreme snobbishness, complete with a raised eyebrow.

But the other thing I noticed were all the ads. I was fascinated by Clinique, even though I didn't always understand what the products were supposed to DO. Movado watches seemed to be the end-all be-all. Same for Salvadore Ferragamo shoes. And then there were my favorites: Oh how I loved them. There she was, not an attractive woman by any stretch of the imagination, BUT SHE WORE A TIARA. And when you're a chunky kid who doesn't fit in, all it takes sometimes is a tiara. Oh yes, I'm talking about THE Queen of Mean: Leona Helmsley. The ads were a series, so sometimes you'd have several quarter-page ads in a row, featuring The Queen. She was always saying something, about the quality of the items in the room. "I don't settle for anything but wooden hangers. Why should you?" Wooden Hangers? Wha? I am only familiar with the plastic kind. I AM MISSING OUT. She had a whole host of things she wouldn't live without, and none of them were in my house. Every week, I reconciled my existence to the fact we did not live at the Helmsley Palace. Of course, she was later exposed as a greedy, evil bitch & sent to prison, but there are things you can't undo in life. The impressions were made & the damage was done. I was not living my life as a queen, and dammit, that was another one of Life's Great Misfortunes.

Well, we still have plastic hangers, and not all the pillows are down-filled. I don't spend thousands of dollars on sheets, but they are cotton & a decent thread-count. We have dogs instead of doormen, and I prefer their greetings because I know they're genuine. We aren't worth 1.8 billion, but hey, anybody can buy a tiara. And, I'm happy to report, I've never been incarcerated. (How DOES one wear a tiara and a jumpsuit? It's just a giant mixed message.) In addition to being characterized as having "naked greed" and a whole host of unpleasant things, apparently she hated gay people, which to me is just a nail in the ol' coffin. Sister Leona, you canNOT run a palace without assistance from The Family. At least not as tastefully as you say you do.

This is where you raise an eyebrow and say it:

posted by PlazaJen, 6:35 AM | link |

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Nothing Says Romance Like A Trip To The Dump.

We had a busy weekend, filled with things to do & lots of projects screeching for attention - including the Dreaded Garage, which has been chock-full-o-boxes for a year now, and I've been dragging my feet on The Cleaning Out Of It All. I did finally start this summer, which is an excellent time to do such a project in Missouri, if you enjoy sweat in your eyes and getting cranky in under five minutes. I had high hopes of having it done last month, and those hopes were FOLLY and LOFTY and did not pan out. But I'm making headway! And one thing we needed to do was get some of the trash/toss stuff OUT so I could continue to organize/pile (and have a sense of accomplishment.)

So on Sunday, we loaded up JWo's trailer? And went to the dump. I've never really been to a dump before. We went to the "community" dump when I was a kid, I rode along once, in the winter. There's a good reason to go to the dump in the winter, and I'm sure you can connect the dots there. It was all rather exciting, and disheartening, and amazing, and revolting, ALL AT ONCE. We pulled up to a structure that was not unlike a Checkpoint Charlie, where we paid $52 for the honor of dumping our own trash. We also got little one-size-fits-all orange vests, in a package that described them as "blaze green", and signs everywhere instructing us to wear HIGHLY VISIBLE CLOTHING AT ALL TIMES. Also a sign that photography was not allowed! Can I just tell you how mad I was at that point for not bringing the camera?

We drive in, and you drive up up up and then around and down and up and side to side, and all you see for a little while is lots of earth-moving action. Bulldozers and many other big pieces of equipment, pushing gravel and stone and dirt. It was quite dusty, that was the first sensory perception. Then you come down and around and wind by a sea of porta-pottys. You don't think about where those things go, do you? You're usually drunk, and wishing you could just hold it 'til you get home.... but somebody's gotta empty them. These were, blessedly, and assumably, empty. Wind wind wind around and down and now the pavement ends and more signs telling us to WEAR VISIBLE CLOTHING and then the smell hits. Faint at first, sickly-sweet and rotting. Now we're driving up up up again, and the next thing I see? Buzzards. Circling, swooping. The smell gets stronger. And then we turn and go straight down this HUUUUUGE hill, to the bottom, where I see a couple other vehicles, and people are dumping their trash. It's SO not organized, like, follow these lines & back up to this point. You just back up to the edge, and breathe through your mouth, and unload stuff as fast as you can, pell-mell and crazy. I was wearing a bright pink sweatshirt hoodie cardigan & I decreed I was NOT going to wear the vest on top of that, I was HIGHLY VISIBLE in what I had on, thank you very much. In less than ten minutes, we were done & climbing back up the hill and then on out of the giant gash in the earth, where allllllll our trash goes. Deffenbaugh empties all their trucks there, so if you live in the KC area, I pretty much guarantee all your stuff you leave at the curb ends up in the same place I stood. It made me feel bad, for what we're doing to our earth, how much crap we buy gets thrown away and buried back in a hole in the ground, and how much more trash I have still that has to get hauled away. (I'm buying those little trash stickers though, I can guarantee I don't have 52 bags of trash, and the stickers are a dollar each.) The good news is, I'm donating almost as much as I'm throwing away & at least someone else will benefit from my pack-rattedness.

But it was an experience, and made hilarious at the onset by my husband wailing out the sounds to the theme song from "Sanford & Sons" the whole time. And I recalled how, when my packrat father had left town, my mother did some cleaning & made a trip to the dump, and threw out a pair of his boots. My dad came back home, and made his OWN trip to the dump, where, lo & behold, he saw a nice pair of boots that looked awfully familiar & weren't ready to be thrown away yet, and back home they went......much to my mother's chagrin!

(If you want a little flashback, just go to this website & his intro music is exactly what we've been singing around here the past couple of days...)
posted by PlazaJen, 7:23 AM | link |

Monday, October 10, 2005

He Did It!

Giant Pumpkin

Go JWo, it's your punkin, Go JWo, you grew it....

One Hundred & Forty-Two & a Half POUNDS!!!

Beer can on top for scale. It's gorgeous. I will probably carve it into a Buddha. Oh, yes, there will be pictures of that.....

Congratulations, James! (I am already bracing myself for next year's endeavours...)
posted by PlazaJen, 7:37 AM | link |

Saturday, October 08, 2005

When Time Stands Still

Farewell Icon II

When we were in Oregon, MO last weekend, I took a few pictures. The place had the general feeling that time had stood still here and there ..... Things we don't think about NOT being around anymore, because we're so used to the new things - like cell phones instead of phone booths, or digital gas pumps instead of the old kind with the little flicking numbers.....
Gas Station

So when you see them again, it's enough to make you stop & realize just how much things have changed. And yet the leaves will fall, and the wind will blow, and Mother Nature will continue to do her thing, no matter how much we invent or develop.... and, kids & puppies will always grab our hearts. This family had the winning auction bid on the 10-week black lab pup, and their kids were so flippin' cute, I had them pose for pictures, with their new puppy. There's a joke about advertising, how you can always take the easy way and go with puppies & kids. There's a reason why it's true:

posted by PlazaJen, 10:30 AM | link |

Friday, October 07, 2005


As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten to the point where I rather enjoy the wistfulness & melancholy that accompanies the transition from Summer into Fall. The leaves on the trees have taken on a tinge of what is to come, certainly still describable as “green”, but they are hinting at the future. The air has changed, and the clouds fill in the sky with a grayer hue.

While driving home the other night, my mind bounced around and I thought of all the Falls I’ve spent alone, and how much harder my “melancholera” was back then. (I'm all about making up words this week.) I think growing up, and having my husband, have helped me feel more grounded, more centered, and so the feelings I have now are more like gentle reminders to be grateful and enjoy what is here, now.

My mind also skittered to a memory, one that never fails to bring tears to my eyes, and I think it also explains who I am. I don’t think I’m that different from everybody else, but I know that I am incredibly sensitive to everything, and it’s been a long haul to work on insulating myself so I can cope “normally”. After all, one can’t just spend every day weeping! Back to the story: my mom is a school psychologist (yes, even the trained can have f-d up relationships), and she came home every day with stories. But there was one little boy, a 1st or 2nd grader, who will always stay stuck in my mind and heart. He had a speech impediment, and coke-bottle glasses. My mother had to go out and pick him up to bring him to school one day, because his mother “forgot” to get him out to the bus in time. The little boy was also forgetful, but with his speech impediment, his explanations came out as: “I dah-dot.” Back to this little shrimp of a boy, sitting in my mom’s passenger seat, feet not touching the floor, talking to her in his nasal voice. He told her he was saving his money. She asked him why – and he said it was to buy him & his mom a Christmas tree. Because they’d never had one. I begged my mother to let him come and live with us.

I’ve had to stop typing this twice, because it still makes me cry. My little Insulating Gnomes rush around my heart & put up plywood barriers, because I know there are a million other little kids, just like him, still out there today, and if I think about that I may never come up for air. Who knows what became of him. All I know is in that moment, hearing his heartbreaking wish for one simple thing, that symbolized happiness to him, and his desire to please his mother, I realized how fortunate I am and how much I take for granted. And I was maybe 10? Obviously, I’ve not gone on to live a great life of sacrifice and selflessness, and I’m the first to admit I’m materialistic & want nice things surrounding me. But fuck, people. They say you can judge a man by how well he tips, or by how well he treats a dog. I say we as a society are judged on how well we care for our indigent, for the mentally handicapped, for those who have less. I think we’ve neglected the poor for so long, they’re pissed & desperate, and somehow that attitude fuels the dominant belief that if they’re ungrateful, they don’t deserve anything. The current stuff doesn’t work. We have too many smart people in this world for me to believe we can’t find a better way.

That’s my rant for the week. I think of that little boy every year, and blink back my tears. I am grateful to have a job, a secure and happy marriage filled with love & laughter, dear friends I can clutch to my heart, great people out there who send me nice emails & like me just from what they read. If there’s a lesson in this, it’s to appreciate the moment, what you have, and if there’s an opportunity to help someone less fortunate, to take it. On an up-note, I can’t wait to take pictures this year of the maples on Ward Parkway, one of the many things that make my commute each day so contemplative & beautiful. It’ll be a few weeks, but they truly are breathtaking.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:01 AM | link |

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I keep thinking about the word "Blogeur", which is probably not original, but I did come up with it on my own, & the definition of the word (as I've defined it) speaks to the very nature of blogs and specifically, reading other people's blogs. You know, the voyeuristic nature it takes. Blogger - voyeur - blogyeur, blogeur, blogheur. A quick search shows that Blogeur is how they spell blogger in France. Feh. It's interesting, though. All these little cyber-windows in which to peep, some of which become daily stops, friendly waves back & forth, like little Blog Village neighbors....

As another Random Ort, in all my years on this planet, I continue to marvel at the human body's ability to generate mucus. Mmmm. That's a nice word, too.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:49 AM | link |

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Knitted Items!

Well, I've felt a little like a knitting machine the past couple of weeks. I've been posessed to do this crazy thing: finish what I've started, and wait to start new things! What UP with that???

In any event, I finished my Clapotis, along with a simple scarf knitted from handspun given to me by Kristin, and am about halfway through the Vintage Velvet from Scarf Style. I also am nearly done with a goofy hat for JWo for duck season, just gotta attach the "googly eyes".... more on that one later. ;)

Pictures! Pictures!

Clapotis, Clapotis!

Handspun Scarf:
Handspun Scarf

The Completed Lady Eleanor:
Lady Eleanor, Completed!

The colors in this are a bit more muted in real life - I also did a unique fringe, making strands of i-cord, tacking them on the bottom & to each other. The idea was to mimic the overlapping effect of the entrelac.

After Vintage Velvet, I'm going to start on a new Einstein jacket soon.....ran out of yarn on the first one & in a fit of pique, decided to just begin new yarn from Elann in a cranberry-wine color. Pretty!

That is your knitting update!
posted by PlazaJen, 9:05 AM | link |

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Puffy Polly

Oh, lordy, what a freak-out I had last night. I met JWo at Harpo's, before his backgammon tournament began, and then went home & took care of the dogs. This meant letting them speed around the back yard at full tilt, while I inspected some plants. I discovered my Meyer lemon tree was ant-infested, so I went bonkers & hosed it off, and then let the dogs in to eat. I got some ant dust/poison, the dogs & I went back outside, and I covered the cement where the pot sits with ant dust. (This keeps the poison out of the plant, and I've got to get some horticultural oil to treat the plant itself, because I know there are still ants a-lurkin'.) The dogs did their race-around squirrel-patrol thing, and then we all went back in the house. Dogs on the pillows, me watching some tv & knitting. About half an hour later, Polly looked at me straight on, and I knew something was wrong. The side of her face I couldn't see was so swollen. I had her come to me, and her eyes were swollen, one really badly, and her muzzle was also really swollen on one side. My first thought was "ant poison", followed by "emergency vet clinic". We all went outside & I saw that the ant powder was untouched. Race upstairs. To the internet, search term "Dog Face Swell". By this point, my Brain Gnomes are running around, knocking each other over, general panic and confusion. Then, a bell rang. It was Useless Information & Observations Gnome, you know, the gnome who just randomly notices & writes things down here and there. UIO Gnome had, while I was bent over my lemon tree, noticed a bee on some daisies. And had jotted down, "Seen a lot of bees lately."

I had landed on a website for raising guide dogs, and I immediately found the part about bee stings. Benadryl is the recommended treatment, 1g/per pound, body weight. A solution! My poor Polly. She was acting fine, with a little discomfort it seemed, and panting quite a bit. Downstairs we all race. Benadryl. Damn the fact we buy generic equivalents. I do not have a degree in chemistry and my patience was shot. I raced back upstairs to the Benadryl website to determine key ingredients. Good God. I have no idea what we have in the medicine cabinet. All of it certainly fatal because I cannot decipher all of the ingredients. To the Osco, Polly!

We drove to the closest drugstore, where I purchased Benadryl and Pup-eronis. This is an odd combo, in retrospect. I had a crazed look, I know, because the woman who had finished her transaction & was enthusiastically talking about mice with the checker OBVIOUSLY did not want to finish her conversation, but took one look at me and said her goodbyes. MOVE, bitch, get out the way! I got a dog that needs savin'! I was comforted by Polly's reaction to the Puperonis (positive, wanting them all), and I gave her two li'l Benadryls smashed into Puperoni pieces. We drove home, I called JWo & gave him the whole story, he reassured me, and informed we had generic Benadryl. Well, never mind, I was In Crisis, and wasn't taking any chances. In less than an hour, her swelling was down, almost gone, and she was reveling in a nylabone.

I, on the other hand, am still recovering from the scare, and yes, I'm sending my Useless Information & Observations Gnome a fruit basket of gratitude. And if you're between me & my dog who needs my help? I'm gonna knock you DOWN. Mama gonna knock you OUT.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:10 AM | link |

Monday, October 03, 2005

Apples, Drinks & the Puffy Taco


We went to Weston on Saturday, for their annual Apple Festival. On the way up, we met at Mike & Gordon's, where our start got delayed when someone spilled their drink in the carpooling process. (I was laughing because I heard Gordon say, "DRAMA!" and I knew we were delayed.) So JWo drove around & around the cul-de-sac, like a spinning teacup, until I shrieked "ENOUGH!"

Weston is an adorable little town, lots of classic storefronts & shops, plus vendors & artists in the streets. Opting for a shuttle, we boarded a big yellow schoolbus that dropped us off a block or so from the start of the action. This becomes important at the end of the story.

Traipsing about, we ended up in an Irish pub, minus Roger, who was antiquing. We had awesome food & beer, Roger joined us, and then we roamed the vendor booths & people-watched. And then? We proceeded to eat even more. EVEN MORE. It was the sharing that made it seem "ok". An apple dumpling. A bottle of root beer. Suddenly, we're each eating what was, quite possibly, the best ear of corn ever. OOF.

This man had built his own mini-hay-baler. They had them in two sizes, and it was fascinating to watch.

We waddled up the hill to catch our shuttle back, and you'd think, ok, we're in this small town, it'll be a short zip-zap back to the school where we left the car. But noooooo. We ended up driving probably 8 miles out of town, because that's the way the road went, and there was no place to turn around. Cornfields, hayfields, ponds..... it started to feel a little scary-movie-esque. I was in the seat right behind the driver, and all the boys were in the back. After two drop-offs (and we're still not at ours), I turned around and said, "I have to sit behind the driver because I've been BAD." That cracked 'em up. It did feel oddly familiar....

Anyway, we got to the car 15 minutes later, and parted ways (we went on to a banquet, more on that later). BUT! I forgot the funniest part, which was on the drive, before you get to the airport? There's a restaurant called PUFFY TACO. And that, dear friends, is why we have focus groups. Though I bet their t-shirts are funny.....
posted by PlazaJen, 7:10 AM | link |

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Beer, BBQ & Elvis

We went to the American Royal on Friday night, and had a great time. We had passes to a media tent, so we got free food & drink, as this picture makes abundantly clear:

L-R: Mike (standing), Roger, Gordon

Just to prove we didn't go country-western on y'all, I give you: Doc Martens in the Dust.


And as I promised, photographic evidence that Elvis does, indeed, exist:



Our friend Greg & his buddies compete every year in the BBQ contest; they're "The Gristle Brothers", and their booth was representative of what nearly every other booth was doing: having a kick-ass party in a contained space. Elvis was just part of their whole party experience. I marveled as we walked back to catch the shuttle, how elaborate & yet contained all the parties were - one booth had a disco. Another had a band (one of MANY bands out there.) Since the weather was so perfect, there were thousands & thousands of people there, and it was enough to make our group want to compete next year. Because my husband loves to BBQ, and the gay men love to decorate for a party..... It's pretty hard to top Elvis, though.

(The rest of the pix are over on my Flickr account. Stay tuned for the rest of the weekend adventures & pictures!)
posted by PlazaJen, 12:05 PM | link |