PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ice! Snow! ACTION!

Well, the Wo didn't have to work today - every school is closed here - and now the local weatherfolk are jumping around and slapping their knees because right behind this big rain/ice/frigid temp front is a large snowstorm, and while the general consensus is that we'll get 4-6", the fact that just south of here is in line to get 12-18", well, these broadcasters can barely keep their clothes on.

Sadly, there was no "non-essential workers should stay home" decree. Maybe it'll come tomorrow. The one time in my life where I rejoice in being non-essential. So many sirens singing, "Stay home! Stay home!".... we have a freshly roasted turkey in the house. And bad weather makes me want to bake bread. And the Da Vinci Code arrived from Netflix yesterday, delivered by an essential worker, of course. And all the knitting..... sigh. Guess I better go get my shower & begin my "estimate double the time" commute.....
posted by PlazaJen, 6:49 AM | link |

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Going Insane With The Clicking.....

My dear friend Ashley had her baby yesterday - li'l Mather - and I have been anxiously awaiting his picture to appear on the hospital website. Since it seemed, yesterday, that they were a couple days behind on the birth-to-web-debut ratio, I instead amused myself by looking at other babies, and how if you clicked "next picture" really fast, you got something of a flip-book cartoon. One li'l munchkin did some gigantic arm movements in his photos, which cracked me up, probably due in part to the fact that his name was "Thurston" and he was wearing a hippie tie-dyed onesie.

So this morning, apparently they got up the pictures of another baby born on the same day, and I have not been able to stop hitting "refresh" all day, to get my first glimpse of Mather and yes, I will also click "next picture" fast to make him boogie on-screen. The frustration and OCD behavior has been compounded by the fact our internet is back to its old tricks (must be because it's RAINING. I can't explain it in any other satisfying way.) So pages intermittently load, don't load, freeze, produce error messages, and then work just fine, and for instance, just now? Stopped showing my typing. So I just lost two sentences. Hm. Yes, internet, you are one cruel bitch here at the office.

In other news, the local weathercasters are wetting their pants with this big front rolling through. I swear, half the accidents that happen are probably caused by the fear & near-hysteria created by the talking heads, screeching about Death! Doom! Snow! Ice! Arctic Temps! It's like we never met Winter before, ever, and we have been told it's The Devil in disguise. I must say, I don't necessarily miss the winters of Minneapolis? But the Drama! over the weather getting cold seems to be a few notches up on the great ratchet of excitement in the local weathercasters' world.

However. All of that aside, everyone, including me, has the right to get completely in a lather over Ice. I hate ice. And we sure seem to have a greater propensity for it in this town. Ice IS the Devil. But for now, I'm just going to keep clicking and waiting for Mather to show up. (It's my own personal Waiting for Godot.)
posted by PlazaJen, 12:57 PM | link |

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Apparently I'm Going To Have To Get Out & Push The Earth So We Have Sunshine And Nighttime.

I have spent my morning in not one, but TWO Battle Royales. The first with the cable company, who can sink to the bottom of the ocean with a two-ton anchor weight around their neck for all I care, I'll be on the Lido deck with a bloody mary & some canapes. The second battle was with our friends at the pharmacy who have dicked me around on a prescription for a week & a half, and I've driven out there not once, NOT twice, but FEE TINES a Mady, and while Bu-wheat Sings, I am ready to fiddle while their fucking store burns to the ground. (just kidding!) I have 100% faith in the nurse at my doctor's office, but am a little concerned that they couldn't find my chart. Perhaps I no longer exist. My ability to publish this blog will prove that theory wrong. So I got to work and told Kristin that apparently, it's my job today to rotate the fucking earth so we get a daytime, nighttime, and general progression of time.

On an upnote, I did have a serious chuckle at the idea of buying James' 17-year old cousin a "junior accordian" from Target. Because nothing says teenage angst like wailing away on the accordian..... I may take it up myself if this day doesn't improve!

posted by PlazaJen, 10:02 AM | link |

Monday, November 27, 2006

Kickin' Donkey A$$....

So, we went to the Chiefs game on Thanksgiving night, and it was CAH-RAY-ZHAY. Throngs upong throngs of insane drunken Chiefs fans, and the sporadic Denver fan every so often. We wisely took the bus, which meant not only an assertive drive into the stadium area, but also that we wouldn't be stuck parking out in lot "N", which I told JWo stood for "Nowhere Fuckin' NEAR the Stadium".....

Chiefs entering Arrowhead:

We didn't know our seats would be next to one of the biggest superfans you could ever ask to know: Bill. To say Bill is an enthusiastic Chiefs fan is like saying, "Yeah, butter's..... ok on fresh warm bread from the oven...." Bill is a screaming, bellowing dynamo of a fan. Which we quickly learned. Bill believes in high-fives. After every. Single. Play. that can be interepreted as good for KC. Every Play. The rotund white people that we are, clueless and gosh, golly, just darned excited to be here, it took us a few rounds of oh, yeah, um, HEY! Slap! to pick up on the fact this high-fiving had no end. I insisted we get a picture. He was hilarious, and nice as pie. And did I mention, enthusiastic?

The halftime show - yes, we had a SHOW! - was John Fogarty, and he played a medley. It was kind of funny to watch all the activity of getting everything set up on the field, like our own little mini-Super Bowl. Complete with pyrotechnics!

And, in case you didn't know, I'm not especially tall. So I had to laugh when I saw the title JWo gave this pic: JenIsShort. (But, I'm also enthusiastic!!!! Not quite as much as Bill, but still. I had a hand-knit, hand-felted hat! More on that pattern to come.....) Of course, because it was so unseasonably warm, I could only wear the hat in spurts. But I spent way more time on my tiptoes, cheering, than sitting.... and we won! HIGH FIVES!

posted by PlazaJen, 1:31 PM | link |

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Well, we've got a super-busy, fun-filled day ahead of us - noontime feast at our dear friend Roger's, with his family & other friends, and then we're off to the Chiefs game at Arrowhead, where we are fervently hoping we stomp the Broncos! The game is airing on the NFL Network, and our local Fox affiliate; if you see me in my new hand-knit felted Chiefs-colors top hat, let me know! (I'm rather proud of my new hat.) I will get a picture up of me in my new hat soon.

I'm not going to get all goopy & traditional, and list off everything I'm thankful for, because I feel that list pretty much every day. I'm sad every day, but for the first time last night, I dreamt of my dad and it wasn't sad. I miss him, and I always will. I look at these new permanent feelings and I know that in years, they will be worn a bit more smooth, they will slide around and together in my pocket, they will not prick with a savage dagger so sharply. I simultaneously appreciate and hate my wisdom rocks.

So yes, I said I wasn't going to make a list, but I am thankful for JWo, and the laughter and the love we share. We had his mom over for dinner last night & taught her how to make her own sushi rolls - we did real crab meat & gourd, and smoked salmon & cream cheese - and stuffed ourselves. (You know, sort of like training, for today.) There were a few slices left, and we gave the dogs a treat..... we broke all the house rules for the sake of priceless photos.....


Polly's pretty delicate in how she takes food from you, so watching her eat from chopsticks was hilarious. She was a little nervous, because she's never sat in a chair before.




"Um, hey. Hey? Hey, guys, I'm down here....."

(Don't worry, Suzy got her sushi, too....)

May all YOUR dreams come true & enjoy the day.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:47 AM | link |

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I Can't See The Mania Because My Eyes Are Burning.

Today was a debacle beyond my control. The construction upstairs moved to the next step, which was installing carpet. Remember how I mentioned these dudes were more knowledgeable in the realm of vinyl? Well, they apparently didn't believe in the strong religion of "Ventilation", and when we got to work this morning, the entire office smelled as though a thousand of Santa's Little Helpers had been furiously building airplane models all night. Eye-scorching, lung-searing glue fumes. Fortunately, my boss & I had a meeting off-site, and that was followed by a lunch. The rest of our team vamoosed out of there, met back up for lunch, and then we went back to the office, which was better, but the longer you sat there, the more your eyes burned & your chest tightened. I'm starting to think my personal stupor was directly related.

I went to Lowe's tonight, and picked up everything on my list - including metal epoxy, and stain. So of course, because I'm being kinda crazy and hyper and project-focused, I had to do my small Junior Shop Projects, and I think the net result is that my brain is tired of being subjected to chemicals entering my bloodstream through my nasal passages. All I keep visualizing is the image of Spike Lee in "Crooklyn", where he gave himself a small part as a glue-sniffer. If it's not better tomorrow, I'll be detoxing in Hazelden for the Holidays......
posted by PlazaJen, 7:57 PM | link |

Monday, November 20, 2006

This is the point at which I succumb and go completely mad......

......there is some renovation/construction shit going on upstairs - recall the glue fumes from last week? Well, those people got yelled at to stop with the chemical potions, so they started pouring buckets of water on the carpet to pull it up, and that resulted in ah, yes, water coming through our ceilings. (The funny quote from that: "Well, we are used to vinyl, mostly. We've never really done this carpet thing before." Rilly? You don't say.) Today, they are scrubbing and sanding and scraping and chiseling at the uncarpeted floors, and it sounds like we are inside a giant, erratic washing machine. Add to that unpleasant environment the fact that I drank part of an Airborne fizzy before it had completely unfizzed itself into liquid and it got stuck in my throat and I thought I was going to be the next urban legend, right next to Mikey and his Pop Rocks. In total, I am ready to GO HOME. I have my headphones on and it means I can't concentrate very well, because I have to have the music so loud to drown out the whump-whump-scrape-scrape-scrape from above. Don't even get me started on the construction outside - it feels like a video game, where the reward for navigating it all is that you get to stay alive.

I have to end this because I have to follow up on something that is three jobs removed from my actual scope of responsibility. I'm sure they will see me coming, what with the black cloud over my head. I gnash my teeth! Hear the clicking and grinding! Except you can't! Because of all the noise!
posted by PlazaJen, 2:05 PM | link |

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Breaking News: I'm Weird!

Miss Julie tagged me for this meme.....of course it's going to be a challenge to narrow down the list to just FIVE things, but hey, I'm willing to try.

The Guidelines: List 5 weird things about yourself or your pets. Tag 5 friends and list them. Then, those people need to write on their blogs about 5 weird things, and state the rules, and tag 5 more people. Don't forget to let the people you tag know by posting a comment on their blog!

1. I enjoy eating bouillon cubes. Straight up. I gnaw at them like a tiny salt lick. Before you freak out, I don't eat them every day. And, they have to be fresh/super dry. This is one of those weirdo-beardo things you did as a kid, and every so often have to revel in.

2. Here's something weird-ish about Polly: she spazzes out if she has water on her head. Not like if she's been swimming, but out in the rain or something. Once she's back inside, she gets on her pillow and rubs her head all over the place, eventually drying off her whole back that way. It's hilarious to watch.

3. If something gets broken, or no longer works, or has something wrong with it, I have to either fix it immediately (see: Murano, rear wiper!), order a replacement, or throw it away and try to purge it from my memory. It honestly feels like the balance of the universe is off to simply do nothing. It flips me out just thinking about making that choice.

4. I looooove ketchup on my scrambled eggs. My dad taught me to eat 'em that way. Mm. I may have just answered the breakfast question right there.

5. When I'm outside, I see most of nature & landscapes as potential compositions. This is a result of the umpteen hours spent as a studio art major, picking the spot where you wanted to sketch. Maybe why now I like snapping pictures - it's much faster for me. It's hard to explain it, because obviously not everything is sketch-worthy, but when I am at that point and I see it, where a group of tree trunks create interesting negative space, or the lines of the earth meet the sky, I feel the "click" inside, that says, "this is where you should take a picture, or draw this." I miss the leisurely days where I could spend 4 hours painting on a sheet of Plexiglas to make one monoprint, you wouldn't even know what you were ending up with until that wonderful hold-your-breath moment, when the paper pulled away from the plate.

Ok, tag, you're it! Kristin, Kyra, Bekah, Shanny, and Laura, who most recently posted about weird dreams, so I know she can do this meme. ;) Y'all feel free to steal it & tag away!

Happy weekend!
posted by PlazaJen, 8:59 AM | link |

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Coffee With Dante

So, I was thinking about all those Circles of Hell, and what mine would consist of. Obviously the first one would have bad drivers and terrible customer service. The next one would be filled with all the stupid bosses, managers, and random idiots I've encountered along the way. The third one in would be filled with scratchy Red Heart yarn, and if there were any good yarns, they'd all be hopelessly tangled.

And this week, I am pretty sure that one of those next circles involves newspapers, and ad-buying, and sales reps. This one's going to take a little bit to explain, if you're not in the ad-agency game, so get yourself a hot cup of coffee & enjoy the tour.

Let me first state for the record that I do not hate newspapers. We subscribe to the Star, and even if we only read the funnies some days, we recycle. But my experience with newspaper sales is a long one. I worked for the college newspaper, both in ad sales and ad layout, and then my first job at an ad agency involved working on two major national accounts with local retail locations, and we had to compile local media options for all of them. I've literally called hundreds and hundreds of newspapers over the years, and early on, I asserted that if I ever had a frontal lobotomy, I'd still be able to get a job at one of those papers. I'm not talking about calling major papers. Even minor papers. I'm talking about those tiny little, teensy-weensy local newspapers, where the advertising person also writes a few articles, and drives out a paper if your delivery was missed. And not all of those people are terrible, or stupid, or have had frontal lobotomies, but I just recall looming deadlines of my own, a form I needed to fill out, and the agonizing conversations to determine whether the ad rate I was being given was net or gross.

The other thing about small-town newspapers is that sometimes you stumble into a "group". Where one company publishes twelve small papers. Sometimes these are the ones flung onto your driveway, the ones you don't want. But sometimes you still have to buy them. And trying to figure out how much these things cost can be tantamount to solving the most challenging logic problem I was ever given in college. Because they have combination rates, and frequency discounts, and then separate color charges, and everything's printed on a tiny brochure and nothing is clearly stated. And that's what I've spent part of my week wrestling with. I've sent the sales rep countless emails, to clarify if I'm calculating this correctly. Jesus, I'm boring myself now. Suffice it to say, it's been a week of yelling at my monitor, groaning, and being very, very frustrated, and feeling quite convinced that I'm temporarily visiting one of my rings of hell.

UPDATED: Oh, mah, God. I got to work, and within the hour, this rep emailed me for my address, phone, fax, etc. All of this information is in my signature, that has accompanied the SEVEN+ emails I've sent him in the past two days. Seriously. If I ever meet him, I expect a concave forehead. HAH he just emailed back and said "I guess I'm just brain-dead."

I'd drink more coffee as a coping mechanism, but our stupid coffee machine is broken. They "fixed" it yesterday. This machine is taking on the same qualities as the fax machine in "Office Space". I want to take it to a field and beat it with a baseball bat. Apparently when you lose your job at the newspaper, you move on to Coffee Machine Repair.

So, what would one of your Circles of Hell look like?
posted by PlazaJen, 6:50 AM | link |

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

With A Little Gin, It Might Be OK.

I'm having a rotten day! Except for lunch. Lunch was delightful, except for the crying, but that passed quickly. Kristin & I went to the New York Deli, and the men behind the counter treated us like princesses. Sometimes I think it's in part because I'm wearing my Liza Minelli CruiseWear tunic top and it shows a lot of cleavage. All of that aside, I had the best corned beef ever, and a macaroon. So that was nice. But it's been a devil of a day, and I've got a candle burning, just to sortof offset the noxious toxic fumes that are seeping down into our offices from the remodeling going on upstairs, it's mostly the heady smell of glue that has us all slightly nauseous and headachey. And our roof is leaking, so I think somebody made a boo-boo.

In my dazed state, I keep correcting myself as I reach for my water, because my candle's sitting on my coaster, and I can just see myself trying to drink hot wax and figuring it out a split-second too late. (Yeah, just like the Murano-backing-up episode.)

I suppose if I had gin in my mouth, I'd set myself on fire, though. At least I'd get to go home, where it doesn't smell like glue and there aren't buckets on the floor. I swear. Liza Minelli never had to work under these conditions.
posted by PlazaJen, 3:15 PM | link |

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ripped From The Headlines....

I get "US" magazine at work, and two weeks in a row have been mightily amused by the lesser-story headlines that are still making the covers:

"Anna Nicole Smith: Her Secret Grief"
Ah, yes, so secret, this grief. Secretive and private, right there under her bleary-faced pic on the cover of US magazine! And wasn't she just on Access Hollywood, too? Let me tell you, "secret" and "private" are not words this woman evokes when I think of her.

And this past issue's chuckle: "Nicole (Richie) Gains 10 Pounds"
Sweet jesus. Do we still care? How can you even tell? The woman looks like a boiled chicken. She obviously has issues, and stalking her anorexic ass everywhere isn't going to make her start eating Cheetos. (Maybe she needs to pal around with Britney, who dominates the cover!) Granted, who am I to point fingers at the skinny - you've never been able to clearly identify all the ridges and bones in MY sternum, so from an anatomy textbook perspective, she's a walking teaching model for budding doctors everywhere. But really, are an estimated 10# :that: gossip-worthy?

Oh, and one final thing. Bubble skirts. They're stupid. STOO-PID. If they make Molly Sims look like she's wearing an artfully-gathered potato sack (Hi, Frumpy!), how are they going to work on the average Jane? Jesus, I'd look like a frickin' hot-air balloon crashing into the ground. Or an upside-down Jiffy-Pop bag.

That is all. End of ranting at the stupid. For the next ten minutes, anyway.
posted by PlazaJen, 2:17 PM | link |

Monday, November 13, 2006

Don't You Just Love....

..... Those "Oh FUCK" moments? I had one of those this afternoon, when I broke from my usual routine of how I get out of the garage (hit the inside button, get in car, back out) and instead decided to get in the car, use the remote, and then back out. Too quickly. And who uses the frickin' rearview camera when you back straight out, no kids around? NOT ME. The door was alllllmost all the way up when I hit it (a horrible, horrible sound, btw), so I just smashed the rear windshield wiper. Right off. ARGH. I SCOWLINGLY drove straight to the dealer, (I'm still amazed how the ginormous dark cloud over my head fit inside that generous roomy interior with me) and they ordered a replacement arm - it's $30, so it could have been way worse, but it totally derailed my plans - I skipped the post office, got my sandwich to go, foregoing my sit-alone-eat-and-read-a-book plans, and I just went straight back home. It seemed like I'd tempted the fates a little too much by NOT destroying the back end of the car, or the garage, for that matter, and so back to home base I went. And then I thought about my friend who took on a concrete pole, and another friend (who happens to be married to me) who did the exact same thing, and thought, ok, I'm lucky, it's ok, but it still took a long time to shut off the Oh FUCK gnome in my head (he's the one with the megaphone).
posted by PlazaJen, 9:28 PM | link |

Sunday, November 12, 2006


The Grief thing, it is eternal. It ebbs, it flows. It sits way in the back of the classroom, then one day it's front & center, waving wildly. I am bracing myself for the holidays, not that I spent a lot of them with my father in the past 20 years, but more for the Norman-Rockwellian nostalgia that assaults us all this time of year. For all my bracing, and thinking, and therapy, and good ol' cognitive work, there are Unexpected Moments, that seem to come from nowhere, that take me by surprise.

I was in a terrific mood this morning. I'd spent most of yesterday in a trance, knitting furiously, cleaning the garage, doing "stuff", and while I never felt that I was actively thinking about anything in particular, I could feel myself zoning out. So when I started to get ready to run to the store this morning, I felt like I was snapping back in to place. There was great music on the radio, I was shimmying and singing along, and then - blam - as I stepped out of the shower, great wrenching sobs. It happened, I suppose, because I was thinking about my dog, Polly. And how she would have stayed in Agnes' kennel this weekend, and how I'd checked to make sure there was still a top on that kennel, because the doghouse would've given Polly a great launching pad to jump/climb right on out. And I saw my Dad's face. How I'd have imagined he looked that day, the first time he saw Aggie sail by the kitchen window, or into his workshop, out of her kennel from her own industriousness and problem-solving. And the mixture of chagrin and pleasure, irritation and delight, that he had a smart dog, despite having done something wrong. Perhaps I saw it enough as a kid, when he'd look at me with those same conflicting feelings. But I saw his squint, his head tilt, and then the flashbulbs began. It's hard to explain, to describe it, our brains have such complexity as they send images and memories and signals. But in these times of utter grief, without an "event" or clear correlation, it feels like the old instamatic flash cubes, the FlipFlash, bursting with light and crackling into shattered opacity.
I saw the hospice nurse, holding his wrist, pronouncing he was gone. I felt James' hand on my shoulder, I felt Dad's hand in mine. I see the nurse so clearly, her brown hair, her glasses.
I heard his voice on the phone, as we laughed about some smart ass comment I'd made.
I saw his old red down jacket.
I heard that sound, his expression of amusement, as his mouth opened and his lips pulled back and I can't describe it but it sits on the tape in my mind, one of my favorite things to hear, because it meant he thought something was funny, and he was smiling.
I thought I heard his voice on my drive Friday, after Brenda called me again to say the weather'd gotten worse, and before I called James to check the roads. I heard him say, "This isn't a good idea", as though he'd said it on the phone. I know it was my own mind, cautioning me, taking his voice because he was the wisest person I ever knew.

Like flashcubes, these moments burn bright and then they are gone. The gut-wrenching pain and sobbing subsides. I know it gets easier, I do. My puzzle-loving brain still wants, sometimes, to pick up my grief, and figure out how to undo it all. To make him alive, to erase everything that happened. But I can't. Just like I can't make the spent bulb flash anew.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:56 AM | link |

Friday, November 10, 2006

Well, That Didn't Work.

We knew the weather could be a factor in this excursion, and my step-mother called me a couple of times with updates - each one making me more concerned. So I called the Wo & had him investigate road conditions, and it turns out the highway that I take for about 2.5 hours was designated as "ice/snow/slush-covered" at only 10:30 a.m. with temps dropping and more precip on the way. So, I got off on the next exit & turned around and came home. Which meant I drove through the blinding rainstorm (and construction zones) twice! I'm pretty tuckered out, and disappointed the weekend didn't go as planned, but there will be another time, and there was no need to risk my safety. Polly had a grand snooze - she is a good traveller, as long as we don't stop. When we stop, she barks at people because she's nervous and not sure what's happening next. And whatever it is, they better think twice about taking her on. Because she is FIERCE. And all the new stuff she got for her first big road trip? Have been re-labeled "burf-day presents", and she's delighting in her new big chewie nylabone, and "Sheep on the Lamb" canvas toy. I'm going to go crawl under Lizard Ridge & get caught up with the DVR!
posted by PlazaJen, 4:32 PM | link |

File Under "Speed Blogging"

I am completely blaming my father today. I am so, so late for leaving on my road trip, and as I caught myself PUTTERING I remembered how he would just be getting in the shower when the Christmas pageant was about to start, thinking we'd time it so I'd get there just in time for my class' participation. However, I could go on and on about this, but that would make me later.
I had to blog this, super fast, because you-all need to fall over. Right over. Topple. Kerblam.
May I present: Lizard Ridge.


I love, love, love, love, love it. I did the entire border as directed, in dark purple Cascade 220. This is one of those projects that the moment I saw it on, I just knew I had to make it. A lovely pattern, a lovely yarn, and now, a lovely afghan. I will be under it all winter. Because we keep the thermostat at 63'. So really, all that Noro? A cost-saving, energy-conserving investment. Mmm-hm!

Have a great weekend everybody.... and with the big cold front moving through - stay warm!
posted by PlazaJen, 10:03 AM | link |

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Letters To Self

Three months ago, I attended the last session in a five-part series through Kansas City Hospice. It was a structured group designed to address the first year of grieving. On that last day, we wrote ourselves letters, and I made a mental note to brace myself to see my own handwriting in the pile of mail around early November.

Well, the letter came on Tuesday, but that was book club night, so I didn't open it. Last night, I paused, picked it up, and then set it back down. My headache didn't really fade until close to bedtime & I slept for over ten hours. This morning, I told myself I'd open it, and got all the way out to the car before I realized I'd left it inside. I waited for the alarm to set itself, and then went back in. Re-set the alarm, back out to the car. Sat in my car, and read the words I'd written to myself. Purple ink on pink paper, too. And I cried, but it was a mixture of emotions - I'm sad, I was surprised to see that indeed, I had made some progress (here were also things I hadn't yet done), and I was shocked by my own wisdom and perspective. Because I wrote the letter, honestly, as if I were a parent writing to a child, with my hopes for myself, and with humor, and with love. One thing I'd hoped for myself did come true - I'd hoped to be less angry, less desiring of punching things. Anger has been replaced with sadness, which I suspect will take a lot longer to fade, and ultimately will never leave me.

I think everyone who goes through a major life upheaval should do this very same thing - and give the letter (all set to go - stamped & addressed) to a trusted friend. There's something very different about opening a letter than re-reading a blog entry, or flipping through a journal. At least it was for me. I won't write it all again here (some of it is just between me & me ;) ), but here are a couple of paragraphs that resonated.

Dear Jennifer,

This has been a rough summer for you, and hopefully things have gotten a little easier. I hope that you've been able to write about some of your favorite "Dad" memories - and that it feels OK, maybe even good. {note - haven't quite done this one yet!} I want you to remember him, every day, even if it's in a joke or a smirk or an angry political reaction - he's living on inside you and it's ok to remember the good times.

Remember to tell all those friends, family & your husband that you love them. Thank them again for all that they did & continue to do. Remember how much your dad loved you - it never leaves you. You will always be his princess, his Fergendorfer, his little girl.

Start looking at the types of grasses you & James will plant in your memorial garden next Spring. Make sure you still know where those Suburban gift cards are. {this made me laugh}

Don't worry. As he said in his last true conversation with you: it will all be OK.

It will. {this made me cry, both sad tears and joy tears.}

posted by PlazaJen, 10:46 AM | link |

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Winning Hangover

I have a semi-splitting headache today, and no discernable cause. (I'm well-hydrated, caffeinnated, got enough sleep, haven't missed a meal since 1983....) The only thing notable today is that I woke up & discovered that for the first time in a LONG time of my voting life, I was able to say, "I'm a winner!" (Technically, I'm on the winning "side", and some of my issue votes passed, too.) I've contained the grandstanding because in our house, when one person wins, the other loses. And it's the same way at work. So I just expelled it at those fuckers down the street with their yard signs and from the comfort & privacy of Mimi, said, "LoooOOO-Hooo-Hoooo-OOO-Hooo-ZAHHHHHH" in their general direction as I drove to work.

In all the election drama, and getting ready to host bookclub, I completely forgot a birthday. Miss Polly. Yesterday, she was Three. Three years old! My li'l girl! She's overdue for a dental chew, so I'll give her a big one tonight & we'll have hugs, and I know she'll forgive the oversight.... Hopefully I'll also finish the Lizard Ridge border & have Final Pictures to share! (I'm doing the full-blown border with scallops on it - it gives it so much more stability & really pulls the whole thing together.) In the meantime, I'm drinking copious amounts of water and pushing the vision of leaving work & going home to nap out of my far, unsuccessfully....
posted by PlazaJen, 2:19 PM | link |

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Happy Election Day!

Our big boss left for Arizona & will be gone through the end of the year, so I asked MY boss if we could party today. No go.

We hit the elections at 6:30 a.m., and still had to wait in line. Apparently people with last names beginning with "A-I" don't get up early. We waited in the "Everybody Else" line, and I got handed a ballot with the stern instruction to make sure the circles are completely filled in or they won't count. WTF? Are we still voting in the way I used to take the Iowa Basic Skills tests? Jesus. Soooo, I turn around and see the one electronic voting machine open, and ask to use that. This discombobulates the lady manning the voting bin, and they had to get another person to run it (they have to insert a card.) Sweet cheeks. I have held up the Everybody Else line process now. What the hell? So I get started & I hear the Wo state that he'll use the machine after me. And THEN! I hear the one discombobulated lady tell him that the electronic machine is primarily for the handicapped and disabled. Greeat. I do a quick scan to make sure I haven't muscled my way past any crippled early-risers to get to the machine. WTF? I mean, yeah, I read the little flyer and noticed that I could put an object in my mouth and use the touch screen that way, but nothing about it said "For the Disabled". And hello - it's a computer-based world, and I'm not going to worry about my coloring skeelz at 6:45 in the mo'nin'. (Bubb Rubb made me say it like that. And I'm not much on political correctedness on my blog. Especially when there's stupidity abound.) I cast my votes, and then got out of the way so the Wo could pretty much cancel me out. (We agree on most of the issues, at least!) I think there should be a standardized voting process from a machine standpoint. Did we learn nothing from Florida?

So, after today, we'll get a respite from all the mudslinging ads, and yard signs. The anti-choice, anti-stem cell, pro-Jim-Talent people on my street put all their yard refuse out in two huge bags - open at the top, and as I drove by on my way to work, I thought, "hm. I could just swerve.... and topple them over.... and they would knock down their yard signs.... hmm...." But I didn't. Freedom of Speech and all, and, let's be honest, the fear of being arrested.

Get out and vote! Completely unrelated, but because I LOVE this picture, here's a neat shot the Wo took of Suzy retrieving a duck this past weekend:

If she could run for office, I bet her platform would be "Moar Fud and Treets 4 Dogz Evvywere". Now, that's a yard sign I could get behind.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:07 AM | link |

Monday, November 06, 2006

My Strange Little Piece of the World

My direct phone number (and address) at work has somehow gotten listed as a residential number. So, I used to get phone calls trying to sell me things, and for a while I got pizza coupons. (bonus!) When I came in this weekend, I had pre-recorded messages from various election folk, begging me to vote for them. This afternoon, I grabbed a call and after I said "This is Jennifer", I heard a woman say, "Obviously your feet ain't botherin' ya that much." Hm. I don't want to impose my Midwestern Nice Standards, but I've even travelled a little bit, and I have yet to hear that sort of greeting condoned in any part of the country. I said, "What do you mean, my feet?" as I began to suspect this was yet another telemarketer with a list in front of her. (At this point, the two people in my office are looking at me like I've gone crazy. I won't say they're wrong, but we can't attribute it to that phone call.) Over the phone line, I heard far-off laughing and more silence, so I went back to the good old standard, "HELLO?" and that woke up my telemarketer who immediately asked me to vote yes for the soccer stadium tomorrow. Never mind, sweetie, you're calling Missouri, not Kansas. I can't vote on it. And I'm at work, so no cally here no more. And my feet? They are just fine.

I'm ready to go home. Home to my Wo, and our dogs, and I'm not answering the phone unless I recognize the number.
posted by PlazaJen, 4:08 PM | link |


I've got me the Monday Blahs. I started to write a post about the stench left behind by our resident homeless person in our work garage stairwell, and I sounded like a cake-eating Republican beyotch. On the eve of the election, I'm not cruel enough to give my husband that kind of hope. Heh. ;)

I had a ramshackle, busy weekend. I shopped with my friend Roger for 7.5 hours on Saturday. Yes, that's a whole billable day of work! I was correct in thinking, Crate & Barrel can't be THAT bad - there can't possibly be 1,200 people there! (like there were that Wednesday night from hell.) There were maybe 400. And waiting in line wasn't so bad. I didn't get much, Roger did. We had to put the seats down! :) Then we went to Pottery Barn, he ran in to Williams Sonoma, we ate lunch, and then trucked around NE Furniture Mart (the devil's playground). Grabbed a cone at Sheridan's - and then went to Super Target. I get tired just remembering it all. But I did finally find the buffet/hutch I've been seeking for so long. And it was on sale. But they have to special order it, so who knows when it will actually get here. However, like a wise person, I learned from the couch incident & paid for delivery. Delivery=Good. I believe my hubby will agree. :)

Went to brunch on Sunday & then watched the Chiefs reclaim the Governor's cup - woohoo! I also got Lizard Ridge completely put together! I'm working on the crochet border, and will get pics up soon. It's absolutely stunning. I nearly fell over. I'm sure once the border's done, I'll be on the floor. Or else it's just all this racing around project-stuff catching up with me! I have to host our book club tomorrow night, so tonight's crazy for cleaning (and that is SO not how I spend Monday nights), and I'm going to Iowa this weekend - so I don't know when exactly things are going to let up. Given the proximity to the holidays, I expect around January. Oh well, I'll be knitting my way through it all. Next on the needles: another Vintage Velvet scarf in deep mallard blue Touch Me, and then a sweater or two. I have so many projects just begging to move up the priority list.... there's another thing I need to do, finish organizing all my yarn. OK. I'm just going to lie down on the floor right now. Overwhelmedness, thou art my new friend!
posted by PlazaJen, 2:17 PM | link |

Friday, November 03, 2006

Let's Wrap It Up & Call It A Week, Shall We?

I'm not kidding. This week has three weeks crammed into it. Maybe even four.

Just to illustrate how I've lost control over my basic motor skills & rational thought: I've agreed to go back to Crate & Barrel. On Saturday. Around noon. Shoot me in the face right now. Perhaps I should take a vicodin or something before we go.

My take on MO politics: Everyone's an ass-fucker. Everyone's cheated the cancer patients, worked for Penthouse, lied, slung mud, and is in favor of rape and pedophilia. Maybe even legalization of meth. The commercials are why I'm now exclusively watching all programming via the DVR, so I can skip the mayhem. Just another few days.....

If you work in collections, you might want to start reading another blog. If I have to deal with these Pizza Hut mo-fo's again next week, someone's losing the battle, and I can guarantee you, it won't be me. This has evoked the same emotional, primal reaction on the same scale as when I battled the ocean. I will not go under, folks. If I do, I'm taking the entire PH corporation with me. Get your Big New Yorker this weekend, just to be safe.

(Great. Now I'm on a fucking watch list. More problems. I feel like a persecuted rapper. P Diddy, I feel your pain.)

The good news is that most of the Lizard Ridge has been blocked, and I'm shooting to get it all done this weekend. If all goes as planned, I'll fall over in shock and awe, and maybe I won't get up until the election's over, and my fraud charges have been cleared up..... and the parking lot at Crate & Barrel has emptied.....
posted by PlazaJen, 12:22 AM | link |

Thursday, November 02, 2006

"It Won't Be Late Because Jennifer Will Get Angry And We'll Have To Leave."

Ahhhh, dearest Kristin. You know me so well.

See, I thought I was in the creme de la creme. The Shopping Elite. The Who's Who of Crate & Barrel's mailing list. Instead, I was shopper drone #812, and when we got to the private event, there were no parking spaces left. No valet, just a bow-tied woman telling us to park across the street. After thirty minutes of sitting in line to park. Hey? Concept? Tell us BEFORE we're stuck in a no-way-out line of cars. And women should just not wear bow ties. Unless they're getting married in a civil ceremony, to each other. Otherwise, please. Don't do it.

Folks, have you ever been to 119th & Roe? This is not crossing a cobblestoned street. This is crossing 6 lanes of haywire traffic, and we picked a less-congested parking lot, and appparently? The one with fucked up sidewalks and uneven terrain. So already, we were not off to a good start. I immediately backed off purchasing anything that weighed more than -oh - a can of soup. We apologized under our breath as we traipsed through the still-fresh landscaping, and I felt the distinct sinking feeling as I trod on fresh sod. Just helping those roots take hold, that's us!

Inside? A fucking madhouse. A zoo. A gigantic cocktail party, where more people were drinking and noshing and Thurston Howelling with each other than actually shopping. Note to C&B: Y'all need to have a Driven! The Jennifer Shopping Event, and only true shoppers can come. We'll stop and have drinks when we're waiting in line for our purchases to be rung up. There were far more people preoccupied with brie and white wine and standing around and waiting for the sun to start orbiting them, than people who were actually cognizant of the fact they were in a STORE that someone else might want to look at something on the shelf behind them.

I could go on and on. Let me hit some of the high notes: I was pawed by a woman who admired my velvet jacket; we got free coasters when we left; the policeman at the corner did not want to chat and he started to be a crossing guard for us when the light changed, but abandoned us after one lane. Hey! So we went over to Dean & Deluca. Where we met the most charming young man who peddled me three different kinds of black licorice (because HE believes in giving out samples!) and he's a dancer, in a very-intensive training program (5 hours a day) and we had an extremely long conversation about licorice, Christopher Elbow chocolates, and the state of downtown Kansas City. Really, I'm not a difficult person, or shopper. I can make friends with the best of them. (Helps if they're gay.)

It was on the way to Dean & Deluca that I learned Kristin had told her husband we wouldn't be out late, because I was going to get angry with the crowds. I find it interesting that other people know what to expect from me more than I even do from myself, sometimes. It's good to be known, I think. James thought it was HILARIOUS and also, Not Surprised.

I, on the other hand, am going to plot a "sick day" or something and go in the morning when Crate & Barrel opens, a few weeks from now, and preferably mid-week, and I'll see then if there's anything I simply must have. Until then, I have a lot of black licorice to tide me over, and some photo coasters to fill. And, apparently, some angry eyes to put away.....
posted by PlazaJen, 12:39 AM | link |

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I Am All About The Pre-Blogging This Week

Do you like how I'm putting the time on my blog posts to the future? I feel powerful doing it. It's like I'm blogging - when I'm asleep! Tricky, tricky! But if I don't do it, I'll forget the gems of the day.

Let's see. I have random things to assemble and throw, like grapefruit. Here goes:

Operation Halloween was a grand success. We learned from last year. In that some kids (and grown-ups with grocery sacks) come to your door without a costume on, and ask for candy. Rather than be ass clowns, and mean ones at that, and since these folk are often intermingled with perfectly classy costumed children, the Wo and I devised a plan: Two Sets of Candy. No diving in and grabbing, we hand it out. (We lost some volume last year to grabbers.)

Courtesy of our loverly CostCo, and the coupon, we had a box of absolutely fabulous full-sized candy offerings: M&Ms, Snickers, Skittles, Starburst and other Mars Products. Also courtesy of loverly CostCo, we had a box of Sour Gummi Belts, 100 per box, $2.97 a box. We even tried them, to make sure we weren't being Totally Evil Ass Clowns. (They're definitely more a kid food, we decided. But loads of sugar, nonetheless.) So when the kiddoes came a-knockin', if you were in costume - and let me interrupt myself to say, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a bumblebee outfit. NOTHING. Except a walking toddler in a bumblebee outfit who won't stop thanking you for her candy. That was the highlight of my night, right above the noises the dogs were making in their abject disgruntlement over not being allowed to charge the door and bark their heads off. Eating numerous squares of a Rosati's pizza came right after that highlight, if anyone's keeping score. Oh, yes, I interrupted myself. If you were in costume, you got an awesome full-sized Mars candy item. If you were in street clothes, or say, someone in their mid-50s with no obvious small child in even proximity to yourself, you got Sour Belts. I informed a nice couple at CostCo this was our plan, as I watched them debate over how much candy to buy. I'm just sayin', we've gotten a little lax as a society, and just hoofing your ass around without a costume does not mean you deserve a big-ass Snickers. It's Jen Justice, and for the most part, it works.

Let's see. While I was battling people all day as if I were starring in my own version of Star Wars, taking on countless Storm Troopers of Evil Credit and Bad Doings, I saw what has to be the most challenging, exemplary customer service situation I think I've ever seen before in a restaurant. Kristin and I dined at McAlister's for lunch, and we sat near two old biddies who were sharing a sandwich. They called the manager over, and motioning to another sandwich plate, with a big-ass sandwich sitting on it, and informed him they had no idea the sandwiches were so large, so they were splitting the one, and could he take care of the other sandwich they'd bought. He first offered to give them a to-go box. They said that they would do that only if they HAD to, but they'd much prefer him to just give them a refund and take the sandwich away.

And that's exactly what he did. He had a choice, to make them take the sandwich (that they TOTALLY should have taken), and potentially never have them come back in, or to give them their $7, throw the sandwich away, and not have two selfish old ladies leave, never to return & possibly bad-mouth his restaurant. He gave them cash back and they ate their split sandwich and Kristin and I marvelled at the entire thing. I need to remember to call & commend him, because honestly, given the day I'd been having? I might have shoved their heads in a pitcher of sweet tea and told them to bob for their fucking dentures.

Oh, and I totally tried to pick a fight with the Bunn Automatic people, because the coffee carafe we have dribbles everywhere, and they (surprisingly, and wonderfully) responded to my email with a "Hey, call us, we will send you a new one free of charge", and since it had been two weeks, and I was spending half my day tearing up the phone lines and ripping into people, I called them & they apologized profusely that at the time there was a backorder, and they were checking daily for the carafes to come in and I was on the list and it would be turned around as soon as possible.

I swear. Customer service. It just soothes the angry beast.

Oh, and our pumpkin-carving competition submission at work was completely subversive. We showed a pumpkin asleep, with a (my) letter opener jabbed in the side of its head, with ketchup blood falling down onto our weekly status (think: TPS Reports and Office Space). And to think, they were going to carve a bat with the company logo. Oh and no, we didn't win the competition. But we won in our HEARTS! Let me just say that a pumpkin throwing up is NOT original. Not that I'm competitive. But with our theme we didn't stand a chance.

Yeah, so I came home & took off the first round of blocked strips:

First Strips, Blocking

(Polly checked out the first set and gave it the A-Ok to unpin)

Polly Supervised the Blocking

And then I pinned out the next round:

Second Set, Blocking

The third set of strips are "waiting in the wings" on the end there. It's just astounding how much the color definition grows once they're blocked.

It's freaking gorgeous. When it's all sewn up, I will fall over in astonishment at the combined beauty.

That is all. It was a full day.
posted by PlazaJen, 12:01 AM | link |