PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

8 Random Orts

1. I have spent my morning battling with my mail-order prescription pharmacy, who amazingly, can still answer the phone despite their heads being firmly inserted up their asses. Then more time spent calling my doctor's office, and in general fostering a white-hot rage towards our insurance provider & their lack of customer service. Fortunately, my doctor's office shares my rage. Thank god for pharmaceutical samples, which will tide me over until this gets resolved.

2. Parmesan goldfish are excellent for breakfast. Wash them down with Diet Coke w/ Lime - Breakfast of Champions!

3. We have these status meetings every week, and every week I think about how yet again, I've forgotten to bring an ice pick. You know, to stab myself in the face. I don't care for status too much.

4. I was not surprised to learn Jack Bauer has a disciplined method for gouging out eyeballs. He starts with the right, then moves to the left. Jack Bauer is not to be trifled with. Perhaps he could stop by my prescription company on my behalf?

5. Speaking of Jack Bauer, his love, Audrey, has the best glasses & jewelry, ever. Fox needs to tell me if I can afford to replicate her style or not. I want a source! And I'm not afraid to gouge out eyeballs to get it!

6. Right now, you are glad you are not having my day.

7. But I still love my job.

8. And life, overall, is pretty good. Despite my desire to overturn tables in a restaurant. That's tomorrow's blog.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:16 AM | link |

Monday, January 30, 2006

Little Did I Know, It Was Fredo All Along.

There are a lot of times in my life when I look to movies & whatnot for reference, reminders, inspiration & laughter. There was a time when I lived in St. Louis, and had been completely fucked over by my boss (you know, the one who drank, cried in her office & played Free Cell instead of working? Yeah! That one!) My extremely wise aunt was getting tired of listening to me bemoan my fate. So she pulled out the big guns. The baddest-ass movie about work you could ever imagine.

The Godfather.

"Jennifer! You need to be more like the Godfather. You need to remember as Don Corleone said, 'It's only business.' You are taking it all way too personally."

Moi? I fucking wrote the book on taking things personally. Masterpiece, really.
But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. Hell, if Michael Corleone could rig up and "go fishing" with his brother Fredo, and we all know how that turned out for Fredo, then I sure could stop taking every slight on the chin. Well, that's all grand in theory. I still take things personally, but I've gotten smarter. It still bruises, some of these pitfalls & things that happen in the daily grind. People are volatile, hard to deal with, and in any workplace, there's always a buffoon idiot, a passive-aggressive freak, and a blind follower, no matter the business or industry. Accounts are won, accounts are lost. The thrill of the chase, the sadness of defeat. It's the natural ocean of the agency world, and no matter how many years you sail it, there are still times you get salt water up your nose.

Better than going fishing with Michael Corleone, anyway...
posted by PlazaJen, 9:24 PM | link |

Saturday, January 28, 2006

He Kindly Stopped For Me.

I stood outside on the screened-in porch and felt the unseasonable warm air gust around me. I thought of all the women who had gone before me, who had done the same things we were doing tonight. My friend's mother had died. We came together to clean our friend's home, because the inevitable parade of visitors had already begun that night, when I arrived. She had spent the last two weeks in the hospital by her bedside, so she asked for that help, despite how clean it really was. The direct link between death & food was already apparent, as her refrigerator was overflowing. I laughed at myself, because I had also brought an assortment of chips, cookies, crackers, chocolate, juice boxes. My girlfriends brought food, flowers, and buckets of cleaning supplies.

For two hours we scrubbed & swept & vacuumed. Intermittently, one of us would stop and talk to our friend as she moved among us, hug her, listen, and look into her eyes, reminded that someday, this will be ourselves. Her daughter, still so young, was delighted by the company. She rocketed among us, talking, laughing & giving us orders. I picked her up and squeezed her and told her in a year, she was going to be taller than me, and that pretty soon, I was going to get shorter, and she'd be even taller. She informed me I was going to teach her to knit a poodle, that night. (I finessed my way out of that one.)

I thought of my great-grandmother, Hattie, as I took a break on that porch last night, and how she was born before she had the right to vote, how her life was filled with hard labor as a farmer's wife, how she never saw the internet, wouldn't know what to make of an iPod. And how she probably did this exact same thing for her friends in her own lifetime, coming together, quiet strength and ordinary work - showing love in the face of great sadness.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:35 AM | link |

Friday, January 27, 2006

Yes, I Speak Surreal

I am having the craziest, up-down, nutty day. INSANE. First of all, the work, it is like seven softball pitching machines lined up & have a never-ending supply of balls & are pelting me as I race back and forth.

Second, Kristin tried to bring our waiter home from lunch today. Yes, he was very cute. But the rest of just ADMIRED him. Kristin? Asked him if he'd like to come home with us. It's why I love her.

Third, it's as if we're all doing stand-up today. My boss Jim, Kristin, me, the new girl - she knows a lot about stripclubs - it's just hilarious and exhausting and then hilarious all over again. We had lunch with one of the funniest people I know, my rep Joe, and I adore him. He does the best gay Cuban voice ever.

I won $50 this morning, because Max (of Max, Tanna & Moffett, the morning show on KYYS), called me at work yesterday & said they'd be saying my name on the radio & I should listen, and then call in. Well, duh, you don't have to tell me twice. I've got a price. He even told me the time they'd be doing it. SWEET! Unfortunately, as I am wont to do, I was rather unaware of him and his fame and Kansas City Icon Status. So I just shot him shit the entire time on the phone: "Hi Jennifer, how are you?" "STRANGE, MAX. I am feeling STRANGE today!" because I get tired of the same ordinary conversations, so I was mixin' it up. He was not quite sure what to make of me, and probably a little weary of being whored out to call media directors & buyers in the city to buy their love & listenership, if only for an hour. Whatever. Fifty Dolla make me holla. And, I made him laugh.

So the insanity continues: I have to work this weekend; one of my good friend's mother passed away last night - I'm so sad for her, I had to get it together at my desk, because she's also an only child & I suddenly saw her kindergarten-age daughter & my heart ached for her; I'm having fun at my job; we're getting things done, we're torturing people (legally) -- it's like getting the good, the bad, the highs, the lows, the extreme hilarity, the extreme sadness - all in an encapsulated, concentrated timeframe. But I tell you what. When life gives you a lemon? BITE IT. Just bite it. Throw in a sugar cube. Add 151 rum & a shot of vodka & you hit all the softballs out of the park.

Right now, I feel extremely alive. And as though I could begin to start speaking in tongues - any minute.
posted by PlazaJen, 2:39 PM | link |

Thursday, January 26, 2006


So, I am having sudden, intense cravings. NO. Stop right there. I am not pregnant. I can't imagine what that would be like, given how strong my cravings have been. I would end up on the 10 o'clock news, feature story, on how I terrorized a Sheridan's custard stand because they didn't have the right ingredients on-hand, and the video they'd show would be me with some poor teenager in a headlock, screaming "GIVE ME THE GODDAMN HOT FUDGE NOW!) I can't even punctuate properly, I'm that discombobulated.

Seriously, though, I had the most peculiar one, right after a sip of coffee the other morning. Like a bolt of lightning. I just instantly desired a hotdog, the way my mom made them when I was in 2nd grade. Sliced almost in half, put under the broiler, cooked until brown, a slice of cheese put over the dog & popped back into the oven until melty. Sometimes we'd put sauerkraut on 'em - but you always dunked these into ketchup - no ketchup applied directly. Crazy! Because I didn't start drinking coffee 'til 10th grade, so there's no direct hotdog-coffee connection that I'm aware of!

And I'm also on a tear for Sonic's Sweetheart Shake or Blast or whatever the F it is, all I know is that they have it around Valentine's Day, and HELLO, that's like less than three WEEKS AWAY, and it has hot fudge & cherries in it. And they DON'T GODDAMN HAVE IT yet. Fuckers. They are OUT to destroy me. Again.

Because I fancy myself something of a wheedler, I attempted to get one at Sonic yesterday, anyway. OH, yes I did. Only I asked for strawberries, because I knew I'd increase my odds of success. (Insert loud blasting buzzing noise to indicate lack of success HERE!) Well, I guess it AIN'T MY WAY however I like it when I want it and you don't have it!

And if it's not obvious by now, I'm really not being charitable to my sales reps this week. Unless one of them shows up with this shake thing I want. Then? PUTTY.
posted by PlazaJen, 6:26 AM | link |

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Concert Tip

We went to see Cake last night at the Uptown - I am so friggin' tired today - we didn't get to bed until close to 1 a.m. - what is up with concerts having to be so late? And with that I officially prove I'm Old.

But we parked in the Family Dollar parking lot, which seemed like an amazing coup, but as we were walking away, I looked back and saw an "unauthorized vehicles will be towed, blah blah blah" sign. JWo wasn't worried, so we headed in & caught quite possibly one of the strangest blends of music being performed by Gogol Bordello: Gypsy Punk. In all seriousness, they were kinda cool, if bizarre. But I couldn't stop thinking about the tow truck that was driving around, smiling evily, circling closer & closer to LaFonda the Honda. JWo offered to move it, and I said no. But I couldn't stop the fretting. Finally, I decided to go ask about Towing Potential & took the keys, just in case. Keep in mind there's no re-entry for concerts, so the notion of moving the car could also carry with it the sentence of missing the band!

So, here's how you swing it. You find a cop, preferably by the door, and wait patiently until he looks at you. I would not recommend going for his gun, or anything else on that belt. (Have you ever noticed just how much stuff they have on their belts? Jesus, if I had to grab something off that belt I'd be all, "Hey, hang on, ok, whups, I think it's over one past the mace, I know it, hang on, hang on!") Then, you put on your anxious face. And you ask the cop if they tow from the Family Dollar parking lot. When he nods and says, "Yep, I think so," you want to look stricken. PANICKED. Then, do you hear the bus, JWo? You throw your husband under it. "Oh my gosh. My husband parked the car there and I am freaking out. Can I go move it? Can I get back in?" And then the cop will get the bouncers/ticket takers to look at you & memorize your face & he will tell them to let you back in because you are going to move your car from Family Dollar.

Worked for me! And then I deftly parallel-parked it in the smallest space ever, further inflating my ego & sense of accomplishment. And I was able to enjoy the concert without wondering if LaFonda had been hauled off to some impound lot and how in hell would we get home and get LaFonda and how much it would cost!

More about the concert later - the one-line review is: if you like Cake, damn, they are worth seeing. They're one of those bands that's actually better live.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:26 AM | link |

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Pop Culture Conversations

Me: "What's with all this crazy stuff we're not watching? Dancing with the Stars? Skating with Celebrities? It's crazy! What's next?"

JWo: "TETHERBALL with the Stars."

Me: "Dude, that would totally rock!"

JWo: "ROPE!"
:Motioning of pounding the ball around the pole:

Me: "I always got hit in the face when I played tether ball. Bein' short and all. It sucked."

JWo totally deserves an intellectual property fee if FOX picks up the idea.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:04 AM | link |

Monday, January 23, 2006

Angry Eyes: ON!

Sales Rep calls. "Hello. BLAH BLAH BLAH Would you like to also buy an Olympic package?"


"OK. Well, I can't believe I did this, but I can't find the rates I submitted to you for this last buy? Would you find them & fax them back to me so I can input your order you sent?"

-Hair begins to stand on end.-


"I mean, I can't believe I gave you Fear Factor at that rate."

"Is it going to clear?"

"I don't know, I haven't input it yet. I just can't find the rates I sent you. So could you send them back to me?"

"Let me get this straight: you can't find your rates, so I need to look for them, so you can CHECK MY WORK? And you don't even know yet if it will CLEAR?"

"Well....I mean, I just don't know about the rate on that Fear Factor."

"Listen. If the spot clears, it clears. If it kicks out, then I'll move the money to another station. How's that?"


"Because looking for your rates & sending them back to you so you can see if my rates are going to work before you even enter the order is not going to be a top priority for me today."

Big pause.

"Yeah. Nevermind doing that."

HARRUMPH! I am NOT one of those old-school bitchy buyers. I am laid-back, friendly, and generally speaking, not a hard-ass when it comes to working with reps. And if you're not in this business, the above conversation might sound harsh - but seriously, don't call me until you've input the order & things are getting kicked back out. Call with solutions. You make commission - I don't!

I've had my angry eyes at the ready all weekend & apparently, they're locked in and loaded for bear. As JWo said this morning, "You need to go eat something so your angry eyes come off."

HARRUMPH! I need a cheeseburger.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:53 AM | link |

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Spam for Breakfast

I almost always straight-away delete my spam. Most people do. I used to get apoplectic with the number of requests to help the Nigerian Royalty get their multi-million dollar bank accounts out of Switzerland, but blessedly, I'm off their lists after the job change.

This morning, in my Bulk folder, I see something from Sherri Merino. Perhaps she is a sheep! But the subject line was priceless: "My Friend, You Are In Trouble."

I am? How did you know? My goodness! I wasn't even aware I was in trouble. Turns out, Sherri's got a line on a whole lot of licensed software at rock-bottom prices. How dare she bait and switch me like that. I thought she knew me. I thought she was my friend.

In a completely unrelated observation, big birthday wishes are shouted out today to Miss Kristin and my dad. Two very special people to me! May the next year be filled with happiness, good health, and joy....
posted by PlazaJen, 8:54 AM | link |

Friday, January 20, 2006

Apparently I Dance Like A Wealthy Lesbian

One of my great sources of entertainment is to go through all the available ring tones for my phone on the T-Mobile website & torture James with the threat of them. ("Lonely? I'm Mister Lonely" in a chipmunk vibrato, courtesy of Akon.) Some of them, he does like, and some that he likes, I hate. I like having a fun ringtone, mostly because the ones that came with my phone are crap, and besides, JWo calls me every day when he's headed home, so I need something GOOD, and preferably non-torturous for the people who sit nearby.

Some ringtones make us both cackle, and it's incredibly cheap fun. After all, I buy a new ringtone like, uh, four times a year. My delight is in finding some of the classic songs that not only make me happy but are a completely geeky throwback. For instance, tonight? I happened upon "Caribbean Queen", by Billy Ocean, and I did a very involved, seated, chair dance to it. And that's when JWo said I danced like Ellen.

I'll take it. I'm not taking on Madonna for Dance Dance Gyratelution in a leotard: I don't need to. But I did download "Dance Dance" by Fall Out Boy, so I can feel the frenetic love & excitement every day when school's out.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:56 PM | link |

Chug Boat

Last night, I was talking to my boss before I left, recapping some things & talking about the lunch party I'm co-ordinating for everyone at work. It's an "Office Space" party, we had one at my last job, and it was quite fun: watching the movie "Office Space" over lunch, and we're providing all the movie snacks - popcorn, candy, soda. And with a movie like this one, you also have to have cake! I ordered a big cake from Costco, and it says "Happy Birthday, Milton!" in honor of crazy Milton who didn't get a piece of cake in the movie. Mmmm, cheesecake filling & cream cheese frosting. Kill me now. We'll also have a couple of prizes - one person will win the movie, and the MacDaddy prize is, of course, a red Swingline stapler, complete with Innitek post-it notes.

So my boss goes, "You're becoming a regular Julie McCoy Social Director..." and I am sure it comes as no surprise to you that I have been called that before. I did point out that I'm far from being the only social director here at the agency, and I have actually shown restraint, out of deference to other people's toes.

But the Love Boat reference reminded me of the time in my life when my liver was a magical sponge, and hangovers didn't ruin the entire weekend. Yes, I'm talking about college, and the 3-5 years afterwards. We would play "Chug Boat", with all sorts of drinking rules, and every episode guaranteed to escort you to "Blotto" in an hour or less. We made posters of the rules & collected money for beer. There were Group Drink rules, where everyone watching drinks, including "Captain without a hat!" "Full boat shot!" "Theme Music!" "Sexual Innuendo!" or anytime Isaac the Bartender pointed at the camera. Then, you also picked a character, and every time that person was on screen, you drank. Hardcore players would insist camera angle changes constituted a new shot, and god help you if you were playing with them. Oh, and if you picked the Captain, you had to drink TWICE if he was on-screen and not wearing his hat. I usually picked Gopher, and depending on the episode, Julie McCoy. (You might recall she had a teensy-weensy coke problem and wasn't in all the shows...) I also remember playing to a two-hour Mother's Day special, in which a side bet was established where the person who picked the cast member to follow also would have to do SHOTS if they ended up with the worst mother on the show. The guy whose character had Ethel Merman for his mom was the lucky devil that night....

In any event, today's lunch party will be a little less raucous & a little more frosting-filled. I am ready for the weekend, and as much as I could, I'm not going to come in and work! Ummmmm, yeah. When I said "Saturday", I meant "all day" on Saturday. Mmmm, yeah........ I took the quiz, and the "angry" part made me laugh...


What Office Space character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

TGIF, and make sure you get your TPS reports turned in!!!
posted by PlazaJen, 6:07 AM | link |

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Yesterday was one of those days. I play a mean-ass game of whack-a-mole, so you may rock at Dance Dance Revolution, but I can pound the hell out of vermin popping up all over the place. Unfortunately, I get so zoned in the whacking, I don't do so well at managing, or interpersonal skills. Every fifteen minutes, I re-remembered something that HAD. To! Be done! RIGHT now! It may not have been that urgent, but when you're whacking out the moles, everything becomes urgent.

And, if one more CBS station whines to me about not getting on this current buy, despite the fact the demo is Adults 18-24, I am going to punch them in the face. Through the phone. Oh, you'll see it on your tv news. Probably on a different network. TONIGHT! ON FOX! Crazy woman twists time & space continuum & cold-cocks television sales rep THROUGH THE PHONE!
posted by PlazaJen, 7:48 AM | link |

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Top O' The Mornin' To Ye!

There's a chapter in the yet-unwritten Big Book On Marriage (subtitled: Things Nobody Told You), titled, "In Which You Discover Ways To Bug The Living Shit Out Of Each Other And Still Stay Together."

Fortunately, we don't have a lot of entries in that chapter here, but I managed to stumble on one the other evening. Actually, I think it's only the second line-item. But it's a doozy. For whatever reason, I started speaking to JWo in a rich, rolling Irish brogue. I startled myself with how good it was, because normally all my accents tumble and crash within two minutes into something distantly Australian. (Crikey!) I simply channeled the spirit of a dead Irish priest and spoke to him gently & kindly, asking him what he thought of "24" & Jack Bauer, my child. Then I asked for some good whiskey. I felt like the next Meryl Streep.

Then, JWo started screaming, STOP IT STOP IT!

Hm! A chink in the armor! I shall stow this information away and return to it again, when it will be mooooost useful. MOOOOHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Oh, you probably were wondering what the first item on the Stop Bugging The Crap Out Of Me list was. Well, I also channel a ferocious, wily gopher. It's quite a look for me, and I expect when I'm senile & calling myself Paddy O' Furniture in my golden years, rambling about the Potato Famine and the rolling green hills, I'll still utilize this face to scare the young 'uns & get 'em off my lawn. This one REALLY scares James, and in fact, it scares Kristin, too. I don't bring this face out for many folks, just the ones closest to me.... So consider yourself LUCKY:

posted by PlazaJen, 9:09 AM | link |

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Never A Good Sign.....

When your alarm goes off, and you stretch your arm out to hit the snooze button, and instead?

You hit your husband.

Mornin' Sweetie!
posted by PlazaJen, 7:44 AM | link |

Monday, January 16, 2006

Happy Crap-Your-Pants Monday....

Yeah, it would be nice if I did a love-thy-brother kind of blog today, in honor of Dr. King, but instead, I have to rant about the dumbshit in the Ford F-250 who almost broadsided me on Ward Parkway this morning. I could not believe my eyes, and my little mosquito-whining horn & I were in shrill agreement as I screamed, performed evasive maneuvers & saw my entire front quarterpanel narrowly miss being rammed by his big green stupidness.

Ward Parkway is three lanes wide. I was in the middle lane (with a big black SUV on my left, so I had very little room to swerve). Mr.FuckNut 250 was at a stop sign & turned right into the left lane - but see, you can do that pull-into-traffic alongside oncoming cars if you're a BMW Mini. A Ford Contour. Even a Passat. But when you have the length & size of a big pickup truck, you can't make that turn without crossing another lane. Which FN250 realized, as he saw my "O" face screaming at him & heard my little horn honking, and I could see him, wildly cranking his steering wheel as hard as possible, and between both our efforts, my car did not get hit.

A near-miss for LaFonda. A near-need change of underpantaloons for me, not to mention the years off my life. One more stupid driver to put on my list.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:43 AM | link |

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Thai Junkie

Seriously, the difference between me & a meth addict is that my addiction is legal.

I will prove my point shortly. I got up early this morning, meeting my friend Kyra (look at her watching Cesar Milan in her finished socks!) for some coffee before we hit The Studio for their annual sale (25% off everything!) Our friend Jimmi showed up, too, and we huddled & chatted while we waited for them to open. I actually surprised myself with how little I ended up spending - a skein of Schaeffer Anne for socks, two skeins of Noro Kureyon & a co-ordinating color of Woolpak (for a second, modified Kristina) (boy, I'm link-happy today for some reason.) I also got a skein of the softest, yummiest mongolian cashmere, because Kyra was knitting a pair of socks from the same stuff & I fell completely in love with it.

SO, after that adventure, I went to Costco, did some shopping there for staples, and then did a little Thai Place takeout. There was a girl sitting at the bar, looking through the Sunday paper. She looked at me and said, "Do you go to the Thai Orchid, too?"
Uh...... I said, "Well, once in a while. I used to go a lot more often but since this opened in Westport, it's much closer to work."

"Well, I thought it was you. I used to waitress there. Red curry beef, right?"

I could only nod, stupefied. It's been several years since I went there with a lot of regularity. (Of course, red curry beef? That's what I was getting today....)

"And your friend? She always gets the Massaman Tofu."

"Oh, yes, yes, she did."

Hah! I'm not the only one with my addiction. Though I don't know if she meant my friend Liz or my friend Shelley, since that's what they both always got there, and they're both blonde.

There's something about staying in one place for a long time, though, that fosters being known places. Obviously, going to a restaurant 2x/week probably helps reinforce recognition. But it's kind of strange for me, so many connections with people who know the same people, something I see particularly at work. My boss, my friends, all the people who grew up here have that intertwined connectedness even more so. All I ever wanted to do was escape everyone knowing everybody else when I was growing up - after all, in a town of 721 people, the main form of entertainment is staying current on everyone else's business. Being the outsiders, we were like a Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes trainwreck worthy of weekly speculation and gossip. Now, I meet people who know other people I know, and it's kind of fun. Oddly enough, it doesn't bother me the way I thought it might. There's a sense of community in the connections, now. It doesn't feel invasive or oppressing. Come on, sing it with me:

Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody knows your name,
and they're always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows
Your name.

Yeah, I've become "Norm" at Thai Place & Thai House.
posted by PlazaJen, 4:13 PM | link |

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Pee Mail & Other Disasters

Tonight, I was leaving to go pick up pizza, and I spied a lady with her dog, walking up alongside the big telephone pole by the street. Her dog stopped and began dutifully sniffing, at the place we've dubbed "Pee Mail", ala Survivor's "Tree Mail" communications. That is our dogs' favorite place to sniff in the yard, and I'm sure there are stories and visitors and all kinds of things we simply can't detect. Thankfully. I thought it was funny & I rolled down the window to tell her that was "THE" spot in the neighborhood. So, she came over to the car, and I met her dog, Noah, who's a bruiser of a chocolate lab, super friendly and then suddenly his owner, who I learned is from Argentina, explaining her heavy accent, is being dragged through our garden island - because a cat is running through our front yard & Noah is going to catch it! Holy crap. I put the car in park, and looked back just in time to see Noah's owner fly face-first off the rock wall towards the pavement and drop the leash, letting Noah tear off into the dark.

Since our dogs have pulled this number numerous times, I wasn't too worried, assuming Noah would come back shortly (as it dawned on him the cat would not be caught), and I could even hear him in the next yard, snuffling around. Noah's owner did not feel the same way, and started wailing and shrieking, and wringing her hands. Unbeknownst to me, OUR dogs were also tuned in to all this drama from inside the house, barking & whatnot, so JWo opened the door to see what was going on and then we had BURF BURF BURF First Line Against Terror Reporting For Duty, SIR! surging around us! But I think it was good they came out because it zipped Noah right back to us, to check out "the ladies".... he only knew them through their "correspondence"..... Then the lady from Argentina told us her employment history, her street address & a good portion of her life story, and might have given us a key to her house if I hadn't pointed out JWo wasn't wearing any shoes & was obviously a bit cold on the pavement....and she collected her dog & went off to finish walking him.

Yes, we have some seriously bizarre Saturday nights, even if we just stay home.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:30 PM | link |

Friday, January 13, 2006

Eat It Like Beckham

Garsh. We had lunch today at the Taj Mahal (not to be confused with the Bob Mahal, my favorite name for the new building being built just to the south of our offices), and I had not been there in a couple of years. Mostly because I had a falling-out with a friend, and in some strange unspoken agreement, I got all the Thai restaurants & she got all the Indian restaurants. I wondered (worried) just a smidge as we got there today, if I would see her, and how I'd react. Since she wasn't there, the queasiness was replaced with voracious hunger for the Chicken Tiki Masala, as I had forgotten just how much I love that stuff. And the tamarind sauce. I want to smear it on my face.

Sigh. Yum. And now I'm in a coma.
posted by PlazaJen, 2:51 PM | link |

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I COULD'VE Led The Big Parade.....

I was never in band. The closest I ever came to playing a musical instrument includes the following items, which will slam the door shut on any supposition you might have had that I did, in fact, play in the band: Flutophone (a.k.a, the Recorder), an Autoharp (jammin!), a Harmonica, and a Fisher Price keyboard with pastel keys.

I can't read music, except for singing, sort of. I was in chorus, and what I lack in a beautiful voice is more than compensated for with my gusto and volume. I do quite well if the tenor section needs help, I'm definitely an alto....

I do recall composing a sad, dirge-like ditty about (bad timing, but sorry, it's true) miners on my Fisher Price keyboard, and performing this song for the entire fourth grade music class. I did not realize at the time that in performing my self-perceived talented & brilliant composure with its sad, sad, SAD words about how lonely it is in the mine, I had just exploded my final chances of EVER fitting in with my classmates. At least it wasn't on the autoharp.

So, I really liked, nay, LOVED, the flutophone. I adored when they arrived and Flutophone Music was all we did in music class. I can still smell and taste the blue liquid all the mouthpieces floated in, and the challenge was to get a good white flutophone with red trim. The black ones were simply not as glamorous. My father, perhaps hoping he was raising the next Zamfir and her Magic Pan Flute, noticed this enthusiasm, and bought me a wooden recorder. I would practice my warbling notes in the loft of the dome home. In between BONG HITS. (OK, just kidding, but seriously, I look back on the hilarity of all this, and the fact it was the 70's and I wore a lot of corduroy, come ON, it wasn't just ME, man....other people loved the flutophone, too! Right?)

Then came 5th grade. And the Musical Instrument Aptitude Test. We were given all these different mouthpieces to blow on and try - not connected to the rest of the instrument, and under the supervision of the music teacher, who then wrote down on a notecard what your destiny would be. I brought my little card home from school, and my father blanched. For I was most adept on the mouthpiece of? THE TROMBONE. My father called the music teacher. Was there anything else, anything AT ALL I would do well at. The flute? No. The clarinet? No. The violin? Nobody here knows how to play that, Mister, we can't teach it. I still can hear him saying, beseeching the teacher for a different solution: "Look. It's not like you can really go out on the hillside and play the trombone all by yourself! Isn't there SOMETHING else she could play?" I immediately visualized myself barefoot, in a field of clover, tooting and honking away on a giant trombone. Did you remember that I have short arms? (Not short arm syndrome, that's different.) Clover & trombones, all in all, it was not a pretty visualization. I knew when that line was uttered, I was not going in to band.

So my musical education stayed confined to chorus, all through high school, and some of our concerts and songs are still completely ingrained in my head. The solo at the 4th of July concert that required a brassy alto, to ham it up while singing - gee, guess who was picked for that spotlight? I was a shoo-in. I have always danced along in life to a different drummer - and I guess now you know it's a drummer who also can play a mean flutophone.

posted by PlazaJen, 6:47 AM | link |

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Move Over, Sylvia

So, yesterday, at the end of the day, I brought up the fact that it would be very challenging to actually put your head in an oven. Yes, I was feeling overwhelmed at the time, but not seriously contemplating the maneuver. Kristin countered that Sylvia Plath did it, as did a character in Hedwig & The Angry Inch. I say that unless you have a stove bolted to the floor, you would tip the oven over. And the whole thing would be a very uncomfortable way to go. The low bending, the sprawling, the delicate balance of keeping the stove from crashing on your head - after all, if you wanted to exit with crashing, you'd take on the fridge, or a vending machine. I mean, even a little non-fat person would make our oven tip over, it's simply a matter of physics, with the door acting like a lever! (Now, I better stop, because that's as far as my smacktalk about physics can go. I can reference Archimedes, and then, like George Costanza, my hands are up in the air and I'm outta there.)

I'm just saying. It would be incredibly awkard and uncomfortable, and once you got your head in there, hell, I'd start getting all OCD about the crap on the bottom of the stove, and I certainly wouldn't put my cheek on that, so I'd have to clean it, and then I'd be back out of the oven & living life to my fullest with my bright yellow gloves and a can of EasyOff. Hmmm. EasyOff. I wonder if that works on salespeople..... and how do I spray them through the phone....
posted by PlazaJen, 8:20 AM | link |

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Like the Von Trapps, But Not For Singing

We are in the throes of negotiating some buys for a potential new client. It is hilarious, to listen to each other. Some of my markets are northern - Sioux Falls, and Fargo - and I immediately revert to my old-school accent as soon as these people pick up the phone or call me. Oh, ya! You betcha! Oh, ok now. mMM Bye. (Did you know that Up North, 90% of the population ends their phone calls with "mmmMMBye"? Well, they do, and that is a statistic. I made it up, but I bet it's true.)

Kristin, on the other hand, gets up in the occasional grille of a stupid rep, and she just asked about getting into Smackdown, which immediately made me visualize her on the ropes. LEAPING.

And the Junior Buyer (aka, our boss?), he is a never-ending font of questions about the software and has "issues" with it. So yesterday, I told Kristin we'll be in a better place once the new person starts next week. Because the Junior Buyer is SLOWING US DOWN. Like the gazelle with the broken ankle.
posted by PlazaJen, 2:31 PM | link |

Dance, Dance

If you don't love the song "Dance, Dance" by Fallout Boy, then you can just click on "next blog" and move along. Because today, I dedicate my love to "Dance, Dance." Is it pop-esque? A little bit. It has enough blazing guitar and lack of syntheticness to keep it halfway under the alternative umbrella. (I would hate to lose my alternative music lover's card - I'm already on probation for the J.Lo and Beyonce songs from last summer...)

It's one of those songs that make you want to slam dance, or be in a dance troupe, doing a choreographed number at lightening speed. I find while listening to it in the car, as loud as possible without distortion, I become an air drummer. And a triple-time shoulder shimmier. People who see me? Must conclude I am having a seizure. Because I am! A SEIZURE OF HAPPINESS.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:17 AM | link |

Monday, January 09, 2006

Irrational Things

I have a feeling this could be an open-ended, ongoing blog - there are certainly more than three things that define my own peculiar brand of Crazy. It seems particularly appropriate for a Monday, so here you go. JenCrazy(tm) at its finest:

*I do not like to open those packages of dough that explode when you press a spoon along the line. I shut my eyes, turn my face, and behave as though I am opening a bottle of champagne that has been in the back of a pickup truck travelling across rutted gravel roads. Speaking of which, I also don't like opening champagne bottles.

*I do not like to open the small encapsulated pockets that contain cold medicine liquigels. I freak out if I have to tear them open, because I am certain my Herculean tearing will result in the gels bursting open and my medicine ending up sprayed, all over me. At a time when I am most likely to burst into tears from the misery and catastrophe. So, I use tiny manicure scissors to cut a "T"-shaped incision so I can free them. If I had a scalpel, I'd use that.

*I cannot stand the sound of plastic grocery bags being whipped around by wind, when you're in the car & the windows are down. Just typing this made me shudder & want to scream. Recent discovery? The film wrapping on dry cleaning sounds EXACTLY the same.

What're a couple choice oddities you possess?
posted by PlazaJen, 10:10 AM | link |

Sunday, January 08, 2006

LaFonda's Extreme Makeover

I spent three hours yesterday, cleaning out my Honda (LaFonda). It became abundantly clear why having your car detailed costs so much. I armor-all'd every vinyl surface & now I have a reflective glare on the windshield, it's so shiny. (I've wiped it down again.) I vacuumed, put upholstery cleaner on the carpets, vacuumed again, cleaned the windows, took out everything that wasn't necessary, cleaned out the trunk and behold! She's a new car all over again. I then spent the extra cash on the deluxe car wash for her, because after all, she deserved it.

As we were driving to Thai 2000 this afternoon, JWo praised the clean windshield: "It's HiDef Honda!" We stopped at Super Target (it truly is Super. Thanks for asking!) & I bought new car mats, because hard as it was to toss the factory-installed Civic mats, they were grungy. They just represent my negotiation skeelz, because I demanded they throw them in for free (It was an extra $100! For car mats! With embroidered Civic logo! Highway robbery.), but after 4 years, they needed to go. And, after spending three hours of quality time with our shop vac, there was no way I was going to revive them or bring them back to high-level of cleanliness LaFonda deserves. If I'd installed anything new or fancy, we could've called this blog, "Pimp my LaFonda", but that sounds, uh, kinda bad. I prefer "LaFonda: Now in HD".....
posted by PlazaJen, 5:20 PM | link |

Saturday, January 07, 2006

And The Stripes Are Vertical!

I have shown great success this past NFL season (yes, I know it's not over, but it is over for the Chiefs) in developing my ability to comment on the game, and I would like to take this moment to also state that I am an excellent judge of yardage. Might be all the knitting, might be me trying to find one area in which to excel, but I'm good.

So, last week, James was going to bed at 5:00 or something crazy, because he's practicing to be a dairy farmer when he retires (and he gets up at the crack o' dawn for the waterfowl hunting), and I'm standing by his side of the bed, getting more & more wound up talking about something. I end my statement with both arms straight up in the air by my head.

JWo: "So, now that you've shown me the referee's signal for a touchdown, show me what they do when the kick is no good."

I pause. I think. I wave my hands in front of me, crossing wrists.

JWo: "Very good! Now show me holding."

I think again. I know I know it. I give him this:

JWo: "Noooooo. What is that? THIS is holding." and he proceeds to show me, and I immediately go, "Oooooh, yeah, yeah, right."

(Correct Referee Signal:)

We're both laughing, and JWo says again, "What was THAT?" referring, of course to my incorrect signal.

I say, "Oh, it was holding. It was the 'Bein' HELD DOWN BY THE MAN' hand signal."

Needless to say, I'm setting the bar & getting ready for next year. Why, right here, I've discovered a transgression called the Illegal Crackback. How snappy is that? I think that could work in the office. Shut up! I'm not taking your call, I call Illegal Crackback on your ass. I see a lot of potential, integrating all this into daily life. Perhaps Kristin will learn Ref signals, too, and we can handle faux pas in meetings by, say, simply standing up & kicking the back of our foot (to indicate tripping). My problem is, she'll be calling me constantly on the Facemask. I'm grabby like that, and I don't always have good boundaries.
posted by PlazaJen, 12:06 AM | link |

Friday, January 06, 2006


I've mentioned before my cheap thrill of glibly lying to strangers in situations that harm no one, but amuse me greatly. Here's another one, starring many of the same characters.

Two days ago, Miss Kristin and I did our usual LunchAdventures! where we go eat something and then search for magical Life Solutions in the form of yarn, office supplies, or random things obtained at CostCo. This week, it was office supplies. I view office supplies as a way of getting closer to my personal, unattainable deity, Goddess of Organization. I firmly believe that having the right set of pens when the sun is in the fourth quadrant and you're born in the Year of the Monkey, you can Become Organized. I guess it's like Cleansing Your Thetan in the Church of Scientology, but pens? MUCH CHEAPER.

So we are standing at the altar (checkout) of Office Depot, and Kristin is in front of me, purchasing some pens (Salvation!) and an excitedly-discovered "My Chores" list complete with sparkling stickers. The checkout girl is literally checking her out. In both ways. I swore, she was SO friendly, I thought she was trying to swoop in and take advantage of the office supply frenzy & convert Kristin to Lesbetarianism and finally get that toaster oven. So, she's fawning all over the "My Chores" item, and talking talking talking, and I pipe up, "Is that for your niece, Denise?" and the very act of saying this takes me to that hilarious & awful place. You know the one, where you can barely breathe, your legs feel like they won't hold you up, and anything you try to say comes out in little wheezy gasps & tears are coming out the corners of your eyes? Kristin did not hear me, and turned and said, "What?" and that made me paralyzed AND frustrated, because I wanted to sustain the lie, to keep the niece Denise alive & waiting anxiously for her gift from Auntie K, because it would also keep the checkout girl in a forward-motion of continuing her efforts to lick Kristin's forehead.

Alas, my amusement at myself worked against me, and I couldn't speak until we got to the car. All I can say is, our niece Denise is lucky to have such thoughtful aunts & we will sure teach her about the Office Supply Religion.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:59 AM | link |

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Life in the Queue....

We are a Netflix home. And we absolutely love it. In fact, JWo has mentioned several times in the past week how he doesn't understand why anyone would even GO to the video store anymore. And I chuckle, because the notion of someone who, say, has more money than Midas and say, owned a whole bunch of video stores that might constitute a dying industry, amuuuuuses me greatly and that's all I'm going to say 'bout that. I digress.

I think the notion of a shared Netflix account, one where you don't ever really discuss the movies you're picking, you each just pick them & add to the list, and then at times reshuffle the Queue Order to launch things to the top? This is worthy of a psychology student's thesis on marriage. I am the first to admit that our 90+ list of movies, patiently waiting to come & visit us, are dominated by my picks. (That's what happens when you decide you must see Nip/Tuck, all seasons, and The Office, all seasons, and oh, looky! They have all the Prime Suspects, too! Those are all like, 5 discs for a season.) The account is in JWo's name & email, so he's the one who gets the updates on "movie returned" & "incoming movie", and when I open the little red square envelopes, it's always a surprise, because I don't pay a whole lot of attention to the Queue. I pick and mess around every couple of weeks, but it's not on my daily radar. I realize I can add my own email, and have my own Queue and blah blah blah, but quite frankly, I enjoy the surprise of it all. And sometimes, there are unexpected surprises, like tonight, when I opened the first envelope and saw we had moved "Devo: Live In The Land Of The Rising Sun" to the top of our Queue. What the hell???? Granted, I rolled my eyes when I saw "The Dukes of Hazzard" in our Queue, but I hadn't even seen this one on the list. This was an "Add and Accellerate" selection. Like buying that box of teddy grahams because they're 2 for $5 and they're right there in front of you on the endcap and by god, that sounds like a GOOD IDEA and we're gonna buy that Cool Whip right there, too, and dunk 'em. Dunk 'em. Dunk 'em good.

I had no idea I'd married a Devo fan. He called from backgammon tonight, just to chat - and I asked him, what was up with that movie? Apparently? JWo is a HUGE fan of the Devo. And now, I'm going to have to hide all my good bundt pans before he decides he needs to wear them around the house AS HATS.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:25 PM | link |

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

You Get What You Pay For...

I am a hybrid mix of loving a bargain, and spending money on things I don't need. Not that those are mutually exclusive, but all the same, if I'm going shopping, I love a deal. Conversely, I also hate buying things I know will be on sale, like holiday gift tags for $0.99 before Christmas, and in two days will be $0.49. Or anything at Hobby Lobby that isn't already on sale, because eventually, it will be half off.

So this is why I never buy calendars until after the start of the new year. I know they will be marked down by 50%, and I can muddle through a couple of days without a calendar. The only hitch is that if you want your calendar to perfectly express who you are, you are throwing the dice with this shopping maneuver.

Over lunch, I ran up to Half Price Books, and was a little worried at first. I thought they only had two rotating displays of calendars, and the selection? Scary. The first one was dominated with kitten calendars. Mmm. Works for the cat lovers, but for me? Not so much. I found a Gustav Klimt calendar and snatched it up. On the next display (and by now I saw there were more stands, spaced apart), I was horrified by large drooling GOBLINS! Goblin calendars! Oh yes! And Camelot! And Bible songs, and Outhouses. This calendar industry sure does find their niche groups, hm? Well, where's my Kittens in Goblin Suits planner, hm? I settled on a Christopher Marley insect art calendar for home, because there were no black labrador retriever calendars to be found, and then randomly found a knitting calendar, complete with patterns, plus a dog desk calendar, and then the store gave me a free calendar, so I'm now up to my gills in calendars.

None of which (except the knitting) are really speaking for me? But hey. They were allllll half price. And I know, at some point, I'll go back out and find & buy the day-by-day Get Fuzzy calendar. Even if it's not on sale.... (but it better be.)
posted by PlazaJen, 1:56 PM | link |

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Freshly Scrubbed

Like a new pair of sneakers
Gleaming white, never worn
A new year before us
Ours to tend, ours to shape

We silently whisper
Promises and goals
Ideas to be hatched
Dreams to be followed

By springtime, we discover
Life is not kind
Mud puddles and scuffs
Shoelaces break

Sandals replace
Our footwear, come summer
By fall, our sneakers
Are in a pile by the door

Whatever you dream,
Whatever you whisper
To yourself in the dark
At the start of the year

Be kind and realistic,
Take each day as its own.
Our journey is Life
Built upon each single day

Not on a paper with boxes
And numbers, and letters
Or sneakers
Or dreams.

Just on placing each foot
In front of the other
With direction and focus
The journey is ours

Laughter and love,
Peace and good health.
Dreams come to fruition
Is my wish for you.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:18 AM | link |