PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dancing As Fast As I Can

I know at some point I have written about that crazy kooky boss (there've been so many!) that had all sorts of expressions for how crazy-busy she was....... the ol' one-armed paperhanger...... up to her ass in alligators..... but our favorite was always the "Dancing as fast as I can" because one of my co-workers did this hilarious Flashdance number, running in place.
Maybe our skepticism was because she spent most of her time playing Free Cell....

Anyway. I'm here. I'm working like mad, and going out of town tomorrow (oh yes, the world of business travel is so glamorous. Traveling for 6 hours in a car (round trip), but at least I'll get some knitting done.) There have been a few funny things, a couple sad things, you know, just the basic life stuff. I've apparently completely abandoned the 365 Days project of self-portraiture;

OH MY GOD if you are going to be interviewed on TV and you are seated in your car TAKE THE KEY OUT OF THE IGNITION. I can't believe they're airing this, the DING DING DING is about to send me out of my skin.

So, I think I was about to say that I've had some difficulty concentrating, staying on-task, really not doing much focusing on anything that isn't On Fire! Blazing! Cuidado! Automatic Caution Door! Danger! I'm pretty much trying to find an extra seventeen hours, and I will spend at least 5 on some extra sleep, 2 on organizing, 2 on shopping, 4 on knitting/TV time, and then maybe another 4 on personal improvements, cooking, and getting the car washed. I'm going to try to catch some of that sleep right now. More soon, I promise.

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posted by PlazaJen, 9:58 PM | link |

Friday, January 26, 2007

Much Better Day:

In part, because I am not this dog:

Those people at Lion Brand have access to some VERY very good drugs.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:50 AM | link |

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Like A Roman F'n Candle, People.

I haven't gotten this angry at work, about work, and not involving my OWN neuroses, which I have filed in a floss bobbin box, neatly labeled and arranged by size, since... well, I don't know when. A sales rep screwed up, and boy howdy, in a royal gigantic way. With all the trimmings. Plus dessert.

Ordinarily, I get wound up and mad and Rawr Rawr Rawr and then I'm level-headed in my interaction and give the benefit of the doubt and try to find the solution. I even first responded to the situation with that attitude, and then one conversation with my client erased any shadows of doubt that the wrong thing had been done.

It's rare for me to be passionately angry and equally logical, and while I'm still pissed to the nines about what happened? I loved it on another level. My boss did, too, not only because he agreed with me, but as we laughingly observed, because it meant I wasn't on his ass about the things he's screwing up & needs to do, too.

Good thing we're like family 'round here. Family of ROMANS. Let's just not implement a toga policy.
posted by PlazaJen, 3:23 PM | link |

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

It Only Takes A Few Small Grains of Sand to Jack Up the Vaseline.....

OK, I've spent about 45 minutes being unbelievably pissy. I wasn't this way when I came to work, or even before I left for lunch. My doctor's office was open (I went to pick up my prescriptions) but the entire staff was in a meeting with nobody manning the front desk. They responded to my toodling "Helloooooo?" by coming out and asking me to sit and wait until 1:00. It was 12:15. Hi, um, how do you say? NO?! I said I was just there to pick up the prescriptions, and you'd have thought I asked her to come over and clean out my toilets. With her tongue. So needless to say, I'm considering a switch, because my phone interaction yesterday was about the same. I've been going there for 9+ years, but when you're treated like riffraff rolling in off the street, maybe it's time for a change!

So I was just a grumpery girl and there was this horrible child at Hobby Lobby who kept picking something off a shelf behind me in line & dropping it on the floor. Her mother was doing a darn-good job of keeping her in line (wipes sarcasm off lips):

"Honey, put that back."
:FWAP: (object lands on floor)
"Honey, put that back."
:FWAP: (object on floor again)
"I mean it. Put that back."
:FWAP: (you're getting the hang of this now, right?)
"Honey, put that back before you break something."

JESUS. I'm telling you, I was spanked maybe all of two times in my entire childhood. But I would have stopped after the first FWAP with just one directive from either of my parents. They always conveyed a level of "We're not fucking around here, knock it OFF." And I don't think this warranted a spanking or lifting the child up off the floor by their arm, but I am really starting to miss the Fire & Brimstone style of parenting, where just one look would quell even the most rambunctious escapades. (My friend Beth has the hairy eyeball nailed with her daughter. It always makes me want to laugh but I don't because we cannot EVER make light of the hairy eyeball.)

Let's see, so then, I'm all hot and overheated & my window alone wasn't cooling me off, and I decided because it was such a glorious (BRIGHT! My eyes!) day, I'd open the sunroof. About 60 seconds later, one of those sticky pointy gumtree seed pods came sailing into the car, caught some serious air, bounced around and hit me in two places so I thought I had a bat or lizard or something equally unwelcome in the car. Talk about freaking out. Jesus. I thought I was going to end up in the bed of the truck in front of me while I performed Immediate Panicked Maneuvers In The Car (the long-lost bandmates of OMD) and finally realized, in fact, there was nothing with a pulse fwapping around the interior of my car, just a mild-mannered seed pod.

So on a more positive note, here's some knitting updates.
I finished the Trekking #126 socks:
Finished Socks, Trekking #126

I finished the Lady Detective Hat from Knit 2 Together:
Lady Detective Hat in Noro Iro #55
(It's on a wine bottle, thus the odd shape at the top)

I started the (highly imaginatively named) "Scarf", from Victorian Lace Today - knitting it out of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn in "African Grey".
Lace Scarf
It's an incredibly simple pattern, which is good, since my eyeballs couldn't handle anything with much more complexity.

Oo! I just pulled my sweater up over my head and hid in my Inner Circle for 15 seconds and it made things seem much better. Ostriches might be on to something.....
posted by PlazaJen, 1:40 PM | link |

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Breaking Point

I'm not blowing up or falling apart, it's just.... I dunno. I'm all irritable and sharp edges and bristly rough surfaces. I usually have a bout of insomnia this time of year, a restlessness that simmers below my skin, but I haven't had any problems sleeping per se. Maybe it's coming out in other ways. I'm fed up with bullshit, I'm adapting to my "new" eyeballs, work is picking back up, and I wonder sometimes when one area of our life becomes stable if we start walking back out towards the edges, trying to find the place where the tipping point begins anew. At least I realize what I'm doing, and I'm not picking fights with my husband as a form of release! I've just got hassle-y things to deal with and I'm extremely impatient. We got new insurance, and it took forever to get our ID cards, we have to go get new prescriptions for EVERYthing to move it over between mail-order systems, the provider's website is cumbersome, and yet they don't want to do paper-anything, they want you to do everything on-line. Hi. I have a suggestion for you: make your website WORK before you go paperless, dipshits. See? Just slicing through the clutter, I am.
I get a little haphazard when I'm in this place, making choices and decisions with a little more "recklessness" - not like driving on two wheels or careening down the Ward Parkway median or nothin', more along the lines of being less precise, weighing all my options and possible outcomes less, going with my gut more than my mind.

Oddly enough, it feels ok.
posted by PlazaJen, 3:40 PM | link |

Monday, January 22, 2007

Monday Sighs.

Today would have been my dad's 63rd birthday. Oddly enough, I have dreaded & feared this day, that it would find me crying & upset, and so far, I have just been subdued & mostly normal - as normal as I ever really get. Given that I thought Christmas would be no problem and his birthday very difficult, I'm starting to see that my own ideas of what will affect me aren't really great predictors. Maybe I got some of it out last Saturday, thanks in part to Grey's Anatomy ("Welcome to the Dead Dads Club. You're not in it until you're in it." So so true.) I think grief sometimes is about as clever & predictable as "Deal or No Deal". In that it's not really that clever at all, it just has the illusion you're in control. You get a number, it opens, and it's either good or bad. We have "lucky" numbers and ideas about what we can or can't control, and in the end, it just is what it is. A mix of good, bad, and in-between. Last week I cried my way to work because I had a flash of when my father was teaching me to drive, and I saw him, scrunched up against the door, grabbing the handle overhead, shouting "BIKE LANE" as I drove our extended, windowless van on the highway for the first time. (I put us in the bike lane a LOT out of fear and not knowing where I was in the road.) God love him. He taught me so much and that's my greatest sadness, that he isn't here to keep teaching me & I have to find my own way.

On an upnote, and one that gives me a reason to smile, my dear dear friend Kristin also celebrates her birthday today. We are going out to lunch and we will blink blink blink with our new Lasiked eyes, and we will laugh and remember why each and every birthday is worth celebrating.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:37 AM | link |

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Super Quick Update

...because the computer room is freezing. We're supposed to start getting snow, and dare I say, I'm simply looking forward to the TRACTION it will provide on top of the super-slick ice that seems to surround our entire house.

Yesterday's Lasik went very, very well. Really quite a blur, all puns and interpretations intended. There were a few moments of discomfort - never any pain - and really the most unpleasant part of the actual procedure was the removal of the "sticky drapes" - surgical tape thingies that hold your eyelashes up out of your eye, and like a bandaid being removed from an ouchie spot, imagine that line of skin under your eyelashes releasing that tape. Yeah. I didn't hesitate to point it out to the entire team in the room that the sticky drapes were NOT my friends.

The rest of the day improved gradually - big shout-out of thanks to the burning fucking orb you people commonly call "the sun" for being out and blazing - so I went home & sat with the (non-sticky) drapes drawn, fidgeting & watching tv, and then out to dinner (a blog post in of itself)(my friend Roger drove, in case you were worried). The best moment was actually as I got into bed, and I looked over at the clock? And it was perfectly clear. No squinting, nothing, no usual red blur of numbers that my brain had spent the past 17+ years working to decipher by the general amount of red and approximation of the LED lines. It was perfectly crystal clear: 11:36. So awesome. Then I wore my Buck Rogers Eyewear (these goggle things they give you) and those lasted half the night. I'm supposed to wear them so I don't gouge at my eyes in my sleep, perhaps those mitts they put on babies would work better. We had our follow-up this morning, both Kristin & I are healing marvelously. Her eyes are still more dilated because she got 1,100 drops yesterday and I only had to have 600. (Slight exaggeration, yet still proportionately accurate.)

I keep wanting to adjust my glasses on my face, or I feel a strange sense of panic that my glasses AREN'T on my face and yet I'm seeing just fine. My vision's not even fully corrected yet (as the cornea heals & my eyes finally de-dilate), and yet I'm seeing things even better than with my glasses. The best analogy I could think of today is that it's like I used to watch TV on an old big-picture tube with pretty good cable connection, and suddenly I'm switched to a high-def channel on a plasma tv. No signs of unicorns (yet), but we did see a Quintiles building that had never been there before (or had it?) on our way to Jo-Ann's after the eye appointment this morning. And yesterday, we danced in the cold care aisle at CVS because we were fairly blind, and if we can't see them, they can't see us!

I'm glad I had my buddy to go through it at the same time, and uber-thanks to Kyra for being our driver & giving up most of her day to make sure we got home safely! I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
posted by PlazaJen, 12:17 PM | link |

Friday, January 19, 2007

I'm Hoping For Unicorns

So Friday morning, which is like, not very far away right now, and once I jack with the posting time it will be even closer, is the Big Moment, and truth be told the process is really more like 2.5 hours, but it's Big Lasik Friday. I'm hoping someone throws beads, every time I open my eyes. Well, maybe not. All that flinching can't be good.

Way earlier this week, and independent of one another, Kristin & I decided our eyes were getting worse, progressively & rapidly. Kristin said, "I think my eyes are worse this week." To which I enthusiastically screamed (because most everything at work involves screaming), "MINE TOO!" And then we discussed how our eyeglasses were constantly filthy, the blurring, the halos, the inability to see colors or the DVR guide (most essential). You know, just making the folks who drive on Ward Parkway feel blessed that they made it home commuting among us.

So as we were discussing how we were coping with the rapid onset of blindness, I said, "Have you thought about what we'll be able to see? You know, once we have Lasik?" To which Kristin replied, "Like what, like UNICORNS?" And I said, "Well, yeah, ok, those too, but what I meant was more like detail and whatnot, but yeah, like what if we can start seeing the unicorns among us? That'd be some Lasik."

(I think someone puts a little more time than necessary in on her "What Would Unicorns Do" folder she got for Christmas. Not casting stones, or magic hooves here, but our friends the unicorns have come up a LOT more in conversation since that lovely office supply appeared.)

Later I gestured to a marble coffee table & said, "I just hope that I don't wind up sitting here all day, staring and petting the pretty marble, because there's detail and color I couldn't see before." And even later that day, in the thick of a work-situation-panic, Kristin shouted something about how I'd be doing that next week, BLIND. Because what we really want to focus on here is blindness and how I won't be able to get the International Standard Rates and Data Services book in Braille.

I mean, come on. I'm focusing on what really counts here. Vision! And Unicorns!

Maybe one with a magic laser in its horn will be the surgeon tomorrow. Wouldn't that be somethin'!
posted by PlazaJen, 12:18 AM | link |

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Moderately Banner Day

We had a fabulous training session this morning, and for me to say that means, it was not only useful, and interesting, and filled with awe-inspiring moments, but that it was WORTHWHILE and that my friends, is practically priceless in this day & age. I have sat through so many useless meetings & trainings that were off-target, blah blah blah, and it was actually energizing to be given information in a concise manner that will actually be used on a daily basis!

I wore my finished Lady Detective Hat today, but it got rather warm at lunch. I found the buckle to finish it up at Hancock Fabrics, and it was rather nip & tuck to find something that was suitable & the right size. I got the last one! I'll put up pictures, hopefully tomorrow - we'll have to just go with the positive assumption that I'm going to be able to see just fine, because tomorrow is the big Lasik Day!

In other knitting news, I am working on a pair of socks (for me) out of Trekking #126, the coveted dyelot that resembles the Brach's candy. I'm using another pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks - the cloverleaf eyelet cable. Of the six-row repeat, only two rows have really any "action" going on, so it's easily memorized, and humming along quite nicely.
In-progress pics:
Trekking Socks

Cloverleaf Eyelet Cable ribbing

Think of me (and Kristin!) tomorrow morning - we'll both be getting our eyes lasered, and hopefully, not by laser cats.
posted by PlazaJen, 2:26 PM | link |

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Still Cold, Still Knitting.

OK, so at 9:00 a.m., I looked at my adorable little yellow chick clock, with the feet that wag back and forth. This clock:

Then, some amount of time later, I looked back at it (it's just to the left of where my computer monitor sits and I don't care how much I know there's a clock on my computer, I never look at it). Chick said "9:03". Holy crap. I felt my head tilt, my body sag, and I thought to myself, "Man. It's going to be a long day. It's like time's standing still."

It wasn't until close to 10:00 that Kristin came in and informed me that my clock was wrong, that I realized the battery was dying (and is now dead). WHEW! It was going to take two weeks before it was 5:00!

In other news, it is still cold & icy - the Wo hasn't had school all WEEK! and the knitting frenzy continues. I finished the Portland sweater, and here's a picture:
Portland Sweater, adjusted pattern
I upsized the pattern, and the color in this picture isn't exactly representative - it's more a soft muddled plum. I wore it on Monday & it was quite comfy. Of all things, I'm wearing my frothy mohair scarf today, because my friend Tamar mentioned it last week. I am not a mohair gal, but this scarf really is too pretty. Here's a lovely picture of me, which I took with my cameraphone - while I was talking to a rep. She didn't say anything shocking, so I have no idea why my eyes are bugging out!
On the phone

Then I decided I'd see what I'll look like without glasses - Friday's the big day! I couldn't quite recapture the expression....

I think it looks like I"m saying, "MmmmmHMMMMMMMM" in a really indignant, saucy tone.
posted by PlazaJen, 2:12 PM | link |

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

We're Gonna Be Contenders, Baby.

It is so cold in our offices, we might as well make some money on the real estate & hang some meat. Cold storage is an understatement, people. I am |this| close to blasting the Rocky theme song over the intercom as my passive-aggressive form of protest.

Now, some might say this is a fine sort of revenge. Seeing as how at the Last Place I Worked, I kept the thermostat a brisk 60-something or other. My argument was that I was in Hell, and I was simply curious to see if I could actually freeze it over. (Seriously though, my argument was that it was JUST FINE, and my chilly girly neighbors wore sweaters. We had ventilation issues and my office turned into a Crock Pot if we turned it up.) Here, however? It is warm in the summertime and freezing in the winter. My toes haven't thawed all day. I started visualizing sides of beef hanging from the ceiling, and I'm just waiting to hear someone shout about eating lightning and crapping thunder.
posted by PlazaJen, 3:28 PM | link |

Monday, January 15, 2007

Snow Patrol

I'm listening to Snow Patrol right now, in honor of the weather. Actually, it wasn't horrific driving in this morning - but there is a ton of ice/frozen sleet out there. Plus the fact it's a holiday might have cut down on the number of drivers out there, so I was happy to get to work wreck-less and safe.

The weekend was spent burrowed in. I wore pajamas and hand-knit wool socks all weekend long, venturing out only once, and that was only two steps out the door to put the recycling in its bin. One wayward can fell beyond the bin & skittered into the middle of the driveway, and I called upon my helper dog (Polly) to retrieve it. She thought it was EXCELLENT because it was a can of chicken broth & she made sure to lick it thoroughly before finally picking it up and bringing it to me. That dog loves to fetch! We watched numerous movies, and I knit like a fiend.

Project Updates: I finished the Portland sweater - which I'm wearing today and because they turn the heat way down in the office over the weekend, I am surprised to say I'm still kinda cold. I used the yarn called for in the pattern (Rainbow) & the colorway is the plum combo. I then knit the Lady Detective Hat, in Noro #55, and the only thing I need to call it finished is the buckle that goes on the side. I'll post a picture of the hat when it's done - the pattern is from the book Knit 2 Together. THEN I cast on for the Curiously Clever Clogs, in Crystal Palace's Iceland - colors are hot pink,lime green, and a variegated print that incorporates the pink, green & also purple & orange. There's beading involved, and the beads I ordered had way-too-small holes to navigate a crochet hook through, but I would not be stopped. Instead, I devised a way to get the damn beads on the bulky yarn, and because I'm stubborn, I continued to do this, despite how much I ended up hurting my fingers! Basically, you can take a piece of monofilament, thread it through your loop you're about to knit (or purl), then thread both ends through the bead, slide it down, and then tug like hell until it gets onto the yarn & you have enough room to work the stitch! I ended up giving myself some nice cuts that would give your average papercut a run for its money. I've hit on an alternative method for the second slipper: use needle-nosed pliers to hold and pull the monofilament. I got part of the first slipper done & my hands hurt so much, I had to set them aside. Enter project #4: another pair of socks, in the luscious Trekking colorway #126 - just like the Brach's candy. Funny how knitting with the colorway can make you crave the candy! Two of my knitting pals have theirs done - check out the pics: Kyra's socks here, and Leslie's socks here! I wound the yarn off into equal balls & thought I'd lined them up perfectly with the pattern in the yarn to have them be identical? Wrong-o! But I'm not going to let that stop me. After all, the point isn't matchy-matchy perfection! I'm knitting them using a stitch from Sensational Knitted Socks (again, mind you that you check the errata for the book if you use it as more than a stitch reference), it's the Cloverleaf Eyelet Cable. Gives it just enough of a twist to be interesting, but not too complex. I worked on those during the season premiere of 24 - people, you just do not fuck with Jack Bauer. He can kill a man with his TEETH while handcuffed to a chair. I think he's about to have a very bad day.

That's the scoop, Friday's the big day for the Lasik, and it's also the day it's supposed to warm up enough to melt all this nasty stuff. In the meantime, more knitting, more Jack Bauer (tonight!), and more cold. Stay warm!
posted by PlazaJen, 9:47 AM | link |

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Ripped From The Headlines.

I watch a lot of Law & Order. CSI, Court TV, A&E - I've always loved detective novels, and once I got access to a television, I immediately gravitated to all the criminology-based shows. I am fascinated by the psychology and formation of the criminal mind (and yes, I watch that show, too.)

A young Missouri boy disappeared Monday after school - stepped off the school bus & was gone. A sweet face, 13 years old, beaming up in his school picture, with glasses and a sharp jawline. The news showed the search parties each night, men, mostly, locals, dressed in their camouflage jackets and coveralls, walking shoulder-to-shoulder in the grassy fields near where he disappeared. As each day passed, and the 72-hour mark was hit, I felt that sick feeling in my stomach, that he would be another child gone, snatched and killed. His father on the news, eyes hollow, keeping it together, keeping hope alive, voicing a plea, bewildered this had happened to them.

And then the impossible happened: not only was he found, but another boy, kidnapped four years ago, was also found. James told me as I walked into the living room, they had just broken into the non-stop weather coverage to report it, it had just happened. Then, on the later news, they showed more footage, had more details of the story, you saw the 13-year old smiling as the police escorted him in to the building, and I imagined his father wrapping him in his arms, finally giving in to the fears and sadness in the relief of the moment. We also saw the other boy, taller, unsmiling, walking with another crowd of officers, and I thought of his mother, who must have just spent another Christmas, mourning and hopeful and feeling the hole in her heart that never healed, and I saw their future, an uneasy road, because this boy had grown, has probably been told lies about his parents for the past four years, that they didn't want him, that they gave him to this evil man, and I can barely bring myself to imagine what he did to him. His first victim had gotten too old, and he needed another. The sense of displacement, even in such a hellish situation, this older boy's psyche, the work that will have to be done and undone and still, never erased. And I wept for both those families, because of the joy and the fear and the sadness and the pain, so many lives twisted, never to be unbent completely, because of one man's evil. It's a misnomer to call it a happy ending - but it's as close to a miracle as you can get.

The detailed story is here.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:31 AM | link |

Friday, January 12, 2007

Socks, Mohawks, Ice Storms.... You Know, Just Another Friday

Well, we're getting a nice downpour of freezing drizzle right now, and it's supposed to be another lovely ice storm for the metro area. We were going to head up to Iowa this weekend, but this, among other reasons, has cancelled those plans.

On the knitting front, one of the Christmas presents I gave our dear friend Roger was the promise of hand-knit socks. I don't knit socks for people, really, except JWo and me, and then I made a pair for my dad when he was sick, and then a pair for Brenda so she would feel the love and connection that goes into knitting up socks. I also made my mother-in-law a pair for Christmas. So yes, I guess I do knit socks for other people, but not just "OH, hey, would you make me a pair?" or "Could you make some for my Sister-in-law?" They're only for the near, dear & special. And this includes Roger! I made them in record time - given that they were bigger than the ones I usually make for myself, and how long my Mermaid socks had taken me with paying attention to the pattern. Pictures!

Roger's Socks, in Trekking XXL #138:
Socks for Roger

My Mermaid Socks, in Trekking XXL #139:
Mermaid Socks

Oh, and the mohawk? (JWo called me "mohawk girl" this morning) It's not really a mohawk. But I can get some INSANE bed hair workin' while I'm sleeping. My friend Beth thought my hair QUITE hilarious when we roomed together on the Kristin Wedding Trip last fall. So I had to incorporate a photo of it into my participation of the 365 Days pool on Flickr. Pretty! But that's on'y in the mo'nin. Wooowooooo!

You Can't Style This Look

If I've learned one thing in the short amount of time I've participated in this photo pool? It's that I have absolutely minimal knowledge about photography. I'm awed by some of the stuff out there, it's just incredible!
posted by PlazaJen, 11:24 AM | link |

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


If life is like a box of chocolates, then I would like a medium-sized box of original Frango Mints to magically appear on my desk.

Target really should sell them. Wait. Maybe not. Too accessible.

I have such fondness for them - they used to be something we only had at Christmas, as our family friends brought them back from Chicago during the holidays. (My dad & he grew up in Hinsdale.) When I moved to the Twin Cities, they were available at Dayton's - in so many more flavors. But there's just nothing like the mint ones, for Original Gangstah Chocolate-Flavored Memories. (OGCFM)

Someone's ready for lunch.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:38 AM | link |

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

You Shall Now Call Me Elton Jen.

You Shall Now Call Me Elton Jen
posted by PlazaJen, 2:41 PM | link |

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Eyes Have It

OK, I'll get to my eyes in a minute, but right now my dog is lunging after some sort of flying bug that is in the computer room/attic with us, and it's very distracting. I'm assuming she learned this behavior from Suzy, who is known throughout the midwest for her bug-gettin' skeelz. I have no idea if she got it at this point. She had it, let it go, and then got it again. I swear, she has half a cat in her.
OK! Back to the regular blogging!

I had my big Lasik eye exam today and yes, I am an excellent candidate for the procedure. It still kinda freaks me out, and it's not exactly cheap, but then really, do you want to go into the 7-11 for a Slurpee and some quick Lasik with the Extra Taquitos Post-Op package? PRObably not. They dilated my eyes, and I was rather panicked afterwards when they told me they no longer had the undilating/reversing drops. Just my frickin' luck. Apparently the company who makes it is in some sort of patent feud with another company and they aren't making it right now, which means I got to drive home doing my own impersonation of The Fly. Look! There's ELEVENTY lanes to drive on and they're all shining bright with the evil, evil light. Even now, some 5-6 hours later, my eyes are still sensitive and my monitor is confusing me - is it heaven? Go to the light! Oh, never mind, it's just the bright white of Blogger.
(See? Still dilated:)

Meanwhile, I am cranking on my friend Roger's Xmas socks. They are AWEsome. I will put up a picture, along with the mermaid socks I finished last week. Patterned socks (anything beyond our friend Le Rib) take me a lot longer to do, and I was surprised at how fast I tore through his socks. It helps that I have about three projects' worth of yarn screaming at me to hurry up.

I must end this entry, because Polly has gas and we are in a confined space. Between my eyes and my nose, my body is going to start shutting down in about
posted by PlazaJen, 10:09 PM | link |

Friday, January 05, 2007

You Should Hear Me Talk Football.

JWo loves to laugh at me. I say things like, "He fuckin' PLOWED into him!" for a hit he wouldn't categorize as a PLOWING. Alls I know is, someone knocks my feet out from under me, no matter what sort of helmet I'm wearing, I've been plowed.

So, it is with shameless pride & arrogance I give you this screen capture.

Yep, that's me. Jen$ A$$ Kicker$. My blog-bud Bekah organized a Fantasy Football league last fall and invited me to partake. Now, my exposure to fantasy football thingies in the past consisted of all men, gathering in a room someplace, drinking, eating, whatevering, and talking about individual players spanning the league nonstop for months. All of it booming over my head at sonic speed. So it was simply natural for me to join. And I did, and I made my picks, and then? Then? I thought that was it. Hah! This would explain why, after a couple weeks, I was at the bottom of the league. You have to change your player roster every week, sillies! DUH! (I inserted that for those of you who are more knowledgeable and were already getting dizzy from shaking your head so hard.) Well. I only give you the excuse that I was really busy and I think I was even gone the night we did the actual draft. But all you have to do is fix the gun in my hand for me to take off like a monkey on crack, shooting up the saloon and fruit stand. And with a little advice and guidance from Bekah, I picked up the pace and got, shall we say, a little more competitive. Granted, I can only credit luck for my ultimate win, because I still don't bother to know everything about everyone in the NFL, and I really only follow the Chiefs.

But the long & short of this story (besides what a fan-fuckin-tastic WINNER I am, so modest and non-preening) is that sometimes the winner is a surprise. And I'm hoping like mad, so hard my fingers ache from being crossed, that we'll see a surprise tomorrow afternoon when the Chiefs take on Indianapolis, and our amazing playoffs chance lasts a little longer this go-round. If not, well, at least I'm still a WINNER. ME. MMM-HMMM. You could almost say I PLOWED my way through the brackets......
posted by PlazaJen, 3:56 PM | link |

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I Hope It's A Corner Piece

I've always loved puzzles. Whether it's a crossword, sudoku, tetris, or a box of a thousand pieces, the puzz and puzzling of my brain is one of my great joys in life. I tend to approach most everything in life as I do a puzzle: understand the goal/desired result, assess the situation, determine the process, do the work.

Grief, thus far, has eluded me as a tangible, definable puzzle. It has felt like a large blob in Aisle 12, simply awaiting cleanup, and no matter how diligently I mop, scrub or scrape, it replenishes and shifts and changes and morphs and moves as I thrust my hands deep within it and try to find a hold, something to grasp. Because I've been searching for clues, trying to find something to give traction, a place to stand and stop falling down.

Yesterday, I left work a smidge early. I was tuckered out and the stress was gone, and I wasn't doing anything worthwhile. My mind wandered as I drove my familiar road home, and I thought about a couple situations in my life, and as I've done so many times before, I thought, "What would dad tell me to do?"

And that's when it hit me. When I finally found a line, an edge, a shape to at least part of this. An unspoken fear, truth, knowledge and sadness in all of this that finally felt concrete. Because I can't call him anymore. I can't ask for his advice, even if I chose not to take it. I knew that, of course. But I realized at the core of this, I'm afraid I won't be able to be wiser with him gone. Who will teach me, give me the perspective that only time can bring? Who will temper my spluttering, will tell me to calm down, and do so with the wisdom of my father, with the unconditional love of a parent, with the perspective of having known me from my first breath, my first cries, my first steps, my first words? Seeing that stark truth helped some of my grief form under my hand, and I felt the first delineation of an object, of a puzzle piece, an edge of a shape, a shape I hope to see in its entirety someday.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:53 AM | link |

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Stress, Pizza, Books, Knitting, Sleep.

I'm thinking that's the basic outline of my day. We had our big meeting today, and it went well, overall. Some parts were skeery, some parts were stressful, and my part, at the end, was delivered in high-speed Alvin-and-the-Chipmunks style in the interest of time. Fortunately, I think I skimmed over the less-interesting parts and spent my time on what makes us FABulous. Which is the whole point of sales. Nothing is more unpleasant than having someone read to you. In business anyway. (I just read "Hooway For Wodney Wat!" to JWo the other day.)

Once the meeting was over, Kristin and I went to Imo's for pizza, and Half-Price Books. I actually didn't buy any books (a couple cards & a trinkety gift for a co-worker), but Kristin made fast friends with a lady in the crafts section. I walked back to find her & (in a true friend move) left her there. Actually, this woman had the ability to talk without pause. I seriously had to cough/clear my throat to even make my presence known, and she continued to talk talk talk talk talk talk (and breathe, which always mystifies me, how someone can do that and never give you a moment to jump in and say something.)

I'd like to script the rest of my day, which would involve knitting and sleep, with perhaps another meal thrown in there and hugs from my sweetie. I'm just drained from the build-up of nervousness (coffee makes me a might nervous when I drink it, mm-hmmm) and anticipation of today, and now that it's over, I want to fall down and sleep. Instead, I'm going to make some notes of everything I need to not forget to do, and go see what came in the mail. Slow-n-steady, until I can sleep! The pizza in me isn't helping on staving off sleep though. Mmmmm. Sleeeeeeep.

These are the only times I really miss my old office, when I'd lie down on the floor & have a chair blocking the door. (I only did it for 10 minutes at a time, but boy, it made such a difference!)
posted by PlazaJen, 2:13 PM | link |

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Random Orts For A New Year

-The internet at work, sadly, did not make ANY resolutions to be better. Talk about needing to look within and make a change. Sigh.

- Much to the joy & entertainment of those sitting near me, I have decided to sing along (in ten-second increments) to almost every song on my iTunes in the past half hour. (It's sorted by album & I'm currently in the thick of a series of Billboard's Top Hits, 1980-1989.) Because I love the eighties, and you will too! (Toto! St. Elmo's Fire! When mullets weren't so bad and ballads were the BOMB baby!)

- I have this thing tomorrow and I am so not into it. But like the stage peformer I always wanted to be, I will flick the switch and radiate joy and energy and hopefully, not break a leg.

- I'm not sure if my bipolar attitude is tied to a decision I made last night to drink an entire bottle of champagne. And eat Christopher Elbow chocolates. Because in my opinion, you should START the new year with indulgence and celebration, too.

- I hate working through lunch because every hour thereafter is a horrible shock. I was certain it was after 3, and in fact, it was only nearing 2:00 p.m. This makes me uber-cranky.

- I'm not switching to the new Blogger until they make me. I'd love to use the new features, but every time they tell me to do it, I go through three steps & then they say, "OH NO, so sorry, we aren't letting your kind in yet." Well, piss up a rope, then, and quit asking me to do it.

- Alright, the internet has gone out for drinks. I better publish this before all lines are down & she's drunk & dancing on a table. More later.
posted by PlazaJen, 2:36 PM | link |

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Only Way Out Is Up!

I had a blog post last summer titled, "The Only Way Out Is Through", and I'm trying a different tactic for 2007. Up with people, Up with Jen! OK, that's a little squirrely. But you wake up on January 1, 2007, and clean up dog poop because you have a dog who every three months thinks it's perfectly acceptable to ignore her time outside as pooping time and just do it in the house once you're both back asleep, and you, too, my friends, will think, Bravo! We can only go upwards from here! Polly, on the other hand, has some learnin' to do.

We rang in the new year splendidly. The Chiefs clinched a spot in the playoffs, and we were celebrating with hot wings & other munchies at James' friend's house, about 45 minutes from home. The night was spent playing poker (mostly the guys), and card games (mostly the girls), and I actually won the pot for one round of "Shit on Your Neighbor"! (Though I guess Polly trumped everyone this morning with the less-popular game, "Shit on the Floor!") We got home very late, and it was nice to sleep in. I'm sort of delaying the accordion-style lineup of things that have to start happening once I get dressed & showered - for then, I have to go run errands. Get gas. Do the work I brought home. Blah blah blah.

I know this is a super-duper popular day for resolutions. I say Schmezolutions. Whatever. I chided a rep friend of mine at lunch a month ago, when she was agonizing over a friendship she couldn't quite let go of, because of her guilt - despite how it was harming her. I told her, "Don't wait for someone to die to figure out what's really important to you." Sometimes it takes that extreme of an event to bring it all into focus - but you don't need it to be that sharply focused to figure out your priorities. If it hurts, quit touching it. If it brings you joy, keep doing it. If it needs to be done, just do it. Even if you don't wanna. It doesn't get easier? But it gets clearer.

One of the best musical artists I discovered in 2006 (and really, JWo discovered her & introduced us) is Regina Spektor. She's taken some listening for the songs to really grab hold, and I know when something resonates because I wake up hearing the words and music in my head. I woke up with one of her songs this morning, "On The Radio", and these lyrics from that song seem so fitting, given what I just wrote:

This is how it works
You're young until you're not
You love until you don't
You try until you can't
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath

No, this is how it works
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else's heart
Pumping someone else's blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don't get harmed
But even if it does
You'll just do it all again

May 2007 be a better year for all of us. May your sorrows be short and your laughter be loud, and may your love be so great that it guides you, everywhere you go.
posted by PlazaJen, 11:36 AM | link |