PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Cute? You Can't Handle The Cute.

So a while back I mentioned that I'd knit a little something for Bekah and Mark's new bambino, Sammy. (Stop! Sammy Time!) In its flat, uninhabited state, I took a picture of the completed booties, sweater & hat. However, Bekah is an awesome photographer, and the photos of Sammy IN her new duds and accessories are way more impressive. With all credits to her, here is Miss Samantha Marie in her Mason-Dixon Kimono sweater, hand-knit booties and the Baby Beret hat. The yarn was "YarnBee" from Hobby Lobby, for it's washability; it was very soft & thus the hat was rather floppy. I used bright pink buttons on the sweater, and a matching button at the top of the beret. Bekah reports that she can not only work the beret with a provincial French flair, but alternately looks like a chef, and even a rastafarian baby. I'd love to say the clothes make the baby, but Sammy is cute no matter what she's sporting....


posted by PlazaJen, 11:30 AM | link |

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Holy Road Trip, Batman!

I just got home from a two-day new business road trip adventure.

We stayed in a castle/lodge..... and kept expecting someone to show up wearing a corset and carrying a platter of turkey legs. Our car actually got into town first, and we all went out to dinner - we met the second car back at the hotel, and all galloped at our co-workers on our imaginary horses, ala Monty Python. I think we were just exceptionally punchy by that part of the day......

I switched cars for the ride home and got to experience what exiting - and re-entering - earth's atmosphere must feel like for the astronauts. My boss drives the Nissan Quest like a rocketship. There were some stretches of road where my fellow astronaut and I joked that the o-rings were going to melt, and he thought he saw some tiles peeling off the sides of the car. Just kidding! But we made excellent time, and really, when all you want is to be home in your pj's, speed is not a problem.

Now I'm going to bed, and the only thing that would be better than the fact tomorrow's Friday? Is if it were SATURDAY. Snooze, glorious snooze......
posted by PlazaJen, 8:54 PM | link |

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

You Know You're In For A Good Time When.....

.... the ENT doctor says, "I'm going to numb your right nasal passage and it's going to taste like horse manure..."

Uh, yeah. At first, I just felt the Spray! Spray! Spray! and thought, well, hell, I don't taste anythi- eeeeeeyyyyyeech! Dude did NOT LIE. The most hideous taste, ever. But it did numb everything up - the roof of my mouth is still a little numb. I started my day by sitting in a waiting room for an hour, and eventually had a black rubber hose with a bright light & camera at the end of it snaked up through my nose and down my throat. How did your day begin?

Fortunately (or unfortunately, for those of us who enjoy a Magic Pill solution to all our problems), I have what is termed "post-viral irritation". Dude, I have had post-just-about-everything-in-life irritation for MONTHS now. I am always skeptical when there are pre-printed sheets that they pull out and hand you with instructions to follow, including forgoing all caffeine. Friends, I cannot begin to describe the irritation that would ensue if I followed that direction. I realize I should gently wean myself down off the addiction, but not cold turkey right before a new business pitch. HI! (bares teeth) I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH YOU! (:growls, gnashes teeth, smacks at imaginary bugs on arm:) Yeah, not gonna happen. Interestingly enough, I was running a slight fever, so I have independently concluded that I just need to kick all the bugs out of my system and get healthy. (Who needs med school?! My liberal arts degree devoid of sciences is A-OK.) The best news he gave me was that I did NOT have a giant ball of mucus sitting in the back of my throat, so it's just an irritated sensation, not something I need to try to force out. I had sort of hoped he could vacuum everything out - there was this old-timey machine in the room with me that had all sorts of dials and knobs and I got a picture or two of it, but then was nearly busted when I stood up to get a picture of the slice-o-head that showed a cross-section of your sinuses.

The naso-snozzo-phonography (it had a super long name under one of the switches):
What Does It DO?

The wire-thingy suspending instruments. I first thought they were hooked and sharp, like dental implements, and was very afeard.


Alas, no slice-o-nasal pics for you. Just to mix it up, here's a cross-section drawing of an elephant's head.

posted by PlazaJen, 11:29 AM | link |

Monday, March 26, 2007

If You Are Experiencing A Medical Emergency, Please Stop Reading This Blog.

Do you ever wonder what's happened out there in the Crazy World, when you call in to a doctor's office, and the first thing you hear is, "Welcome to the Offices of Doctors X Y and Z. If this is a medical emergency, please hang up and dial 9-1-1."..... followed then by a list of automated instructions. My primary care doctor's voice greeting has this, as does the Otolaryngologist's office I just called.

Now, I don't know about you, but if I've just cut my leg off with the meat slicer, I am NOT going to call my primary care physician. Or a specialist. First of all, the wasted seconds with the extra numbers (and especially extra if you're crossing state lines with the 816/913 preface you have to enter) could mean the difference between life/death, or stump/re-attached leg. Second of all, do you know how long it can take to get in to see a specialist? It can take weeks! I'm certainly not going to jump around (jump around! jump around! jump up jump up and get down!) until Dr. Whozzits is back from Aruba. Last, but not least, if you can't distinguish between what IS and is NOT a medical emergency, and you need to hear a recording tell you to hang up and call 911? Perhaps you should stump yourself right out of the gene pool, my friend.

In less-scathing news, I am going to a full-fledged Oto- ok, an Ear Nose & Throat guru tomorrow to deal with my post-nasal drip. The coughing is back, and no amount of Zyrtek, antibiotics, or nasal sprays is cutting it. I was driven to purchase one of those sinus irrigation kits yesterday because of my Wikipedia research, thinking perhaps suffering through an elected nasal-irrigation-process would better my situation. I believe it's supposed to be good for you, and it sure does clean out your sinuses. And glamorous - my god, I cannot even begin to describe how glamorous it is. Think vintage Valentino and Cartier diamonds. So, so glamorous. It's akin to the sensation you get when you accidentally get water up your nose - that frightening, horrible pressure - and yet, much to my surprise, you can simply keep breathing through your mouth & the sterile mixture just sails right on out the other nostril. I was searching for a term to describe it ... Sexy? Yes. It is extremely sexy time. You will burst into flames, the hotness is so flammable and ... hot.

And when you're on fire, just make sure you call 911, not a specialist's office.
posted by PlazaJen, 1:48 PM | link |

Saturday, March 24, 2007

BB Fans, Try Not To Cringe....

So, this whole bracket-schmacket schtick has me actually paying ATTENTION to the various games, if only to immediately go to cbs sportsline and check my standings in the office pool. (Currently tied for third, slipped out of a first-place tie tonight and let's just all keep our fingers crossed for a Georgetown upset!)

The problem is, I don't ever watch the games all the way through. And I don't know the "lingo" fluently. Unlike football, I actually knew a little bit about basketball from way-back-when, because we played it in school. (I use the verb "play" extremely loosely. My most distinct memory of playing basketball was having to pull one of the most hideous vests ever created on earth out of a barrel in the appropriate color (usually maroon), made from netting that seemed to retain the sweat and odor of every student before me, stretching back fifty years. Add to that a veritable tackiness in the netting, similar to a rug-gripper you might put down to keep an accent rug in place, so it was vaguely sticky on top of being gross. I pretty much spent most of my time trying not to touch the vest that designated which team I was on. I wasn't exactly what you'd call "rough-and-tumble". "Princessey" has always been a better fit.)

So I know what "dribble" and "travel" and "points" are. But for some reason all my football skills escape me & don't transfer over - two nights ago I stated to my knitting peeps, "Kansas is up by one. I can't follow this flashback they're showing right now." Yes, it's not a REPLAY but a flashback. Tonight JWo started quizzing me. "Do you know what 'traveling' is?" ....mmmm, yeah, I think so, it means you run without bouncing the ball. (I got clarification: two steps without dribbling.) "Do you know what an up-down is?" (When they run up and down the court? No.) There were more, but I can't remember them right now. Rules of the shot clock, whatnot. Suffice it to say, I'll feel a general sense of relief when football rolls back around. HOLDING! That's my favorite.

I think the main reason I'm not sucked in to watching the games? It's STRESSFUL! The scores rocket around and unlike football (usually), these games go right up to the very wire of the second clock, racing down. Talk about nail biters. I might as well take up Home Bomb Disarmament correspondence courses and have less stress in my life. Now, I must confess, I looked at my stats the other day & who was reading my blog? And my little post about the bomb threat at my grade school back in 1976 somehow flagged me for some sort of Terror Filter site. I've now mentioned the word "bomb" twice in one week, so hopefully my next post won't be from Guantanamo Bay. Is that a trigger word too? I'm a little nervous, what with the Patriot Act and all. I have a new business presentation next week, I can't ship out to Cuba! Not to mention monitoring my bracket status.

My hope is for a KU/Ohio State matchup, and the only reason I picked Ohio to win it is because half the office picked KU and frankly, I was hedging my bets. Here's to hoping my picks do a lot of that up-down thing and score a lot of points. Try not to be confused by the flashbacks.


posted by PlazaJen, 11:25 AM | link |

Friday, March 23, 2007

What's My Age Again?

Sorry, gotta pull out the ol' Blink-182, because apparently I can't quite keep track of how old I am. Yesterday, the Kansas City Star published a story featuring 10 local bloggers, and they were kind enough to include me in their feature. I'd gotten a list of about 10 questions to answer, and then some general information about me, including age. I haven't looked at my submission, but because I know this tends to be an ongoing issue with me, I'm assuming for now I sent the wrong age in and it wasn't their typo. For the record? I'm 38 - but my birthday's in less than four months. I didn't even notice it when I read it, and it wasn't until knit night last night when the whole thing came up & someone thought I wasn't 39 yet. With all the societal hooplah that surrounds turning 40, I can only hope I get that one right next year. (It IS next year, right?)
posted by PlazaJen, 6:46 AM | link |

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Spirit of '76

I could have sworn I'd written this little gem up back when I was rolling through the hilarity of small-town gradeschool. I've searched Blogger repeatedly to no avail. So here goes, and my apologies if I repeat myself.

Scene: Third grade. New school. Child of hippies, no television set, livin' a dome home on 121 acres that were home to two other hippie families. Giant communal garden. I wore a lot of corduroy. I think you can understand that even though it was only third grade? I was not destined to be embraced by the small conservative burg of northern Iowa, and indeed, I would embark on the path of class president (bossy), class treasurer (who loves money? Me!), Yearbook and Drama (I carry those skills with me to this day.) The prom queen queue was already full. Anyway, back to third grade. I had spent the previous summer eating Cheerios for breakfast. Every day. Because Cheerios, at the time, was doing a promotion. I'm sure a lot of other companies had jumped on the patriotic bandwagon, since it was 1976, however, I lived in the boonies and didn't have a tv, and was too busy reading The Classics. All I knew was that my mainstay cereal was suddenly putting decals in the box, and I got the brilliant idea to start affixing them to my kelly green lunchbox. I probably had ten long skinny stickers proclaiming "Spirit of 76!" "Bicentennial!" with flag colors all over my lunch box. (My father surely had to see it as some form of jingoism, but thankfully he must have also seen my enraptured excitement at the decoration process, and he let me continue.)
Many a lunch traveled to school, and each day I walked home from the bus down our 1/2 mile lane, swinging my bright green lunch box, admiring my handiwork and embellishment.
Then. One day came, when alarms sounded, and we looked at our teacher's face. Immediately, we knew something was wrong. Our principal came running door-to-door and had a hurried conversation with each teacher. Our classroom was on the third floor, so he was a little out of breath, but all of us saw the stricken look on his face. And our teacher's. He then turned to the class and said, "There's a bomb in the school. I want everyone OUT." Well,hi. We all went into a flippin' panic, and jumped out of our desks, and people (big people, adults) were shouting at us to get in line and evacuate, and I remember my little legs just shaking like they were about to collapse. We grabbed whatever bookbag we had in our desk, exited the building, they moved us all way away from the school, just in case it exploded and the rubble blast took out the normal bus lane, and we were trucked home, about two hours earlier than normal.

Everyone was scared, I remember a couple of boys hoping the school would, indeed, blow up because then we wouldn't have to go to school tomorrow. I was numb, not understanding why someone would want to do this, and then as I got off the bus, it hit me: my lunchbox was still in the classroom. My prized, prized lunchbox. And I bawled the whole way down my gravel lane, and surprised the hell out of my father, who was working in his woodworking studio. "Jennifer! Why are you home so early? What's the matter? What's going on?" And I told him, while snuffling and alternately wiping my nose and my tears.... there was a bomb in the school, and I LEFT MY LUNCHBOX and it's going to BLOW UP. I saw my little lunchbox in pieces in my imagination, burn marks around my decals.

God love my father, but he always approached emotional situations with me like I was 32 and could be completely reasoned with. "Jennifer. It's a lunchbox. It's not that big of a deal." Being an adult, he focused on perhaps the bigger issue: a bomb blowing up our school.

Not me! HI! WHAT PART OF THE WAILING right now tells you it's not a big deal? However his words were usually my cue to suck it up and get it together, and do what I normally did, which was retire to my room and sob into a pillow until I got it all out. My lunchbox. Poor poor lunchbox that had spent its entire summer getting decorated, waiting patiently for another box of cheerios to give up its prize.
Of course the mystery was solved by early evening, as parents all around town received phonecalls informing them that it had been a prank, by a high schooler, who was trying to get out of a test he hadn't studied for, and thought that a bomb scare at the gradeschool would create enough of an uproar and everyone would go home early. He was correct, but he - like so many of us that age - neglected to think through the back end, in which he was caught and in a heapload of trouble.

We returned to school the next day, and there sat my lunchbox on the shelf, exactly where I left it. Intact, every glossy sticker unharmed and in place. I was so relieved!

The only other notable thing that happened that school year (beyond the Snow Queen thing)(oh, and Jeff running away & being chased by the principal in his truck) was that someone brought in a chrysalis, and we watched it daily to see the pale milky green thin and the bright orange monarch wings start to appear, and our teacher told us to make sure to let everyone know when it was opening, so we could all watch this transformation (and learn! it's science!)....and some doofus named Scott noticed the first break in the chrysalis, and watched as the butterfly extricated itself completely, and THEN raised his hand and told the teacher that the butterfly was out and he'd watched the whole thing. I was SO MAD, because I so desperately wanted to see the unfurling, the process, the damp wings being waved for the first time.

I think it's fair to say that I can pretty much trace my desire to punch another person in the face straight back to that moment. What the hell, I should've clocked him upside the head with my Excellent Lunchbox.

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posted by PlazaJen, 7:23 AM | link |

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Valentines of Yester Year

The lunch conversation today swirled towards fashion and how much things have changed over the years - back in OUR day, wearing jelly bracelets meant you were cool like Madonna or Cyndi Lauper, not indicating what you would or wouldn't do with a guy. Friendship pins. Those ribbon-braided metal barrettes, with the long ribbons hanging down from one end. Satin jackets. (Oh, I was the only one at the table with that fad. But what a fad it was, and how we all had to get a different color, but the only one I found was a pale gold, and it had to suffice. I so longed for a bright pink or blue one...) One person would go to garage sales & buy items with the logo (e.g., the "Guess" tag) and her mom would sew them on her jeans. Basically, growing up when I did, we didn't have excessive fashion tastes or needs until 6th grade. We didn't have much money, and I recalled my first real Valentine's Day of grade school (Third grade. Also the year of the Lunchbox Debacle (I'll bring you that tomorrow!), and the year preceding the Snow Queen Drama.) We spent time decorating our boxes/receptacles, and the night before our big party day, there was a realization that nobody had bought any valentines for me to hand out. My mother looked at me and told me I could MAKE them. Well, I've been crafty my entire life, and so I got out a yellow legal pad, and started cutting out hearts. I had my list of schoolmates, and I printed their names on them and said "Happy Valentine's Day" and then signed my name. Eventually, I ran out of paper. So I had to start using the scraps, and I had some valentines that were probably no larger than a matchbook. (I did, however, write on EVERY SINGLE ONE.) I remember staying up past my bedtime to get this done (see? the groundwork for last-minute scrambling was set in the formative years!) and it was only after everyone started putting their store-bought, glossy, colorful valentines into everyone's boxes that I began to second-guess myself. And I felt less-than. Surprisingly, all the shame and dread came from within. Nobody teased me, and in fact, I remember my classmate Steven saying, "Jennifer? Did I get a valentine from you?" And I told him to look again....with a sick feeling in my stomach, because his name began with "W",and I had done my yellow hearts-with-green-lines greetings in alphabetical order. So as time had progressed, and my paper supply dwindled, those folks towards the end of the alphabet got smaller and smaller and smaller pieces of paper. He found his heart, so tiny, with the words curling up around the angled side of it, so it could all fit, and my name on the back, and he held it up and read it and seemed to like it - if only because it was different from all the others.

I remember walking home from the bus, with all my store-bought valentines in my aluminum-foil-covered box, and felt the feeling that would become so familiar in my lifetime: You don't fit in. You're not like us. You don't do things our way. And even in my shame, and the negative things that have happened to me because no, I didn't fit in, or I tried to find a different way to do something, I never stopped being that person. I worked hard on those little hearts, and put my heart into making sure everyone had one from me. Sometimes people want us to be just like them, or do things their way, the storebought valentines and the sameness, because it's comforting, familiar - or because it's all they themselves can do. We are all bound by our own limitations and resources, and even circumstances. How we accept each other - and ultimately, ourselves, is what's really important.

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posted by PlazaJen, 2:09 PM | link |

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Trippin' - Without The Chemical Additives

Holy Moses. I came back to my desk from a meeting, and my iTunes had continued toodling along through my music and had landed on "Kenny Loggins: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow." I do not tell you this to elevate my indie cool. (I have indie cool, dammit. It cannot be eroded by 80's pop stars because I am THAT Teflon about it. I even have some Emo and I'm not gonna SHARE if you make fun of me.)
I got back JUST in time to hear "This Is It", and it was like all my adult problems were gone. I was only 11 when that song came out (1979), and I probably heard it a hundred times on the school bus.

Did you KNOW that Kenny Loggins sang that song about getting back to Pooh Corner? It's enough to make a grown woman weep. I will admit, it was all I could do not to sing along to Every! Single! Song! The album's only halfway through folks, it could still happen. (However, even I recognize the damage to Emo and Indie Cool if I do this. Mortar shells and napalm would do less damage.)

This afternoon ranks right up there with the Michael McDonald day. Yah Mo. I'm Alright. Don't nobody worry about me. I'll put some Amy Winehouse on in a minute and everyone can exhale and put away the Googling for Nervous Hospitals....but let me know if you find one that's stuck in the 80's.


posted by PlazaJen, 4:50 PM | link |

And I Bite Off Their Ears First!

Yay! Operation Haremail is underway!

Swap-bot swap: Operation Haremail
I swap with Swap-bot!

Tammy, over at Polka Dot Mittens, has organized this swap, she is just the sweetest (and a great designer!)
posted by PlazaJen, 10:27 AM | link |

Monday, March 19, 2007

It Wants To Wear A Beekeeper's Hat.

That'd be my work computer. Thankfully, we have a new one on the way, but in the meantime, it's somewhat akin to interacting with a 79-year-old angry woman who is insisting on wearing a beekeeper's hat and a muumu and tries to shout her drive-through order at the post office drop box. I saw that Kristin was sending me a Spark message (our interoffice chat software) and yet? I couldn't open it up. Or rather, I could open it, but all I got was a big white screen. So, I reverted to my Usual Form of Chat Software, which is talking loudly over/through the wall that separates us. I continue to defy the concept of CHAT.

And don't even ask Madge (that's what I'm going to call this computer until she leaves me) if she wants to play the iTunes. I might as well play the autoharp in the deep end of the pool. Freezing, paralysis, general confusion and threats of shutting down completely ensue. I thought perhaps it was just a phobia against "fun" things that make my workday enjoyable, but Madge also has a deep-seated hatred of anything Adobe, and plays russian roulette when I open Excel.

The good news is, my IT folks are fully supportive of an Office-Space-esque Michael Bolton full-on freak out on this machine once Madge II gets here and is up and running. Until then, I'm just going to let her wear her crazy outfits and speak in soothing tones and hope she doesn't spread her gospel of confusion and hatred to the printer/photocopier.


posted by PlazaJen, 11:35 AM | link |

Friday, March 16, 2007

So Many Orts, So Little Time

I have so many things to cover! And they're not one-liner nuggets, either. It's always good to begin the beguine at the beginning, so here we go:

1. My co-workers were treated to me singing "Man In the Mirror" (Clubland Dance 8 Version) this morning. I think my IT neighbor is going to wear his headphones a lot today.

2. I started a new project at knit night last night, which incorporates all my hand-dyed cashmere. It's just soooo soft & lovely. I'm using Axelle's "Klee Scarf" as my inspiration.

3. Speaking of knit night, we had our core group all in one room, and had the conversations we should have had months ago. Groups are interesting, and I think women in general tend to over-think and analyse and run through relationship scenarios, and ultimately make assumptions based on those brain-whirrings. Turns out there were some misconceptions all around the table, and it was really cleansing and positive to just get everything out. And realize how, even through our diversity, we all share many of the same goals and values. Yarn being right at the top of that list!

4. Speaking of hand-dyeing, I spent an afternoon at Kristin's a while back & slogged through a lot of yarn (and a lot of dye....uh, I over-use the dye) to get some really pretty stuff. It's fun to see how it ultimately turns out....


5. I decided to take a gander at my StatCounter search terms, because it's always entertaining. Turns out someone is out there with a serious Bejeweled issue. Kind gamer soul, I hope you find the help you need. Another wants drive-thru sushi? And then there's the great open-casket-material quote. Search on, internet, search on.

6. There's still a lot more coming, but it all takes time. Knitting my soul back together and untangling all the knots of anger, pain, sadness..... I am tied for second place in the basketball thing, so I'm trash talking and laughing my head off when I'm asked how I went about making my picks. I'd like to keep the mystery alive for a day..... but the truth is, I just picked mostly higher-rated teams and threw in some random upsets that are bound to happen - and it turns out, so far, I've been lucky. It's about time. Y'hear that, you little leprauchan? Gimme some good luck for a change!

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posted by PlazaJen, 9:42 AM | link |

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Plenty of Madness....Just A Different Kind.

So, everyone's all about the basketball. The entire office gathered at lunch to eat D'Bronx pizza, salads, brownies the size of a small child, and watch the basketball game. Since we're also participating in one of the bracket-thingy competitions on-line, complete with a message alert feature for trash-talking, I have a vague interest, but listen up, it's not like somebody started frying bacon in the kitchen. This stuff is just an excuse to squawk and participate in Office Stuff, because I may know something about football, and could follow baseball if I had an inspiring team, I do not give a rat's patoot about basketball. I literally feel my eyes lose their focus when it's on and I start to go to my Happy Place. Which today included a really good balsamic vinaigrette, and a fantastic chocolate brownie.


posted by PlazaJen, 1:59 PM | link |

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I'm not stopping. wwwwwervvpp.

I've been up since 5 a.m. Bleah. Who likes getting up early? There are you crazy kooks, I know, and yes, my husband is not only able to get up early, he gets wherever he's going at least 10 minutes early. Oy. The Overachieving. But I woke up this morning, and the voices in my brain started up, much like the birds in the backyard, who are SO confused with the daylight savings times, they are just up! and chirping! and talking! and having an avian hootenanny complete with coffee and fresh biscuits. And the voices were NOT at all interested in going back to sleep. So we all got up and despite my best attempts to engage in all activities that result in me being late, like playing on the computer for half an hour, I still got to work at 8 a.m. Including time for a Chik-Fil-A breakfast biscuit stop. (The birds have theirs, I wanted one too!) The grass has not grown under my feet since. I have gotten all Jedi-Knight about things and I am wwwwwwervvvpping (that's the sound the light saber makes) and blazing and while I'm not cutting anybody's legs off, I am Gettin! Stuffs! Done! Both of my co-workers accused me of sucking their own personal fire out of them and appropriating it for myself.

I could be over-compensating for the fact that my whole post-dad estate situation is essentially out of my hands, and I'm making sure that the things I CAN control? Are about as deftly handled and resolved like a Jujitsu sensei. Yeah, I'm now mixing asian martial arts with Star Wars. What I really want to do is handle one of those big fighting stick thingies like Uma Thurman had in Kill Bill (I & II). (whaaawhawhaawhaaaa is the sound those things make.)

You have no idea how much I could accomplish.
(Laughter, for one thing. Riotous, pant-wetting laughter from all around.)
posted by PlazaJen, 2:34 PM | link |

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Justice is Blind

I wasn't even required to show up for jury duty! YAHOO! If Lady Justice (and her exposed boobage) could have seen me dancing last night, she probably would have penalized me and made me show up, just to spite me. Good thing she's blind! Now I can attend all my meetings instead of quietly freaking out in my control-freakish way.

Random quotes from the weekend -
"If I had a dick, this is where I'd tell you to suck it," uttered by nobody other than Betty White in the very very dreadful movie Lake Placid. We were too lazy to change channels (sometimes that remote, it's just so burdensome) and the box was tuned to AMC movies. They bleeped both words ending in "ck" but we still got the gist. Golden AND spunky!

"You're not exactly open casket material yourself" - I believe this was on Sunday's Simpsons.

"Jennifer, your phone just did the Humpty Dance." - Kristin's husband, Justin.

Yes, I admit it. I switched from Justin Timberlake (Sexy Back) to some old school. The Humpty Dance! Do your dance! Do the Hump! Making a decision about a ringtone is enormous for me. It's that it's SO frivolous, and stupid, and yet, still important all at the same time. It harkens back to the days when we'd elaborately construct our answering machine messages, and I'd stand over the machine, timing my words around various songs ("Havin' a Heat Wave" in the middle of Minnesota winter was one of my finer accomplishments. That and "Day-O".) I just want my ring tone to reflect me/my tastes/something more than a Casio-keyboard ditty, which is all my phone seems to have. And because they're $2 apiece, I have to agonize over every single one that might remotely be the "right one". I've had "No Phone" by Cake, "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode, "Hung Up" (Madonna), "Fly Away" (Lenny Kravitz) as the more notable tones over the years; the problem is when you get a new phone, the tones disappeared. So it all becomes a cost equation that means I only get a new ringtone like, 3x per year. Maybe I am so scroogy about it because that's like, not even one skein of Noro. Now, if I could convert this song to a ringtone, we'd have the perfect solution: Knitta PLEASE! Old school AND knitting. Just. Like. Me.


posted by PlazaJen, 11:13 AM | link |

Monday, March 12, 2007

Civic Doody

I have to call a phone number tonight to see if I have to report for jury duty tomorrow. Joy! Why do these things happen when there's already 800 things going on? I'm all about being civic-minded and being responsible, and lord knows, when I was on that jury when I lived in St. Louis, I was not only an excellent juror (elected forewoman to boot, always an over-achiever, I'll blog it at some point...), I take the process extremely seriously. Maybe because of my deep-seated fear I will be accused of a crime I didn't commit and there won't be a handy-dandy CSI team to clear up the mistake in under an hour. And, let me tell you, the idea of "jury of your peers" is a scary one. Three jurors fell asleep during our jury trial (granted, they'd turned the a/c off, in July, in St. Louis, but still!), and the guy seated by me had just barely cleared the IQ test to stay in the mainstream classroom. At least that was the only explanation I was left with, because he was so stupid I wanted to punch him in the face. Behavior unbefitting a jury forewoman, so I refrained.

So, no, I don't want the general masses holding my fate in my hands while they rush to end early so they can get home to the doublewide and catch the latest episode of Smackdown. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my services will NOT be required. Otherwise, I have to cancel multiple appointments, and work from home at night.

I did rather enjoy the photo they have on the website, making jury duty look worthwhile and exciting. SELL it, baby!

(Note the man trying to stay awake by grabbing the bridge of his nose. (I do that trick myself!) These people need an ad agency! Let's make jury duty sexy! Or at least as riveting as an hour of "24".....)
posted by PlazaJen, 10:56 AM | link |

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Spring Cleaning....

Well, if you read my blog via Bloglines, you might be wondering what in HELL this girl's a-doin'. I've been doing a little brushing, scrubbing & cleaning up of the ol' blog, because there's the possibility I'm going to be included in an upcoming article on local bloggers. And there haven't been a ton of adjustments/edits/removal of posts - I'm happy with where I work, and most of the negative stuff I say about other people seems to involve bad drivers or customer service issues. I just want to make sure I'm not unintentionally pissing anyone off. Good thing I'm pretty much what-you-see-is-what-you-get! What I write and put out on the internets is 99% what you'd get if you started talking to me on that day. Bottom line, everyone who DOES know me, knows I'm smart, crazy, and looking for humor at every turn. I like to think so, anyway. :)

However, I seem to have a blind spot still, and going back through the past year's worth of posts (and pictures) was a bit daunting. I watched the transformation of posts go from squirrelly, ranting goofball to the insanity and grief with my dad's cancer & death. Kudos to you for continuing to read.

Speaking of humor, you know that feeling inside, when you have to pretend you like this person who has power (like a hated boss, or your father-in-law or someone who can give you something you need but may decide on a whim not to?), and you feel your face move into a smile that isn't genuine from the inside, but still appears like a smile on the surface? Sometimes that's what laughing has felt like since he died. It hasn't been that the emotion itself was false, and I've had some crazy times where my stomach ached from laughing, but there was this other piece inside me that frowned, that stood to the side and shook it's head, making the other part (the part laughing) feel false, awkward, uncomfortable. I assume it's all part & parcel of this process. People ask, "So! What's going on?! What's the latest & greatest?" And I feel this dead flatness inside as I force myself to smile and say, "Oh, you know! Spring's coming!" (What the hell kind of answer is that, anyway?) Because we can't spend the rest of our lives weeping and not laughing and instead answering, "Death! That's what happened! My dad's dead and all of this post-death stuff SUCKS! I got the short end of the stick and I'm angry!" I mean, you could? But it would REALLY bring down the mood, and it'd probably keep you stuck in that bad place for a really long time.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I'm not an adept liar, and I'm not terribly great at forced joviality. So that's been my challenge. My dear friend & I decided we would both "fake-it-'til-we-make-it" in respect to our individual situations. It's sort of working, and right now? It's all I've got.

The day before my dad died, I posted these words. They are still gorgeous, and continue to be true.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.
-- Emily Dickinson

Spring's coming.
Bring on the perching songbirds.

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posted by PlazaJen, 2:27 PM | link |

Friday, March 09, 2007

Fish Fridays

Two weeks ago, the Wo and I were struggling to come up with dinner plans that sounded agreeable to both of us. Then, like a message from above, a KFC Fish Snacker commercial came on....and he looked at me and said, "Wanna go to a fish fry?"
My eyes widened, partly in fear, mostly in excitement. Having been raised without any organized religion, these Friday night Fish Fries always seemed off-limits to me. Off we went. And it's become our new Friday night thing! So I'm going to write up our experiences and reviews. I'll also say that nobody's peppered me with any questions (my biggest fear - "HI! Do you go to church here?") and we've had a grand time.

Friday February 23, 2007 - St. Thomas', 118th & Holmes. Fundraiser for the Boy Scouts.
Cost: $8/person, all you can eat.
The fare included baked fish & fried. The fried fish was far superior to the baked, though had we added lemon to the baked, it might have been tastier. You also can choose from beans, corn, rolls, french fries, coleslaw & boiled buttered potatoes. For those watching their sodium, everything seemed to be prepared with an absence of salt, which I suppose is always the best way to go - add your own until it suits your taste! (This coming from the boullion cube queen.) There was also cheese pizza, more for the kids I guess.

Pretty tame. There were a few kids running around, and the noise was what you'd expect from 60 people dining and sitting together. It wasn't difficult to find a seat. We sat with an adorable older couple who only needed a couple of pointy red hats to become garden gnomes. They were silent, and so were we.

A fundraiser for the local Girl Scouts troop. This was certainly the highlight of the night, as I went up to buy us a couple plates of...something. One older girl saw me coming and immediately stood up and greeted me. She was very formal and pulling out all her adult-like behavior. I inquired about what was popular, and she steered me to the pumpkin pie, saying it was "quite good tonight." Then I was asked by another scout, if perhaps I wanted whipped cream on it. I looked at her, grinning up at me with braces and clutching the can of Reddi-Whip with barely-contained enthusiasm. "Of course!" She grinned even wider and asked, "A little? ...Or a LOT?" Oh, certainly a lot. This was the moment they were waiting for. After dispensing the whipped cream onto our piece of pie, the girl seated next to her immediately got the can away from her. Turns out, they were taking turns, and I knew that I'd made a good choice picking pie. We got a brownie as well & took that home - all-in-all, the best $2 worth of entertainment I've had in a long time.

End Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5) We'd go back.

Stay tuned! Next review: Friday March 2, 2007 - Church of the Nativity, 119th & Mission.

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posted by PlazaJen, 10:06 AM | link |

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Lunch Today

I went to lunch at Kona Grill today, with my very enjoyable, sushi-loving reps. Sometimes you go out and you have lunches where yeah, you get a few pieces, and then you get a "regular" entree. Not with these guys. It's all sushi, straight up & keep it coming. One dude has a hollow leg, we swear. He's not a big guy, but MAN, he can put the sushi away.

When they brought the platters, we were all just agog at the beauty of it all. I took a pic with my cameraphone, and despite knowing just how much it will pain my husband, I have to share it. Sorry, hon.... if it makes any difference, I knew how much you would have loved it?

Sushi Lunch 3-8-07


posted by PlazaJen, 2:09 PM | link |

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Life Lesson #742

Truly, and we've heard it for years, decades even, it's not a good idea to grocery shop when you're hungry. I knew this, and still - went anyway. I needed to pick up buns (we were having brats for dinner), a vegetable, and fries.

When I got to the store, I'd already sat in a huge line at the CVS drive-thru, staring at the Volvo-driving woman who'd cut me off two miles earlier & lo & behold, here she'd reappeared to sit in front of me at the drive through, life's little ironies, and she didn't understand that these days, you don't have to sign on credit cards at the pharmacy if, like, the amount's under $1,000, so she just sat in the lane for seven more minutes until I think someone finally told her to leave. I was also tired from my day of coughing fits & well, you know, a day of work. So I added some additional qualifiers to the life lesson of not grocery shopping while hungry: Don't shop when you're tired, sick, and filled with self-pity. Because it will go something like this: you will sail right by things you need. You double back. You grow even more tired and filled with self-pity, and this cycle continues so that by the time it's frozen-food-aisle time, your ability to pick and choose with any semblance of logic or needs-based thinking is absolutely shot to hell. Plus you're hungry. Seriously, I came |this| close to buying the party-sized box of cheddar jalapeno poppers. And had they been filled with cream cheese? It wouldn't have even been a debate. As it was, I got three kinds of french fries (they were on sale!), two cartons of ice cream (no sugar added & extra churned! and on sale!), and then two boxes of asian appetizer thingies (on sale!) because I wanted to rip open the box and gnaw on them Right! This! Minute!

Which totally would've made me the crazy lady at the grocery store. There's always one. If only I'd been wearing my pajamas.
posted by PlazaJen, 1:27 PM | link |

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Turning Whine into Wine

Whenever I think about what I could blog about lately, it all feels like a gigantic WHINE. I'm still coughing from this crap drizzling down the back of my throat, I'm still kvetching through post-dad-death stuff, my computer at work is selectively deciding what it WILL and WON'T do for me, and then throughout it all, there's crazy non-stop knitting. I suppose if I got a little more motivation (and wasn't dragging-ass tired every night from coughing/lack of sleep/more coughing/bitching/kvetching and whining) I could take some pictures and show that indeed, I continue to progress on the Bayerische socks, that in the time I've done 16 rows (on each sock - always always do I knit socks two at a time), I've started & finished a pair of socks out of Tiny Toes yarn, procured last fall on the Wedding Trip across Iowa. I've also made one baby item, with another one needing to be finished, for the lovely new bambino Sammy. But you can't have pictures of that until they've been gifted!

As far as the Anger Management tour goes (that's how I think of it in my head) - I've had some serious rage-aholic times the past few months, and I'm trying to stop myself when it feels like my head is going to explode right off my body in a Monty-Python-esque skit. I was challenged the other day at lunch, when our waitress disappeared and never refilled my drink or really, brought the check until she finally noticed the laser beams shooting out of my eyes. I almost had to use those laser beams on the jackasses sitting near us who had their phones on "high ring" and kept getting calls all through lunch. And then the jackass (same lunch hour) that cut me off in traffic and proceeded to slow down/speed up and basically make me crazy as we went for a Starbucks.
Like I said, it's getting better, but I still have some challenging days, when I want to rip off the offender's hands and beat them with them, violate their corpse and RUIN YOU! AH AH AH! (this is a reference to the SNL Barry Gibb Talk Show skit. I find it helps to channel Jimmy Fallon in times of extreme rage.)

In other news, hopefully more interesting than me being a big fat raging whiner, JWo has begun full-on garden preparation. He is going to plant seeds tonight, and has all sorts of little plants growing in our breezeway under the grow lights. I do get a thrill seeing the tomato plants, because they signify that great moment in time when we can abandon grocery-store produce, for even the cherry or grape tomatoes this time of year are sadly lacking that tart-sweet acidity and full flavor that only comes from the garden.

Oh, and I discovered this weekend my neice makes picklesicles. She actually takes pickle juice & freezes it in a popsicle mold. A quick Google of this shows she is not alone. None of us are, no matter how much we think we are, sometimes!!!
posted by PlazaJen, 12:35 PM | link |

Friday, March 02, 2007

Thousand Posts of Light....

....well, maybe not exactly points of light, but this does mark my 1,000'th Blogger post. Probably why I didn't post yesterday, because I was feeling like this post should be a little more pithy than pissy.

A couple weekends ago, emotions were high and the seas were turbulent. At the time, I hated it, but I like some of the things that came from it, particularly my mental short list that seemed to have gotten lost at sea quite some time ago. That short list is the Priority List. No matter what you put on yours, we should always have the same thing in #1.
#1. Me
#2. My marriage
#3,#4, & #5: Job, Friends, Dogs (with movement among those numbers, depending on circumstances)
#6. All the rest of it.

I don't even have #6 on my mental list. My point is that as awkward as it seems, putting me first has got to be the governing principle of my life. What makes it feel awkward is that I always joke about being selfish and self-centered and being an only child and not sharing, but the truth is that even though I want what I want (and I want it now), I can easily become paralyzed by the wants/needs/wishes/judgement of others. And when you're swimming in a big unfamiliar sea of grief, being paralyzed doesn't help you swim. It helps you sink. (And I'm seriously not referencing Grey's Anatomy here AT ALL, though I see there are some parallels. My anguish and realizations came before those aired.)

I know I used the jungle/forest metaphor the other day, and now I'm mixing it up with a big ocean visual. Right now, I want to get to that point where you drag your tired body up on the beach and look back at what you survived and marvel that you did, indeed, make it. For the first time in quite some time, I feel my will to live has been re-energized. I tell you this because I do think it's normal to lose it (it being many things - joy, will to live, sight of what's important, a longer view, your priorities), and it takes a sizable chunk of time to sort it all out. I've stopped crying all the time - I realized this morning I would cry in the car, every day, on my way to work. It's been weeks since I cried, but today I got the little pinpricking of tears in my eyes, as a line from a song floated into recognition in my brain. I share it with you, because it fits so well with this stage of my life. The song overall is not as applicable, which made it even more surprising to have the words hit me so hard.

We'd never know what's wrong without the pain
Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same

--from "All at Once" by The Fray

Thanks for reading, and commenting, and your personal e-mails. I write this blog for my own therapy, and my desire to entertain and write creatively, and sometimes, hopefully, even articulately. Knowing someone else reads these words makes me work harder to make them worthwhile. Things are looking up. So am I.

Looking Up

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posted by PlazaJen, 8:47 AM | link |