PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Weeeeeeell....... it's kinda right. In a few places.

You Are A Fir Tree

You love anything beautiful, and you have extraordinary taste.
And while it's hard for you to trust, you care deeply for those close to you.
You are a social butterfly, and you have many friends.
You handle stress well - and you are a master at relaxing after a hard day.
Overall, you are modest, talented, unselfish, and very reliable.
What's Your Celtic Horoscope?
posted by PlazaJen, 1:17 PM | link |

Friday, June 29, 2007

We're Going To Get Us The Best Old Folk's Home Possible. With A Basement.

My knitting crew jokes about us all growing old together, and getting rooms next to each other when our time comes to be ..... moved there. Of course, I hope the Wo will be moving there with me, though they will probably take his shotgun from him, because I don't expect him to ever want to stop shooting ducks, or for that matter, evil squirrels. And as long as he has access to a window, a sniper shack can be established.

I think it would be nice if my friend Kyra gets an adjoining room to me, maybe we could have a little sitting room between us, where we both wander in and start to talk about our knitting, and our yarn collections (which are conveniently housed in an on-site POD the size of a barn.) I'm thinking about her right now because I just had a little take-out, on which I put a wee bit too much of the Sriracha hot chili sauce, and my tongue is SPEAKING FLAMENCO. Holy crap. She did this on Tuesday, and I laughed at/with her. Man. Karma, such a bitch.

We had some good laughs last night, at knit night, and most of them I don't remember, because my head is a sieve. OH, yes, Miss Kyra has a cell phone that's so old it's got the TMJ or something similar, essentially, it's a rotary phone meets a bag phone and they got shrunken. So her phone company is making her get a new one, and we had some good times imagining if she'd wanted to make her current phone more bluetooth, perhaps involving a colander and some wire antennae. (Speaking of blueteeth, let's just all pinky swear we're not going to get those little headsets, and if we do? Let's not wear them unless you're actually ON A CALL. It's just too Star-Trekky for me.)

I'm as fallible as my pal, having had an entire conversation before lunch with Kristin about how I was SO HAPPY Leslie made me her friend on Ravelry, because I've been trying to make friends all over that damn thing, and when people don't friend me back, I am - how do you say? - crestfallen. Which I intellectually comprehend is absolutely stupid. BUT! Crestfallen! You are so familiar! You were with me during all my formative years! And so, ok, back to the conversation, I said it would really stink if people I actually KNEW and counted as knitty friends rejected me. And then? Three hours later? I chirped at Kristin, "Leslie's on Ravelry! She made me her friend!" And didn't believe her when she said I'd already told her this.

YAY! Dementia, glad to meetcha! How about staying in the basement. Downstairs.

But you know what I haven't forgotten? Everything James has ever done. (Just ask him. He'll say it's true.) OR the plumber. That fucker better have my shower fixed by my birthday or there will be a cognitive holy jihad unleashed on him (once I get the broken part back, because if he isn't going to fix it, I'm not going to get medieval on his ass until I have the bad part, I may be irritated, and I may be forgetful, but I'm not stupid.) I am enjoying James' shower, he has the kick ass shower head, and he also has Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap, but really, if you had two forms and I had to sign one? My name would be written, in Sharpie, on the one labeled, "I DON'T LIKE TO SHARE." I am an only child. And I want my assortments of choices back. And my shower radio, even if it's still tuned to the horrid morning show I can barely stand. (I keep forgetting to change it. And am ambivalent about the music offerings on other stations. The music is the big piece. So stasis, it wins again.) Oh, did you know Dr. Bronner's soaps are magic? James really likes the soap & it's helped his skin. When he was singing its praises (right before our forced ShowerShare2007) I accused James of talking to the bottle in the shower, and that the soap is his friend, not mine. (See, this friend thing? It runs through EVERYthing...>)

Seriously, I just scrolled up to try to remember what in hell this post was about. (My plumber-anger distracted me. And the soothing sounds of Tracy Chapman are barely a poultice because he said he would call me back THIRTY-FIVE minutes ago. ARGH! He is totally doing this so he doesn't have to drive out today to fix it. Unhinged! I am becoming! I CAN NOT HAS SHOWER!) I better just end for the day. I'm really glad it's Friday.

OMG, our intern just brought her Corgi puppy in. Puppies (and peppermint soap) are pretty magical.
posted by PlazaJen, 1:15 PM | link |

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Swimming Lessons

There are very few childhood memories that I have that aren't somehow linked, inextricably, to either of my parents. I think the reason is that most of the memories are split between the fact they were actually there & involved, or because I was fearful/excited/triumphant, awaiting their reaction to what I had done. We were enmeshed, sometimes good, sometimes bad.

This one has nothing to do with them whatsoever. Well, in a roundabout way, but so much less than the usual dosing.

The school organized swimming lessons each summer, and we would board a big yellow bus in the morning, to be transported the 11 miles or so to the next, larger, town that had an actual swimming pool. I love water, I love to swim, say what you will about horoscope signs (Cancer!), I've always adored a pool. Wanted one my whole life, and of course it took being much older to even comprehend that pools aren't "magic", they don't clean themselves, adjust their chemicals automatically, BLAH BLAH BLAH. The beauty of swimming lessons, when I was 8, was a morning of instruction, followed by an afternoon of exhilarating play, with TIMED BREAKS FOR SNACKS. God, the concession stand at the pool was the greatest. Push-ups, Fun Dip and those tubes of frozen syrup (that you tore the corner off with your teeth) are the ones that float to the top of my memory pile. Then the whistle would blow and those of us who had to ride the bus back to be collected by our parents would heed the yell of the chaperone, and off to the locker room we'd go, changing out of our suits if we felt like it - other times, just going with the towel-wrap, or throwing on shorts, for the bus ride.

You can see where this is going, can't you?

I would rather stay in a wet suit than put dry clothes on a wet body. And so I threw on my shorts, probably my t-shirt as well, and then tucked my flowered underpants into my towel and marched off to the bus. Where I sat down, in my middle-of-the-bus seat, and looked out the window. Suddenly, from the other side of the bus, through the windows, a commotion unfurled. Like a pair of underpants becoming unfolded. Suddenly, there was a pair of blue floral underwear being thrown about amongst the boys, still filing out from the pool and towards the bus. Underpants that looked extremely familiar. A quick check of my towel confirmed they were, indeed, my underpants. Icy horror filled my torso, starting at my stomach, and seeping out to my limbs, causing utter paralysis.

The shouts of "Jennifer's Underwear!" broke me loose from my frozen state. Some fellow girl swimmer had apparently identified them from seeing them on me that morning. Traitor! What to do? They were my underpants! We didn't have much money, it wasn't like they were disposable. A brief flash of my mother's disapproval vanished. I had the course of action within a fraction of a second: Utter Denial. Absolutely not my underpants. Never seen 'em. The boys wanted to play keep-away from me with them, which quickly lost its charm when I showed absolutely no interest in trying to get them. I recall one of them wore them on his head, which in retrospect (and 31 years of distance from THAT particular moment of horror) is hilarious - and made him look utterly stupid, but I had no choice but to stick with my plan. I stoically sat down, faced forward and composed my poker face of steel. Which I'm pretty sure was complemented by a beet-red face. Everyone knew they were mine, including me, but I refused to own them.

I didn't care if my mother would be mad - one of the few times in my childhood where my fear of her was eclipsed by my own decision. I didn't really care what I had to tell her, that they were lost, purloined by gnomes, whatever, I was simply not going to endure the mockery of my floral pantaloons. Ultimately, a "big kid" (someone in junior high) stepped in and took them from the kid wearing them like a flowery Rasta hat, and handed them back to me. I said nothing, (still on some level denying they were mine!) but eventually shoved them into the folds of my towel, my face showing, I'm sure, my pain and awkwardness with the situation. My drama with my mother avoided; my drama with my peers forever branded on my memory.

I look back and am not surprised the boys threw my underwear around, having a heyday and reveling in the chance to tease and torture. They'd have done the same thing if I was their sister - but of course with no siblings of my own, I had no frame of reference, except to feel horribly tortured. That said, I also remember the sense of kindness and lack of judgment the big kid (a girl) had when she retrieved my undies, how she had had enough of their antics and stepped in firmly to end it and restore some dignity (or at least my underpants) to me. I was always grateful, even though I couldn't express it at the time - probably because I was trying too hard not to cry!

It's funny how things that happened over 30 years ago can feel as live and real and palpable as if they happened yesterday. Our brain's filing system is extraordinary! And obviously better than hiding yer underpants in a towel.


posted by PlazaJen, 2:06 PM | link |

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hi, So, Um, Yeahhhhh......

Oh mah god. It was like a little calm? And then another storm. I think it's the whole "meetings" thing that gets me off my game, more so than a pile of work. Because it's not like paper doesn't stop shooting out of the pneumatic tube when I'm not at my desk! (Dude. I totally don't have a pneumatic tube, and if I did, they would probably disable it, because I would be constantly testing the Power of the Pneumatics, and dropping things like Goldfish, Werther's Originals, and pencils into it, to see just how well it worked.)

Let's see. I have some random orts, but I have no idea if I'll remember 'em all, because my brain has been tempura-battered, put on a shish-ka-bob, and fried beyond recognition.

1. Greatest line ever, last night: "What do we need a big-screen tv for when we got two pop cans an' a dog?" Because I was half-torturing, half-delighting Polly with two empty Fresca cans by rattling them like maracas in her general direction. She is skittish around the unfamiliar, yet she understood on some level it was ok, and playful, so she was leaping around, and curling up her nose more than I've ever seen her do, EVER. So I couldn't stop doing it. GOOD TIMES! But I'm not canceling cable anytime soon.

2. Hm. Wonder what they were. OH YEAH. I am one of the lucky, who got an account on Ravelry, and Kristin reminds me fairly regularly that I am not using it to its greatest potential. And then I feel guilty, because it's like driving right on by the homeless and so I have tried to step it up. One of those steps involved making EVERYONE MY FRIEND. At least everyone who has a blog that I read, and is on Ravelry, and then some folks who are knitting cool stuff and then some other folks that the Ravelry Wizardry kept suggesting I be friends with, because of our shared interests and whatnot in colors and patterns and so I added a lot of people and felt a little crazy doing it. But also a little crestfallen when people didn't make me their friend back. So really, one wee lesson is that high school/elementary school never leaves us. BUT, I am older, and a smidge more Teflon, and so I trundle along and whistle and never you mind that those are my underpants being thrown around on the school bus because I'm grown up now and I CAN BUY MORE.

3. So you probably want to know what that underpants reference was. That's a good post in of itself. Now that I wrote about in passing, I'll do the full story, this week. Promise.

4. It's not the only embarrassing underpants story involving school buses. Sigh. You think I bought my Teflon at the store? Hmmm? I EARNED IT, through fire and blisters and underpants stories.

5. It's hot and I hate it. The only way I can be on the computer upstairs is a Fan Trifecta - window fan, big fan behind me, little fan blowing at my head. Which makes my eyes dry out like nobody's bidness.

6. I listened to some classic Dr. Dre today (when I wasn't in a meeting, doing that in a meeting could be problematic...Yes, this is Jennifer & she fancies herself a GANGSTAH).... anyway, the music brought back some fond memories of my dear friends Liz, Ashley & I totally head-bobbing to it on full blast as we pulled into the company picnic. Sometimes my parallels to Michael Bolton (of Office Space, PUHLEEZE) are far too real for comfort. Though speaking of the OTHER Michael Bolton, I once pulled a cheesy, dramatic, eyes-shut hair-blowing hands-gesturing-upwards-passionately full-page b/w photo out of Entertainment Weekly & put a note on it that said "Michael Bolton Is My WORLD!!!!" and hung it outside another analyst's cube at the big agency I worked at in Minneapolis. The beautiful thing is that she didn't even notice it for days. I still get a little high-pitched giggle inside when I remember that one.....

Well, that's pretty good for not remembering half of what I wanted to say. God help y'all if I ever get it all down at once.
Yo. Up wif Teflon. Down wit' bitch knittaz. An shorties. Scrubs. Whatevah.


posted by PlazaJen, 7:26 PM | link |

Monday, June 25, 2007

Melancholia Cocktail

Things are good, don't jump anywhere based on that title. I'm ok, doing fine, and had a nice visit with my Auntie Karen this past weekend. She stated a couple times how relieved she was to see me with her own two eyes (identical to mine!) and to see that I was, in fact, doing ok. Making it through this crazy thing called ... life (thanks Prince). Here's my Monday Mixed Metaphor for ya.

Sometimes, when we have periods or eras or just plain ol' chunks of times in our lives that are filled with unhappiness and pain, we find once we extract ourselves from the moment, we are quite content to sit on the bank, rest among the mint and the jewel weed, and barely keep our toes in the water. The visual in my head is the creek I played in while growing up, the water that came around the bend and pooled, filled with trout & crawdads, a tree hanging over shading the water - water so still on the surface but ever-constant in its flow, sluicing over the rocks we piled for a crossing. Even though the water is moving, stasis exists on the bottom. And when we re-enter the pool, and we feel the movement, the water pooling around our legs, our feet disappear. Rocks shift, adjusting to our weight. The moss and dirt that has settled, undisturbed until now, is pushed out of place and muddies the clearness. No matter how strong we are, how firm the ground feels under our feet - even in the riverbed - it takes a moment, or four, to regain clarity.

That's how I feel right now, my memories and emotions have been stirred, it is to be expected, and while the mud between my toes no longer pulls at me like a quicksand, it is both familiar and foreign, and like the mud, I am vaguely unsettled. Small bubbles rise, and I wade back to the bank, to peruse the water and the slightly disturbed creek bed.

Last night as I waited for sleep to come, I thought about all of this swirling as a drink, one part sadness, two parts memories, shaken or stirred, a rim of sugar & salt together, the juice of something equally tart and sweet, and I kept coming back to one ingredient that simply can't be incorporated: bitters.
Ah, the bitters. They do like to come out of the cabinet, and they ache to be a part of this cocktail, the Melancholia, even if only by rinsing the shaker with a half-jigger. Sometimes I don't succeed, and sometimes I even have a liberal hand with the bottle. But I know as the metaphor goes, they are best left corked.

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posted by PlazaJen, 11:17 AM | link |

Thursday, June 21, 2007

No Tagging, Just Fun, and OH MY GOD WHEN WILL THIS DAY BE OVER?!

It's 4:30. Here is my workday:
Type, type, type. Furiously on an RFP.
Client Meeting. It was good, informative, but I had to excuse myself to go to the dentist, and I felt bad about leaving. But I was going to get my permanent crown! And it wasn't terrible, it had some zinging moments, but everything's in, cemented down, and beyond the water/air pain on the exposed tooth before it was cemented down, the worst part was the cement stuck to the tooth behind it, and the serious efforts three hands made (IN MY MOUTH) to get floss through it to chunk it out. Dandy!
Came back to work, ate a sandwich while I continued to bang out my portion of the proposal, talked to the plumber, it's going to be another week because his ordering person got the wrong part, hung up the phone & had a little stress-cry because something had to crack and I've already had a tooth & a valve part crack on me, why not be next? Then I finished the RFP, dashed off to another client meeting, and now I'm back at my desk, having knocked out a couple more important must-get-done-now projects - and am waiting for a couple reps to get back to me - and then I go to the airport to collect my dear Auntie. So I'm a little fried. In that vein, I give you a little game I espied over on Bag'n'Trash:

The game is SCATTERGORIES, and it’s harder than it looks!
Here are the rules:

Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following. They MUST be real places, names, things…NOTHING made up! If you can’t think of anything, skip it. Try to use different answers if the person before you had the same 1st initial. You CAN’T use your name for the boy/girl name question. Have fun!

Your Name: Jennifer

1. Famous Singer/Band: Janis Joplin (note the double J's there, mmm-hm!)

2. 4 letter word: Jerk

3. Street: Johnson Drive

4. Color: Jade

5. Gifts/Presents: Jewelry

6. Vehicle: Jetta

7. Things in a Souvenir Shop: Jigsaw Puzzles

8. Boy Name: James!

9. Girl Name: Jessica

10. Movie Title: Jurassic Park

11. Drink: Jack Daniels

12. Occupation: Janitor

13. Celebrity: Janet Jackson

14. Magazine: Jane

15. U.S. City: Juneau

16. Pro Sports Teams: Jacksonville Jaguars

18. Reason for Being Late for Work: Jitters (?) !

19. Something You Throw Away: Junk

20. Things You Shout: Jesus!!!!

21. Cartoon Character: Jerry (of Tom and Jerry!)

I'm not tagging anyone - if you want to do it, put it on your page & leave me a comment so we can all pop over & read yours!

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posted by PlazaJen, 4:25 PM | link |

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Time Shifting

I've noticed that I've had absolutely no time for my usual mid-morning/noon blogging. Damn work! Gettin' in the way and all! My pre-work mornings have been spent plodding on the treadmill, watching the back episodes of The Office. It's the perfect 20-minute walk, and I usually bark-laugh at least twice per episode. I think the big reason I couldn't find it funny when it started was because I was still so uber-bitter about the Previous Employer, and nothing related to Previous Employer was entertaining, it only served to give me something to sharpen my teeth & claws on. Like little shots of vitriol, or um, bamboo shoots under the fingernails. Plus, the Wo doesn't find it very funny - probably because he doesn't work in an office? Or it's just that one little pie-shaped area where our humors don't mesh. I Can Has Cheezburger is a perfect example of another resident on that pie slice. Not all of those posts make me laugh, but some? Crack my shiznit UP, and he just throws his hands up in the air at me, befuddled. Or else he tries to imitate it, hoping for a laugh, and he only succeeds in sounding like Jar-Jar Binks. We-sa no-sa needs-a thatsa! (Which also sounds like something Michael from the Office might try to say, in an attempt at humorous leadership!)

So the knitting: A finished Bathtime Blossom washcloth!
Bathtime Blossoms

The start of the Monkey Socks!
Monkey Socks!!!

Monkey Pants?
Gnome Thinks They're Groovy Pantaloons.
Edward thinks they'd be groovy.

And a shot of the Sea Silk - oooooooh, droolness. I had to rip it out b/c I goofed on the pattern, and I also had to switch needles. The first set of needles were way too blunt.
Sea Silk - sooooooo soft & gorgeous.

Lest you think the garden somehow went on hold - oh no! We have tomatoes! First ones of the season. I expect these represent the tip of the iceberg....
First Tomatoes of the Season

That's it! I gotta go make up for frogged knitting now. And finish cleaning up the guest bedroom! Aunt Karen arrives tomorrow!

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posted by PlazaJen, 8:08 PM | link |

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hi! With Gusto!

Well. Today was a big ol' day! Super Duper Busy with work, and then a quick lunch trip to the Studio to drop off my Emperor's New Scarf for the class I'm teaching, to discover that the Handmaiden shipment had come in!

Kyra & I were like kids in the candy shop, at Christmas, with no glucose issues. It was lovely. Thirty skeins of Sea Silk, and eleven skeins of Lace Silk, all in a variety of colors. The only thing that allowed us to maintain an ounce of restraint was the fact that there's another shipment coming in, from Fleece Artist. Bless Cindy for listening to Kristin & me, and ordering the yarn. We promised her she'd sell it, because the stuff is so fab. (My fingers are crossed that our prediction will come true, but I think all anyone has to do is take one look at the stuff, followed by a squeeze, and SWOON! BaM! You're on the floor with three skeins in your hands, never letting go.) If I could have justified a skein of the lace, it would have followed me home as well. So, so pretty. Silk is just so stunning, the colors are so rich. I'm honestly a little afraid that nobody will bother taking my Montego Bay Scarf class (Scroll about halfway down the page to see the pattern. Do sign up, it's in July!), they'll just snatch up all the Sea Silk they can carry and scurry off to a screened-in porch with a pitcher of lemonade and some shortbread and we'll never hear from them again. (Yes, my paranoia combines with an extremely active, vivid imagination.)

I'm just excited to get the scarf sample knit as fast as my chubby little hands will let me. Then I'll be back to my Monkey Socks, which are the equivalent of crack to the sock knitting community. I'm totally behind on this trend, but then, when aren't I these days? I'm always off in a ditch somewhere, distracted, and then I clue back in and shuffle a little further on down the road. I was stoked about doing a picot-edge, and marveled at the simplicity and beauty of it all, but was still hesitant about the pattern - peeps, I started these on Saturday, and I'm on the 5th repeat of the lace pattern. CRACK. Set these next to a tub of Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby and you have two powerful forces in the universe, singing a siren seduction song in two-part harmony.

Forgive the manic-level of this post. I announced to anyone who would listen this afternoon that I was as fried as a mushroom at Jess & Jim's. (They're really good there. So's the baked potato.) I didn't really have lunch, and I think that's why all these food references are horning in on the knitting action. I must go home. To get the house ready for company, to have dinner, and to uh, what's that? KNIT! (Well, wind yarn first.) Then? KNIT! With gusto!


posted by PlazaJen, 3:52 PM | link |

Monday, June 18, 2007

OOOOooo Lawdy, Troubles So Hard....

I tell ya, the summer that Moby CD came out, the Wo and I just about wore that sucker out. I still remember the moment he played it for me, we were sitting in front of the video store in Clinton, about to head to the lake, and he wouldn't tell me who it was, and I heard my first official Moby album. And that haunting tune, Natural Blues, always floats back through my head when I'm stressed.... it wasn't a bad-stress day, just lots of work and whack-a-mole situations, and when I don't leave the building at all - eat at my desk, take a 30-minute lunch, the day just stretches out for what feels like forever.

One of my co-workers asked me how my weekend was, and specifically, how yesterday was. Father's Day. I appreciated the care & concern, and I was honest - it was ok. The weekend before was harder, and I guess it's probably always going to be like that. A "holiday" just is a reminder, more empty and fabricated, like a papier-mache egg - the anniversary of his death has rawness, sadness, memory and wreckage. She nodded, she understood - it was nice. A change from the stricken awkwardness, uncomfortableness, stiffness.

My Father's Day was nice. Breakfast with my husband, then Beth & I spent a chunk of the day getting pedicures, and shopping, and having lunch, and just... being. My auntie is coming this Thursday, and we'll have good chats, she'll give me great advice & perspective, and we'll celebrate Momma Linda's birthday this weekend (it was last weekend, but we'll celebrate it this weekend...) Hopefully all our plumbing issues will be fixed as well, and we'll have a smidgen of order, until some baffle whacks against the axis of life and we adjust, and adapt, and move on. Oddly enough, it was my mother who caused some tears this weekend - the parallels between her and Celia from Weeds are shocking - but she won't control me - and heaven forbid I stop watching Weeds! That show is awesome. I'm 100% addicted to Showtime On Demand.... First season of Weeds, the new show Meadowlands, I also watched a few Brotherhoods ..... iControl is a lovely, lovely thing. I. Control. I could weave a better parallel here, but it's getting late & I'm stress-sleepy.

Natural Blues. Our bruises fade, but the ones inside, the ones that reach our soul, they never leave us. It's learning how to touch them, how not to poke them, how sometimes they poke back, that's the challenge. I'm learning, clumsily at times. Life and Death, the most natural things in the universe. And Grief? It is the hardest bicycle of all to learn to ride. One pedal? Some days, the damn thing doesn't even have tires or handlebars.

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posted by PlazaJen, 9:29 PM | link |

Friday, June 15, 2007

Just Pay The Lady At The Counter

Here is your Friday Smorgasborg! And the first thing on the menu is, Firefox's spell-check thinks I should change "smorgasborg" to "orgasming" or other variations! HAH!

Let's just set the tone with that and go from there!

Last night's Media Mix awards were longish, but the end of the evening was a lot of fun. And, as I work towards collecting cameraphone pictures of me with every weather forecaster in town, I am pleased to announce I have bagged one Don Harman, of WDAF, who is as squirrelly in person as he is on the morning show.

This is me sneaking up on Don. I was willing to settle for this if he turned out to be aloof and haughty and made a break for it, though he is about my height & with my extra poundage, I'm pretty sure I could take him down:


This is my picture, which sadly was not taken with the Canon, but instead with my Nokia phone, and it gives you more an Impressionist perspective of my meeting.


However, despite being ambushed from behind, he was very pleasant, if not a little confused when I explained that having our picture taken would take me to THREE in my odd collection. (Katie Horner & Bryan Busby being my other two. Gary Lezak? Buddy? I'm telling you. I have connections at your station and it's merely a matter of TIME. And in mentioning Gary, I just increased my hits for people inquiring about whether or not Gary's gay, one of my more popular Google search terms. People. He is. Leave him alone!)

So then I happened to discover last night, after coming home, showering, and going down to attend to laundry (remember those lists?) - a leak coming from the main floor bathroom. The Wo investigated this morning & immediately called a plumber. So I cut my day short at work, brought some work home, and met Mr. Rooter's employee Jake, who was quite puzzled by the leak. Having had a friend go through some recent plumbing adventures, to the tune of a small used car, I was rather fearful. But Jake discovered it was one piece with a hairline crack in the shower valve, and after installing a couple of temporary caps - just like me & my tooth! - we're good to go until he gets the part in and can come back out to fix it. He assured me it won't be crazy expensive, but who knows what the scale is on which he calculates "crazy". For me, "crazy" runs a gamut, especially if purses or yarn or shoes are involved. Alls I know is, he spent an hour here today & there was nothing to pay until the job was done. And the Wo and I get to share a shower for the next few days. Which puts me closer to the laundry, which means I'll get it done faster. SILVER LININGS people.

I'm ready for some lunch (i love lunch) and for the weekend to start. I have to keep checking my email & phone just to make sure the ranch doesn't catch fire, but I'm ready to not be racing from one thing to the next to the other to the back to the front up and down pump it up, pump it UP!

Jen's Smorgasborg of Life. $5.99 + tips.
Happy Weekend, peeps.


posted by PlazaJen, 1:28 PM | link |

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Glamorous Life....

This morning, I shouted to the Wo, "How do these socialites DO this?"

And then I answered myself, "OH because they don't WORK."

Having something going on every evening is fun, and it makes time fly, but I am, at my very core, a curl-up & recharge kinda gal. I love home. I love nesting. I love lamp. I digress. I have one more night of commitments (the Media Mix awards tonight at the Intercontinental, the name of which always makes me want to break into the delightful Christopher Walken routine of "The Continental" and flutter about with a hanky and glass of chamPAWNya), and then tomorrow is a day of NO meetings (yet) and a weekend of very little plans. So knitting, yes, that's on the schedule, and more laundry, and sleep, glorious sleep.

Randomly veering off-topic, did you know that the answering machine is rapidly becoming a vanishing machine? Ours got killed over the weekend by a freak power surge (and don't think I'm not wondering if this is all a frickin' conspiracy by the electric company - KCP&L - to convince us to sign up for Surge Protection), and I challenge you to find a decent selection of stand-alone answering machines ANYwhere, anymore. They're all coming built-in to the handset base, which you purchase in conjunction with fourteen other remote phones that you can sprinkle all over the house. I had finally given up & put the cheapest set I could find (only two handsets!) into my cart & then BOING, I espied with my lasiked eyes, lo & behold, a digital answering machine for $18. But I have a very grave sense that when this one dies, someday, (which if KCP&L has anything to do with things is probably going to be next week) we will be forced to move into a more modern approach and upgrade our solution. I realize we are already courting dinosaur-status by actually HAVING a home phone. But I'm old-timey that way. I refuse to give up my land line. It's the 9-1-1 factor. I don't care what you say about cellphone signals and towers and GPS and everything I've learned from my crime shows and real life, I just want my address to appear FIRST THING in the event of an emergency, and no triangulation required. I considered the dial-up voicemail option, which I used to have when I was "embundled" with the phone company, but we use the little dude (Birch) and frankly, I'm cheap about it. I can have an $18 machine, or pay $5 a month, which is the same price as a DVR, and I ask you, which gives me greater joy? Recording Big Love? Or having to dial a number and punch in buttons to get messages? Or paying $12 a month to make sure my outlets don't jump out of the walls and attack me with 220 volts? WELL. If they do? I CAN CALL FOR HELP because the phone works when the power's off! Hah! Feh. I am embracing my antiquity, and if you taunt me, I shall wear a BONNET, DAMMIT!

OK. Where was I? Oy. Racing around. Must get back to it. Tally HO!


posted by PlazaJen, 12:11 PM | link |

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Short On Everything...

I'm running from work to an after-work par-tay, and I was trying to think of something fast (and engaging, and clever) to blog about and really, the only picture I got in my mind was of the wee little dude, years ago, who came charging out of the gate at the American Royal, clutching the side of his sheep as if his life depended upon it. And kept that little hand raised, cowboy-style, even as most of him disappeared behind the side of said racing sheep.

I found this great picture here, by photojournalist Wendell Phillips, who pretty much captures the essence of what this week feels like. Meeting after Meeting after Meeting. Work piling up like chocolate on Lucy & Ethel. Commitments, phone calls, errands, laundry - the list, it never ends! And it's appropriate for me, you know, to cling to wool in times of stress. I'm hesitant to plaster his picture on my website since I don't have permission, so I trust you to click on through......
Gotta go - about to be late, something I excel at!

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posted by PlazaJen, 5:09 PM | link |

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Knits! Life! Thanks!

I have a couple finished objects.....

The Emperor's New Scarf (pattern by Lucy Neatby) is done! My gnome approves.

Cozy Gnome

I'm teaching this as a class at The Studio in August! I'm also teaching a class uh, next week, so I have to get that store sample done, pronto! (It's a bath cloth, short rows, and it's half done - in linen, one size zeros...)

I also finished my Opal Flamingo socks, and my gnome REALLY liked these:

Gnome in Disguise

We went out to the Stitch-N-Pitch on Sunday and had a great time. Sunburns for everyone, a big win for the team, and I'm actually going back out to the stadium tonight! I'll probably be even sweatier. Yay!
Me taking a self-portrait/inclusive pic:
Kansas City Stitch-N-Pitch

Kyra, Beth, Jimmi, Lissa (in the row behind leaning forward):

Kansas City Stitch-N-Pitch

Kristin & Justin:

Kansas City Stitch-N-Pitch

We all had names on our sleeves, and numbers on our backs (I was "11", because THIS knitter goes to ELEVEN! - just like my old blog tagline, all of which was, of course, in homage to Spinal Tap.) You will not be surprised to see my knitname:

Kansas City Stitch-N-Pitch

I figure after some of the stupid drama in our knitting group, it was perfect.

Thanks to everyone for the comments, well-wishes & thoughts sent my way, especially this week. My dad would be amazed at the number of great, caring people I have in my life. And a little thankful, I think, that his only child didn't end up all alone in the big world. The day before he died, just hours before I got the phone call, telling me to come home, hearing the last words he truly spoke to me, I wrote this post. I still remember the feeling inside, of crumpling, falling finally underneath it all - even before the phone rang. And you? You were there. You came through. You helped. And you haven't left me. Thank you again. I found this post because I wanted to find the words I couldn't remember, the poem about hope. If you don't click through, here are those beautiful words, one more time.

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

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posted by PlazaJen, 1:11 PM | link |

Sunday, June 10, 2007

But Of Course We Had F'n Ziti.....

Ahhhh, The Sopranos.

We had some friends over for dinner & the finale tonight..... it was a bittersweet day, the one year anniversary of dad's death.....the end of the show he loved so much..... waking up to hear Coldplay's "Fix You", crying in my husband's arms.... the skies pouring rain and then the sun treating us to a fabulous afternoon at the stadium, with my dear, dear knitty friends, in our matching shirts - and the Royals stomped 'em, 17-5. (Seventeen! Who is this team?)

So I came home & made the fuckin' ziti.


Because the first episode had the great line ("What? No fuckin' ziti?") And the last episode ended with Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" - yes, my friends, I torture my co-workers by singing those greatest hits, so it just felt right - and the anxiety of the ending - so perfect, so David Chase, so not Hollywood, just another night in the Soprano family, the usual demons lurking in the shadows - a hit man? a rat? an explosion? a court date? All of us have our demons, and they lurk every day. Nobody gets it all wrapped up by the 10 o'clock news. So I loved it. Love, love, loved it. But I must say, when the music stopped (oh David, you love your music and its perfection in your stories) and the screen went blank, we all thought something HAD happened. To the TV. To the cable. Momma Linda thought James was playing a trick with the remote. But no. It just went to black. And silence. And at 6:30 tonight I realized I hadn't stopped at 6:00, to the minute, to observe my father's death. There was no Singular Moment today. No neatly-wrapped ending. Just listening to my friends buzzing, opening wine, bringing dishes to the table. A few hot tears, but a smile, too. It all goes on. Until it doesn't. Those who are left behind are left wanting more, more. But it is done.

A very good day, and better than I expected, at many turns.

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posted by PlazaJen, 10:13 PM | link |

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Last night at Tea Drops....

Afternoon Nosh


Boba! Bubble Tea!

Homeless in Kansas City

The drink on the right was what he bought, so he could sit (sleep) on the couch.

Do I feel a twinge, when I see my life in contrast? Yep. I've trained my eyes to lose focus when I see panhandlers at the light. Can I save everyone? Nope. I'm glad we donate food to Harvesters, and that we have resources for people like him, if he wants them.


posted by PlazaJen, 6:40 AM | link |

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Knitting for Greensburg

There's a great charity project underway, called "Rebuilding Greensburg, Block By Block" - and I finished my eighth square last night & will get them sent off tomorrow. For now, here are the pictures of the seven squares (with my gnome, who likes to be a photo element in many of my pictures now...)

Squares for Greensburg

Squares for Greensburg

Basically, the simplest project ever, and it was nice to use up some leftover wool & sock yarns. If you have any lolling about & want a nice mindless project, you should join in the fun! I owe my buddy Kyra for cluing me in to the project......


posted by PlazaJen, 1:39 PM | link |

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Foodie Fotos

Last night, we had homemade pizza for dinner:

Homemade Pizza

I usually make the dough from scratch, but since I'd bought extra bread dough for the calzones I made a few weeks back, I thought, hm, I'll just thaw that & try it out. It was pretty good - it wasn't as pliable as my dough, and I like the chewiness a fresh yeast bread has. That said, I loaded it up with spicy sausage, vidalia onions, black olives & mushrooms, and it was quite yummy!

On Memorial Day, I made spring rolls.

Spring Rolls
These are a lot of work, and I still have a long way to go on learning how to roll them as well as they do at my favorite Thai & Vietnamese haunts. I also made homemade peanut sauce, um, quite a lot, so we utilized that for lunch the next weeked over noodles & some broccoli thrown in for green goodness.

We had quite a few leftover rice noodles, so the dogs got those, and of course we had to have a little fun with 'em - here's Suzy looking scary, but in reality, just driven to get the dang noodles off her nose & into her mouth....

Rice Noodles on Suzy

Dudes, it's lunchtime & with all these photos of food, I'm hungry!

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posted by PlazaJen, 10:04 AM | link |

Monday, June 04, 2007


One week. Tick Tock.

No matter how hard I intellectually cope, reason, and talk to myself, it's there.

The anniversary of my dad's death, this coming Sunday.

Of course I'll remember.
But will I remember at 6?
Will I fall apart?
Will I pendulum-swing the other direction?
Unknown. Unknown.
Questions rise like bubbles.
Tick Tock, Tick Tock, TICK TOCK

Sometimes the ticking is deafening.
At the grocery store.
I gripped my cart hard and wondered,
Is this it? Is this the moment where the glue melts,
the screws break, the dovetails splinter?
What would happen?
Would anyone stop? Or would they reach over me,
Totinos Crispy Pizzas, 2 for $4
(with your Chopper Shopper card)
Would they arrest me? Or just escort me to my car.
When would my clarity reclaim me?
In time to realize the dark humor of a meltdown in Frozen Foods?
Cleanup, Aisle 10.

But nothing. Just the ticking. And the tocking.
Controlled madness.

In the top of my brain, at the surface, I know. It will all be ok. OK is general, my brain wants specifics. I worked hard last night to clear my mind, to stop searching, knowing I can't stop the metronome from ticking, but I can make it softer, so I can get through my life, this week, next Sunday.

I think my mania showed a bit in this weekend's activities. I weeded like crazy. I knit squares for Greensburg - 7 of them, with an 8th started - like I was in a competition. My tooth is also hurting me, so that hasn't helped. (I'm calling the dentist today, I think the temporary crown is sitting too high & causing some of the zinging pain.) It was a good weekend, despite the ticking.

It'll be ok, I'll be ok, and I'll keep learning about this crazy-ass thing called "grief".

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posted by PlazaJen, 6:15 AM | link |

Friday, June 01, 2007


So I got to the dentist, and they instantly sensed my anxiety. I thought I was masking it quite well, but those people? They are TRAINED. Everyone was reassuring.

Then we went back & I discovered I was only getting a temporary crown. Not the permanent crown. But I had waited for this appointment because we had to wait for the lab to MAKE my crown, and it turns out that was a miscommunication between the back (where the facts are, ma'am) and the front (where the calendar is kept). What was probably (in retrospect) the funniest part of all was my insistence and carefully worded questions all in an attempt to steer today's procedure to the permanent crown and why I believed I was getting it even though no permanent crown exists (yet) and this was why I was here, and I KNEW this was correct, and I realized that I was starting to sound like I was headed down the path of telling them what the dentistry procedures would be and then I shut up, because I have a degree in Studio Art. And in the end, they have the big metal needle.

Now, I will say that my dentist is the master of administering Novocaine. It was a rapid progression from "normal" to "can't feel anything". But later, when the tooth grinding & shaping was taking place, I became acutely aware that one shot of Novocaine is technically not enough for this procedure, but in addition to getting a degree in Studio Art, I also attended my father's School Of Being A Dentistry Patient, in that he had a great tolerance for pain and it was a celebrated area of study. I once got a cavity filled with no Novocaine. So as my dentist ground chunks of tooth, spraying enamel and bone and a lovely burning smell in my mouth, I toughed it the hell out. It's difficult to yell "Mother Fucker!!!!" with three gloved hands in your mouth, anyway. We had a small review of the procedure and my pain level, and I could tell he desperately wanted to administer an additional shot, because hey, dentistry has a bad rap as it is, and what good doctor wants to inflict pain? It's not like we were doing a sequel to the Marathon Man or anything. But I was raised to tolerate pain to a point if it means getting something over with faster. So I communicated that and went into stoic mode. Apparently that also includes extraordinary muscle tensing in my arms because I am as sore as if I'd lifted weights for two hours, instead of lying in a chair for about the same amount of time.

So. The numbness is wearing off, which is good, and the temporary crown feels weird, the texture of it doesn't match my other teeth. And I go back in 2 & a half weeks. There's a chance I won't need another numbing shot & you can bet I'll be striving to avoid one! (Within reason, of course.) Let the weekend begin! I'm thinking a shot of something ELSE might be in order soon.... :)
posted by PlazaJen, 4:56 PM | link |

The Coronation....

I'll be getting my tooth crowned this afternoon, starting around 2:30.

As I said in the dark last night to the Wo, "This is one of those yucky adult things you just have to do & get through it. I've been through worse."

Bleah! Being a grownup sucks! Why did we want to grow up so fast? So we could drive? Leave home? Party all the time, like Eddie Murphy sang?

I nearly cried last night, because I started thinking about another person I know, (who doesn't read this blog, so y'all don't know her), but she is facing some really serious grown-up shit, and my toothy worries pale by comparison. I looked out my window at the back yard, bathed in the light of the Blue Moon, and I thought of her, and how her whole world changed from one visit to the doctor, and everything she'd planned got more than knocked down, a tornado came through and flung her Jenga tower and future right out the window. I don't often pray, and I'm not a religious person, but last night I prayed for her to find her way & to find some peace. I know a lot of people (who DO read this blog) who also need some of that good mojo, and I wish it for you, too, and for me, and most of all for people like this friend, who remind me that as much as I bitch & complain and fret and worry and wring my hands over one tooth, it could be a whole. lot. worse.

So I leaned over and hugged my husband for good luck and to remind him how loved he is, and how happy I am we have this life together, and then he made me laugh because the suggestion of me sleeping like that sent me into a claustrophobia seizure. That's me, that's us. Always trying to find some laughter, in the darkness. I'll share more about my friend once I can, but for now, I hope my eyes-squeezed-tight-shut while thinking-good-thoughts will reach her & help in some small way.


posted by PlazaJen, 12:07 PM | link |