PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Yesterday, I left work an hour early. Yes! I have my priorities right in order. However, in my defense, I was feeling ok and then I plunged into worse-by-the-minute as the day strode on, so I figured I better just give it up and get out. Oddly enough, the cold medicine had the opposite effect it was supposed to. Jittery, followed by stupor. Apparently the daytime formula for the CVS brand just packs all the "awakeness" into the first five minutes of the meds and then completely stops.

This week? Is kinda crazy. I think I said that yesterday. But I am on row #178 of the MS3, which in its abbreviation reminds me of all those Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans and their MST3 lingo. And that reminds me of Dr. Who, who had quite the scarf. Knitted. It's all connected. Trust me.

I just called the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Thrift Store division (try finding the right phone number for THEM, I defy you to do without at least one wrong call first) to inquire why they hadn't taken our donations yesterday. The lady was extremely nice, and someone's coming tomorrow, but she did tell me to call right away next time. I spared her the long explanation of being a space cadet and doped up on store-brand meds.

So in my scattered, oddball way (I'm not taking ANY cold meds today), I give you my philosophy on Clean Sheets.

I love clean sheets. Especially in the first, oh, three days. There's just something delicious and soothing and crisp about sliding your feet and legs around in clean sheets. Preferably high thread count, sateen optional. I had this insane imagery the other night, after we'd changed out the sheets - that the anticipation I had for climbing into bed was like being served a gorgeous piece of puff pastry, browned and golden, buttery gloss reflecting the light, and you don't know what it's filled with - fruit? cheese? meat? (Mmmm, meat.)But you know it will be delicious, no matter what. I digress. Anyway, I get a little nuts about fresh sheets, and I don't recommend eating pastries in bed because that ruins the magic lickety-split.

OK. My boss just asked me to show up and drink a beer. He recognizes the madness around us, and for that, I'm grateful. If not just in a bit of a stupor, given that I asked him if we could do it sooner, and the time he'd suggested is four minutes away.

Really. I'll surface once this cold's gone.
posted by PlazaJen, 3:04 PM | link |

Monday, July 30, 2007


I have a summer cold. It's AWESOME. I mean, if you enjoy having a stuffy head, runny nose, and the feeling in general of your head being packed tightly with cotton balls. Heh. I said balls. (Apparently the juvenile humor is more accessible under the influence of cold meds.)

Work craziness continues to swirl - people are leaving and it's always hard when the people you like & enjoy working with move on. It also leaves a certain level of "unknowns" - how will it be handled in the interim, who will be hired, will they be a devil child, you know, loads of things way, way beyond my control. Then there's the situation with my childhood home/farm - an offer has been made (keep in mind none of it was left to me, so powerless again, I watch from a distance & try to keep the pain in check), so I am keeping some of the craziness at bay by just focusing on what I :can: control, and doing laundry. I am in such fucking control of my laundry, I'm surprised it hasn't started folding itself out of fear. That which I can grip? Iron fist, baby.

Speaking of folding, I spent a good hour yesterday folding all the clean clothes from, uh, a month ago, so I could free up the laundry baskets and sort the dirty clothes, which had artfully arranged themselves into rug-like piles. While I was doing this, I put the tv on to my favorite channel, Court TV, because Sleuth TV was having a Miami Vice marathon, and I have had to begrudgingly admit that while I loved it as a teenager, it really kinda sucks. So Court TV was featuring back-to-back episodes of "Inside" and I caught most of SuperMax, all about a maximum security prison in Utah, and some of the most frightening, godawful tattoos a gal ever could imagine. One dude (a white supremacist) was covered, and I mean COVERED. Face, head, neck, all of it. At what point do you tip? When you finally say, Ahhhh, fuck it, just put those swastikas all over my face. I'm never gonna get a job and I wanna feel pretty. My favorite moment was the piece on the two women, who used to be roommates until the one chick tried to kill her. Now? They're good friends. As the victim said, "I forgive her. I understand why she had to do what she did." And the killer's take? "She brought it on herself. She had it comin'." Wild. I would really not do well in SuperMax.

Well, it's Monday Monday, and I've got lots to do! All through the clogged up fog. My mouth breathing is exceptionally attractive, too. In knitting news, I've gotten Clue #2 finished on MS3. I think Clue #3 will be fine, but all those rows in #4 are daunting!


posted by PlazaJen, 10:47 AM | link |

Friday, July 27, 2007

I'm Pulling This Merry-Go-Round Over, RIGHT NOW.

I'm hearing the sharp, tinny sounds of a carnival in the background as I write this.
(Not really. Let's not cart me off for hallucinations. Yet.)

However, I am about out of rope this week, and as I ponder the length I have left, I start to think about using it to its maximum potential, which usually has the goal of bringing the madness to a screeching halt.

Man, the madness has just flown in from multiple directions - work, life, my head - and I actually had someone declare something my friend & I did (To my face!) "Stupid". Wow. I felt a few feet of rope slip right through my hands, but then I pulled it back. And when I say "pulled it back", I mean, I wasn't going to let it go. Use up more rope. I responded. Not swinging, but firmly, and I don't think this person EVER has other people do that to her. Wow. It was not comfortable. For me, or my friends, and I don't think for her, either. But I'm learning this week that there are people who don't even come close to responding the way most of us do in similar situations. BECAUSE THEY'RE BATSHIT CRAZY. Or just different, whatever.

ANYhoo, we're having our annual fish fry tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to the weekend. We've got a lot of cleaning to do between now and tomorrow, but it'll be fine, and we'll have a lovely time with friends and family, we'll confront :another: table full of tomatoes at some point, and the merry-go-round music will take on a fuller, robust sound, with less flats and sharps and grating. Even though I get riled up, more and more I see the longer view, which is that the road you are on is still your road. You walk it today, tomorrow, you walk it next week - deity willing -
and things move on. Staying stuck and putting in land mines or digging holes isn't progress, it's distraction.

So, let's see. Now I have how many metaphors going on? Yes, 1) Merry-Go-Round (Insanity of Life), 2) Rope (Patience, Wisdom), 3)The Road (Life's Journey and 4) Theme Music (the Soundtrack of Your Life). I think that's enough of a mix for today. I'm excited to do some knitting this weekend, make some progress on MS3, and begin something new and exciting. And in the next couple of weeks, I'm also going to start designing a sweater for JWo, to wear when he goes hunting. I've gotten some awesome advice from Ravelry, and given the old-timey Fisherman sweaters' ability to stand up to fierce conditions, I'm waiting for a book I ordered to arrive and help me make the sturdiest sweater I can so he'll have many happy hunting seasons in it. (His won't be cabled and such like the Aran sweaters, but the construction is what I want to see.) It's new! It's a challenge, and I'm excited to try out my puzzling mind on something different. Same old round-n-round can drive a gal wonkers, eh?
Happy weekend, peeps.

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posted by PlazaJen, 2:31 PM | link |

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ahhhhhh, Cuba.

I had lunch today at Cafe Cuba today, 4116 Broadway, and here's my report:

Very good. More expensive than I anticipated, but delicious and a welcome break from the standard lunch fare. I'd re-read the review in the Star, and made sure I ordered a Cubano Coffee, which was everything I hoped for and more - except I wished there could have been more. A small shot of sweet caffeinated loveliness, my dining companion mistook for a side of soy sauce. (Which seemed out of place to her, rightly so.) I had the #1, Steak Sandwich, she had the #3, Cuban Sandwich - which is similar to the #2 Cuban Sandwich, only more meats and cheeses. Her sandwich was huge! If I wasn't a reluctant mustard eater, I definitely would have made the same choice. My sandwich was flavorful, and the bread was delicious. The steak was a bit chewy at times, but the true star of the meal were the plantain chips that came with your sandwich. Every time I see plantain chips, I expect to taste banana, because of the resemblance, but of course they are more akin to a potato, and sliced thin & deep-fried - well, they make the common potato seem just that more ... common. Each of us spent around $11 for our meal - including beverage - which is perhaps more than the average sandwich costs for lunch, but then, you aren't getting an average sandwich. We ogled the pulled pork and rethought our choices, which we'd already ordered and paid for, because it looked to be a winner. That's what I'll try on my next visit.

Obviously the restaurant is not trying for any major ambiance - the furniture is reminiscent of a company break room, and laminated maps of Cuba and Cuban money serve as place mats. None of that is particularly important, but there was a strong cleaning product odor that irritated the senses and distracted from the delicious smells emanating from the kitchen. If it hadn't been 90 degrees, we would have availed ourselves of the outdoor seating. It will take a couple more visits before I have a final rating, but for now, I'd give it 3.5 out of 5.

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posted by PlazaJen, 2:00 PM | link |

Quickie Haiku

anklet of bug bites
never ceasing itching, I
scratch towards madness

yes, I thought this one up about halfway through the night, as my toenails clawed at my ankles in tandem, and I even had the clarity to count out "anklet of bug bites" on my fingers in the dark, to make sure it would work. Goddamn chiggers, mosquitoes, and whatever else seems to find my skin and blood so tasty. MADNESS!

I'm having lunch with my beatnik babe, my haiku partner in crime, today, and we're going to the new Cuban place in midtown. I'll report on that later!
posted by PlazaJen, 10:43 AM | link |

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

It's Old Timey Fun, All The Time!

So I married a man with a wide skill set. A veritable homesteader, worthy of competing in Ye Olde Pioneer Dayz. Yesterday evening was pretty atypical, even for us.

Let me back up. Sunday? We bought a chain saw. As we are each prone to do, the Wo gravitated towards the smaller, lower-priced saws first. Me? I look at the price range and determine what I think we should spend to get a "good one". If life has taught either of us something, spending a bit extra at the git-go is usually worth it in the long run.

Let me back up some more. About a month ago, we discovered a greenhouse on craigslist. And while it wasn't cheap, it was still a steal. Buying the same model today would have cost three times as much. And, have you met my husband? Each year brings us more home-grown plants, started from seed, and it's fair to say he's a little bit into gardening. So we took the plunge & bought the thing, and then we had to figure out where to put it. (The woman selling it had bought it, put the panels together, then they moved, she started to put it up & her new homeowner association told her she couldn't do that. We don't have any of those fetters, fortunately!)

So we finally determined that the patio space between JWo's shop & the garage, at the back of the house, was the best place for it. It's a 9 x 12 redwood/glass greenhouse, and it will be gorgeous, and we wanted it in a spot we'd be able to see from the dining room. And two trees needed to come out, because they would greatly affect the sunshine levels, and the one tree was already leaning a lot, so blah-de-blah, his grandfather didn't want to lend him a chainsaw and so we found ourselves at Home Depot, in a post-Thai-food stupor, comparing models. Brought home what he'd later declare was "GREAT".

On Monday, James took down the "easy" tree. The non-leaning tree. Then last night, he went to backgammon, I got takeout (after being sucked in by this game, the biggest time waster yet entertaining game in my life right now), and then suddenly, the Wo was back home. And as soon as I was done eating, we went outside to tackle the problematic tree.

Ropes were employed. A winch (my favorite!) was installed. (This took at least half an hour, as we both poured sweat in the humidity. I was doing nothing but dousing myself in bug spray and walking around, "supervisin'") Then we went through the plan. He would cut a wedge, and then when he started cutting on the other side of the tree, I would start winching like a madwoman. (Oh, and don't think I don't have a history with a winch. I do. That's another day.) I LOVE me the winches and the ratchet straps. Can't explain it. Anyway, I reminded my husband that despite my deep dislike of cutting wood every winter, I did grow up spending my winters outside, watching my father cut down trees, hauling brush, loading firewood, and I understood which direction to RUN, especially because our mechanical setup was going to hopefully pull the tree straight in my direction. I pondered my ability to run, once or twice, but remained confident that even a fat girl can pull out the stops when adrenaline's involved.

So we began. And this tree? This tree was REALLY leaning towards the house/garage/shop. Winch, winch, winch. He cut a notch on the other side of the tree, instead of cutting it through, just to help get us going on re-directing that tree. He took some turns at the winch. (I should point out that through all of this, I am being swarmed by mosquitoes. JWo? Didn't even come near him.) Then, we were suddenly out of cable. We could winch no more.

Much more puzzling & solving took place. James got out a ratchet strap. Then a knife. I was told to clear out. (I didn't argue) Re-attached the winch, and we were back in business. Then, it seemed, in the gathering dusk, we were finally at the moment. I was winching with all my might, and James yelled, "THERE it goes, now it's moving" and then in an instant, KERPLOOEY, the rope broke, the taughtness released, um, in that microsecond, I though I was going to have a cable whipping into my face, and I was pleased (much, much later, upon reflection) to discover my basic instincts when a sharp clang and things go flying is, indeed, to cover my face. It shook me, I'll admit. I took the long walk around to regain my composure, and then the reality of the tree took over. We were going to have to drop it towards the house.

I moved the pot of rosemary, took all my decorative garden things out of the way, and then got the hell out of the path. James began sawing. Then stopping, then sawing some more. Then stepped back and said, "That's as slow as I can drop it."

I've never seen a tree fall more slowly. Ever. A true blogger would have videotaped this, except my hands would have been a bit shaky, and once again, I wanted to cover my face. It could not have landed better. There was a chance some windows might get broken, the gutters could be torn off - nothing. None of it happened. And the Wo has his work cut out for him today, because we have tree outside the back door, and while Polly thinks maybe it would be a great squirrel dispenser for her right at the back steps, it has to go.


Oh, and how did James spend his day yesterday? Canning all those tomatoes. Seven more jars of confit, and a bunch of chopped tomatoes and sauce.

He would have survived in the wagon trail era, quite handily. Me? I'd have been killed by some mosquito-borne illness.


posted by PlazaJen, 6:45 AM | link |

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Random Orts.....

1. Finished Harry Potter. I just had to. If you saw the beginning of last night's Colbert Report? Let's just say that got a guffaw in this household. (Of course, I didn't actually :watch: the show! But JWo alerted me to look up, because the entire audience had the HP book open, appearing to read intently - as did Stephen Colbert, who paused to look at the camera and rapidly mutter, "Colbert Report....") Um, yeah. I had gotten to about page 450 or so on Sunday, and with people at work having read it, and radio people blabbering about it, I just wanted to experience all the answers completely for myself. It was a great read.

2. Sweet corn & tomatoes. We've had both for dinner, two nights in a row. Actually, I'm the one eating the tomatoes - JWo is more of a "have 'em on a sandwich" sorter feller, but having made the bad choice to only have popcorn for lunch yesterday, I devoured a huge Amana Orange tomato when I got home, and it actually tided me over for a couple hours! We had braunschweiger sandwiches, which as a sandwich filling seems to be not-so-popular, if the presentation and selection at my Price Chopper is any indication. I grew up eating braunschweiger-and-tomato sandwiches, and the summer we built our house, it was our primary food group, closely followed by Ruffles potato chips, and Chips Ahoy cookies. (My parents, the dog & I were living in a one-room dwelling with a sink, hot plate (for coffee) and I can't even tell you if we had a fridge. We must've. But it was close quarters with no frills.)

3. Speaking of Price Chopper, this is the second time in a row I have asked for paper, been distracted by watching the monitor to make sure I'm getting the sale prices, and paying for my groceries, only to discover the bagger, in their indifference and pressing need to talk to their neighbor bagger, has put all my groceries into a plastic bag. Having seen all the sites & push for bringing your own bags & not using plastic, this has made me even more irritated. And I've pointed out the errors to the baggers, both times. It's a little irrational, but it pisses me off. The first person offered to rebag everything, and I was tempted, but it would have delayed the person waiting behind me, blah blah blah. If it happens a third....well, it's not gonna happen a third time. We use our plastic bags to throw away unpleasant things, so I don't see us ever going all the way without them, but the paper ones we use for recycling all the newspaper, and oh lord, I'm just killing the earth one way or another, aren't I. Let's move on.

4. I'm chugging along, albeit slowly, what with all the reading, on my Mystery Stole. Because there are uh, 6,667 members in the Yahoo! group, I am only on "Special Notices" for the list. When I joined, it was like a surprise flash flood of email, mostly "HOWDY! I'm so-and-so!" and then some of the emails were in other languages, and I rapidly changed my settings for the group. I just got a Special Notice that the pattern is NOT Satanic (whew!) (are you kidding me? who has time to think about things like this, and WHY would anyone think such a popular knit-along would have a devil theme, and while it is a challenge for me to knit, I don't think Beelzebub is behind my slowness.) THEN another Special Notice came through that some of the list members are ganging up on another list member, and it's turning into Court TV, all drama, all the time. Again. WHO has time for all this? And can they come and organize my craft room instead? Idle hands are the tool of the devil! ;)

5. I keep hearing the book title "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" in my head. But I've changed it, to "I Know That The Caged Bird Can Fly". I have a good friend who feels trapped, and she hasn't flown in a long, long time. So long she doesn't believe she can. But I :know: she can. I'm not telling her to fly away? I just want her to believe in herself. Some things in life we just have to go through, ourselves, in our own way, stumbling in the dark, falling down, etc. and nobody can make that journey for us. Boy, haven't I learned that lesson, and my road had a shitton of gravel on it, some of it is still embedded in my knees. If I could, I would carry her, show her how I see her, reflected in my eyes, not the mirror she uses, give her strength when she feels weak. But I am limited. It is not my journey. But I love her, and above all else, want her to be happy. Want her to see herself as others do. I believe she'll get there. Because I believe in her!

6. Sometimes, if you wait for a sign, or an answer, it comes. I had a surprising resolution to some of the stuff that happened last week, and it was such a tumbling arrival of benevolence, an answer to one of the prickly problems in my life, that I was dumbstruck. As someone who always wants to act, have a plan, surge forward, even if it's blindly, thrashing and making my way, I'm starting to learn that it's another form of panic. If we're running, we're doing something. Never mind that it's in circles! I'm a panicky person, prone to anxiety. But I also learn, eventually. And I get tired of running sometimes.

Well, that's gonna have to do it for today. I'm going to be behind schedule if I conjure up another ort for today - and then I really will be running. And probably stuck (again) behind some slowpoke driver on my commute. You know the one. The one you stay behind because they're in your lane and you have to turn left, and you can't risk getting over because the traffic lights and other cars could conspire against you, and yet you cling to the hope that at least when you get to your turn, they will go straight, AND THEY DON'T? Yeah. I'm always behind that dolt.


posted by PlazaJen, 6:39 AM | link |

Saturday, July 21, 2007

What's That?

You're going to the store?

Do we need any potatoes?




No. No, I think we're in good shape.

Bountiful Harvest

Summer on the Table


My lands. With the exception of the one white platter at the back of the photo, I picked all of these yesterday. One load in the morning, one load after work. And some green beans. I didn't have the energy to address the zuchs & cukes! Oh lord, and don't even start with the banana peppers. Speaking of which, should you, too, find yourself in a sea of extra banana peppers, slicing them in half & stuffing them with cream cheese or peanut butter makes for a loverly appetizer, and is a nice twist on the standard celery.

I've since processed some of the ripest & popped them in the dehydrator for more tomato confit.

And, in knitting news, I'm almost done with Clue #1 on the Mystery Stole. Never mind that Clue #4 came out yesterday! I'm hoping I read Harry Potter faster than I'm knitting this lace.....
posted by PlazaJen, 8:07 AM | link |

Friday, July 20, 2007

Denial. Or, Denail. On DeHead. Desomethin'.

Part of me wants to make a two-column list, one for the good things in my brain right now, and one for all the negative, draining, and otherwise, generally unhappy things in my brain. That part of me got voted down, because really? I don't want to think about the things that are upsetting, depressing, sad, painful, irritating, angering, eroding, etc. I might as well go watch a documentary film on the clubbing of baby seals whilst drinking absinthe.

I bring all this up because even though I've always had a history of not facing things, or avoiding, or procrastinating, or denying, I always still wanted the harsh confrontation, the cataloging of details, the list, so I could always pull it back out and look at it, stoking the fires anew, pounding my head in the sand. And yesterday, I told my husband, "I don't want to know." (Not about anything between us. Just stuff going on with my dad's estate.) I just don't. The more I know and the more I involve myself in certain situations, the more unhappy I will be. At some point, I may change my mind, but there was a certain satisfaction in shutting the door on the messy guest room of my mind and saying, "Not right now."

Or, to borrow from Dwight in The Office: (waving hand upwards to shield a line of vision from one side of my head) "Shun."

I will not UnShun until I am ready. I'm glad it's Friday. The Shun'll come ooooout tomorrow...... (ok, sorry. But I am kinda Li'l Orphan Jen now.)


posted by PlazaJen, 1:55 PM | link |

Thursday, July 19, 2007


It's been hot. Two days ago, when I left work, the all-knowing screen in Mimi Murano informed me it was 100' outside. In my scramble for the camera feature on my cell, and of course, trying to wait to safely take the picture, the number dropped by one, but still. Even if Mimi miiiiight be overstating things a little (I have no idea where she gets her flair for the dramatic), it's fuckin' nuts. Hot, hot, hot.
At 5:04 it said 100!!!!
(Uh, note the internal temp? And the fan on high?)

I was dangerously close to running out of Diet Coke at work, so before I picked up lunch, I ran into the CVS near work. I seriously had to maneuver around this woman three different times, because she was buying out all the clearanced perfume and makeup sets. I would have been a little more scathing in my irritation, but she looked so lonely, and seemed so timid, that I just imagined her in her studio apartment at night, trying out different looks & smells, waiting for someone to find her beautiful. Gah. Anyway, because I am NOT going to pay $4 for a 12-pack of Diet Coke, because I know someone, somewhere, will sell it to me for $2.50, or $3, I ended up with the last box of Diet Mountain Dew, which is my old trusty friend from back in the day, getting through finals week. And then? I sailed down an aisle that was lined with summer-themed items and things you normally can only buy on TV, and I did a double-take:
What. The. Hell.
You know, when I first started working after college, I remember having some ginormous earrings. They were crazy and fun. And yeah, they pulled on my ears. So? I stopped wearing them eventually. Or only wore them when we went out, versus all day. Apparently I hadn't discovered the Ear Lobe Support Tape System, which would have allowed me to never take them out. (I like the graphic treatment that shows the unhappy ear as red, possibly infected.) The icing on the cake is that this? THIS? This stuff's medical grade.

And my last dose of insanity for the day is my continued progression on the Mystery Stole.... I love Ravelry, and the huge community it is bringing together, and the opportunity to share ideas, ask questions, learn about new things - and then there's all the pictures of everyone ELSE's MS3, and I am just telling myself this is a good opportunity for me to NOT be comparative, and not be competitive (I'm really not, given how far behind I am). The comparative part is what's kicking my butt, because everyone else's photos look soooooo nice and sturdy and dense and you see the pattern definition - and mine looks like, durrrrr, there's probably a mistake ten rows back, there's NONE of this curling line stuffs - and as I kept examining it last night and hearing the stern perfectionist voices in my head (so strange, they sound JUST like my mom and dad, hm, think that's significant?) I kept arguing back that it just didn't matter. I'm not going to rip it back. I'm actually going to keep knitting it. I'm not abandoning it. I really like the process. This is a project I would normally NEVER ever do. It's way outside my comfort zone, my experience zone, and if I wanted to, I could look at it all as failure, failure, failure. Which is kind of what I've been telling myself about ME in general the past week, horrible ugly unkind words as I try to go to sleep, to the point of tears and desperately wanting sleep to end the hammering. Brains are funny, insane things, and sometimes they're hard to control. Last night as I looked at my knitting and looked at other people's knitting, I didn't drown out the littlest voice that said to just keep knitting mine as-is. And while I came close, and a few tears fell, I managed to stop the louder, meaner voices when I went to sleep, too. While the situation with my MS3 is minor, it's very real, and it somehow clicked through as a metaphor for bigger things. There's a theme to the design, and it will tell a story. I sort of like the notion that mine may be missing a few sentences? But it will also tell a story of its own.

Mystery Stole #3 - Restarted

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posted by PlazaJen, 6:33 AM | link |

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

If I'd Had A VCR As A Kid, I'd Probably Have Shoved A Cheese Sandwich Into It.

Well, the head teller supervisor at my Commerce Bank has had a good hearty laugh at my stupidity (and self-deprecation on the phone) this morning.

Let's backtrack, shall we?

A few weeks ago, I got this brochure in the mail, extolling the fantastic new features of my bank's new ATM's. The shining feature was that you no longer needed to use an envelope for deposits - you just put the ol' check right in, and your receipt gives you fancy features, like a snapshot of the check you deposited! So, last night, I finally swung by the bank to deposit three (3) checks. I got a phone call from a co-worker while I was waiting in line, it was another whack-a-mole needing whacking, but then the car in front of me left & I hastily got off the phone & began my business.

Mentally calculating the amounts on the checks, I entered my card, my PIN, and then the information to make the deposit. Ignoring the screen that said "PLEASE INSERT YOUR ENVELOPE NOW", I shoved the three checks into the slot that sucks things in. Hmmm. Only two made it. So there I sat, with a third check in my hand that the ATM thought I'd deposited, and I panicked. I selected the option to deposit AGAIN and THEN, CONTINUED MY TRANSACTION for the third check, without an envelope. So now I've lied to the bank, that I've deposited more money than I actually have, AND my checks are willy-nilly lying in the ATM footloose & fancy-free, with no envelope containing them. I withdrew some cash and wondered how I would handle this tomorrow.

Which brings us to this morning. After my 8 a.m. conference call (with people in Dublin! I love how instead of "um" they say "Ehhhhm".) I called the bank. And of course you have to go through the 800-number point-of-all-customer service, and I had to explain that I was stupid, and could I please have the number for the actual branch. And they gave me the direct line to Karen, head teller supervisor. Who did not answer, and I had to leave a message that went something like this:

Good morning! My name is Jennifer Nu***, and..well, I am a complete idiot. I'm calling because last night, at the ATM, I completely lost my mind and thought I could deposit checks without an envelope. Because of the brochure, see. And then that didn't work really well but I KEPT DOING IT and now I want to not only apologize, for making your job more difficult, but also for being stupid, and to find out if everything in the end will be ok.

She called me back laughing. I told her that I couldn't believe my own stupidity and that I would understand if they shut down the drive-through when they see me coming, because imagine the havoc I could wreak with access to those pneumatic tubes! She wondered aloud if perhaps I had jammed the machine up, but then we realized that I hadn't, because I had been able to GET ANOTHER CHECK INTO THE MACHINE after the first screw-up. I told her, who knows what else I might have tried to put in that ATM if I hadn't come to my senses when I did.

Stupid. On the heels of yesterday, declaring a mini-jihad on idiots. Serves me right. But I'm still funny, even when I'm stupid, and I made Karen's day. Somebody's going to call me, at some point, to confirm that I haven't taken ATM #M103 off the grid and that my deposits have been reconciled. Meanwhile, I'll try to keep my technological adventures to a minimum, and I'll be a little kinder to the stupid.

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posted by PlazaJen, 9:32 AM | link |

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It's Whack-A-Mole Time, All Da Time.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, when I get stressed, I either shut down, or my Dictator Gnome takes over. Today, DG shoved the more peaceable gnomes out of the way and sat in the big chair. We had a rep meeting/lunch that was supposed to happen, and then a series of phone calls took place - the first two involving someone I don't know yet asking if his boss could ask me some questions, and then being put on hold for five minutes. The lack of organization (and being on hold, twice, when THEY called ME) sent me into orbit. I called the rep I did know and said we weren't going to do this lunch today. Turns out, that's what they wanted to do as well - BUT! - the process was enough to turn me into Jentilla The Hun. There's just too much work going on to jack around and put people on hold - when YOU called them in the first place! He kept calling back, too, and said we'd gotten disconnected. I said, NO, I hung UP on you. He didn't even comprehend what had happened.

I had a rep leave me a message about a month ago who fell into the "Too Stupid" category. (I surmised he was calling from his car, with his car door open/keys in ignition? Because the background was filled with an insistent dinging, so loud I could barely hear his message.) Then, when I returned the call, he didn't know who I was, why he'd called me, and this was followed by a long pause and "Can I call you back in a minute?" Which ended up being an hour. And he thought I was in Grandview. (No.) And wanted to come over that day. Hi, ah, NO. He then (somewhat hopefully) asked if our offices were by "Blonde", the wannabe exclusive nightclub. Ah, no. I'm not really sure how some people fall into this business. (They're in every business, I recognize this.) I just am continually amazed by the people who seemingly walk under suspended pianos on a daily basis and emerge unscathed, unwitting, unknowing, and sometimes even successful! I shake my head. And whack the moles. Some of them are really, really stupid, and there's nothing that gets my dander up faster than stupid moles. My gnomes have a 100% zero tolerance for stupidity. Faster and faster they come, but I? Will not be vanquished.
I might need to upgrade my whacker, though. Mine's getting a little worn after all these years.


posted by PlazaJen, 1:41 PM | link |

Monday, July 16, 2007

Happy Blogiversary To Me!

I don't think I've remembered my "blog-iversary" since I started blogging... July 15, 2004. Three years o' writing, and wow, haven't some thing changed?! Big life changes, job changes, love, death, and the world keeps on spinning.

We spent the weekend at the lake, at James' grandparents' home, with most of his family making it down for the weekend. Swimming, playing & doing retrieves with the dogs - good eats & fireworks, it was a really nice weekend. There was some drama with the teenagers, which served to remind most all of us how we'd never willingly be 16 years old again. I was super mellow, as was Suzy. One of my favorite memories of the weekend was seeing Suzy wade into the lake, just to mid-chest, and stand there, chillin'. I swam over to her and sat by her and petted her, and we had mellow times together. (Meanwhile, Polly was flipping out at every person splashing off the slide or diving board. OMG! SPLASH! I heard it! Do I need to fetch them?! Huh?!)

The dogs on the car ride back....
Hi! Helllooooo. We're Here! Are There Tater Tots?

We swung by Truman Dam on the way down - the floodwaters and accompanying logjam is tremendous.
All the gates were open:

A whoooole lotta wood:
Log Jam Above The Dam

View from above (the width is astonishing. There are huge slopes of rocks normally leading down to the water, and they're virtually covered completely.
Below the Dam

I got lots of knitting done - finished my Monkey Socks, and re-started the Mystery Stole #3.
Monkey Socks - Finished!
(sock blockers borrowed from Kristin - The Wo is going to make me some of my own!)

And a non-glamorous pic of me - I was just super duper relaxed, and it was a nice weekend. I had work drama that I left behind, and of course I'm getting back into the swing of it all today - but it was nice to have made up my mind the whole weekend to just not get wound up or worry about anything. It worked!
Summertime at the Lake


posted by PlazaJen, 9:44 AM | link |

Thursday, July 12, 2007

OH my. What a day, what a week!

I think it sums it all right up when BOTH Kristin & I are talking about needing booze before the day is over. Not that either of us are big drinkers. But stressful it was today. Again, everyone just be grateful about the airhorn not sitting on my desk.

I did, however, start the day with the aforementioned Celebration Soap!


It's from Indigo Wild, one of my favoritest places & companies here in Kansas City. The women who own the place are dog-friendly, somewhat crazy (it's a compliment, I'm crazy, too) and the products are awesome. I bought this um, well, like SEVERAL weeks ago and this morning was the first day I got to get my shower back & so I used my soap. It's vanilla-orange, despite the patriotic colors, and I suppose if someone wanted to wash my profanity-laden mouth out with soap, I would choose this one. Or the lavender-mint. Their Magic Stick is, indeed, magic? And it has magical properties that make Suzy go crazy. JWo put some on the chigger bites (center of my back! Awesome place for a giant bug bite welt!) and within seconds, Suzy was following me around the house, trying to get at me and lick me. Cracks me up! It was delightful to have my shower space back, and the Wo will gently tell the idiot plumber where he can put his (still wrong) part.

And, right before I got to work, I heard "Lady" by the Commodores, and that put me in a good mood. I didn't care WHO saw or heard me dancing & singing along. More and more, slowly but surely, I feel myself morphing into Kathy Bates' character in Fried Green Tomatoes. Specifically, her really bitchy scene in her car in the parking lot.

Peeps, it's almost Friday. I have re-started the Mystery Stole, and am already feeling better about the smaller needles and the new beads. I will (fingers/toes crossed) finish the monkey socks this weekend, and have some progress accomplished on the lace. Then, next weekend? Will involve sewing. Lots and lots of sewing. At least two very specific things. And I'm writing it here so I don't forget (I do that a lot, just tilt my head ever so slightly and POOF! SLOOSH! There it goes, right out the side and into the ether.)

I leave you with a shot of what continues to be the kitchen table.... We're drying tomatoes to make Tomato Confit, from Chez Pim, which is a site I randomly discovered and I am in uber-awe of her palate & experiences; he's canning hot mix right now, and we've got loads more tomatoes begging to be canned! It's definitely summertime at the NuWo's......

'Maters, 'Maters Everywhere.....

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posted by PlazaJen, 8:46 PM | link |

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

OH MY GOD. I am speechless.

So instead, I will let you read the words of my husband, in two emails:

Not that you didn't know already...
but our former plumber is an idiot! Dude gets here...says the faucet is not a kohler, but a price pfister. Calls to get part at 80th and wornall...will be back here in a few minutes and the deal will be done.

Followed by this email 20 minutes later:

$130 and 20 minutes of work and we're back in bidness.

I think each & every co-worker here should thank me & their lucky stars that I do not have the airhorn here today, because that is about the only expression I could convey right now besides a string of swear words and happy spluttering. Joy and Rage! Joy being dominant! I have a shower again! Which means tomorrow! I get to use my Celebration Soap! (I will explain.) (I always do.)

It almost makes up for the fact I have to re-start my Mystery Stole #3 because I am such a loose knitter and it is not working on #2's. Arrrrrgh. Celebration Soap! Shower! Focus on the Good Things! YAY! Trying not to remember it's taken almost 4 weeks to get here and it could have been solved on day one ..... ohhhhh kay woooosahhhhhh celebrate good times and showers come on! YAY!
posted by PlazaJen, 12:42 PM | link |

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


My goodness. This has been a nutty day! Business and busyness, and lots of things floating & flying through my head.

But I did have lunch with my good friend Kyra, and she gave me a birthday present to beat the band: AN AIR HORN. I've never had one before. I've never used one (well, I have now! Out the window of her car! Look out, Kansas City!) and I really only first saw them used in the movie Jackass, and like several things in that movie, the time they were hiding on the golf course & blasting the air horn as the golfers were trying to swing & hit the ball? That elicits the high-pitched uncontrollable giggling from me. Now, honestly, I have no idea what I'm going to use this airhorn for, except I think it would be a good self-defense weapon, given how loud it is. My goodness. I didn't warn Kyra I was about to honk it and I thought she was going to leap out of her skin. (The car was parked, people, I do have :some: sense.) I really like the idea of anytime I hear something I don't like, just responding with the airhorn. Wouldn't that be fun? For instance, like, with the FUCKING PLUMBER. That would have really come in handy, actually. "It's going to be another week for a different part." MEEEEEEEEEEEEEP, take that, douchebag.

So! Speaking of the plumber, when last we left this story, he was supposed to come to our house on Friday at 3:00, to replace the part that had been ordered once (wrong part, but it took a week) and the re-ordered (still not quite the right part but he thought it would work, took almost two weeks), and then I got a voicemail on Friday that said he needed to talk to me because this second part maybe wasn't going to work the way he thought it would and we needed to discuss options. So I called him back, at 2 p.m. No answer. Left a message. Raced home from the dayspa, and waited for our appointment. Nothing. Didn't show. Apparently I was supposed to deduce our appointment Was.No.More. when he left the "This part ain't gonna work" message. In fact, I think he is from the "I live a long way away and I don't want to drive down in traffic" school of thought. I officially handed the situation off to the Wo, who is in full Enforcer Mode now. He talked to the plumber yesterday, who told him he needed to order ANOTHER new part, and it would be next week sometime. (!!!!!) Oh! And that he :wouldn't: be charging us for the re-stocking fee on the wrong part, normally we'd have to pay that, but no, he's that good of a guy. (Eyebrows SINGEING OFF from the flames.)

We have a new plumber coming tomorrow. The other one can play with all his wrong parts, and wonder what's going on when we don't take his calls (like he didn't take mine over the month, when he was dodging the job.) That is if he remembers to call us.

And if he has the gall to show up on our doorstep?

TOOOOOOOOOT MEEEEEEEEP Allow me to introduce you to my leetle friend, motherfucker.


posted by PlazaJen, 1:38 PM | link |

Monday, July 09, 2007

Time For Some Random Orts!

There's so much to do! So much to recap!

1. The Wo got home this morning, or very late last night, depending on how you define "day" and "night". 2 a.m., because his flight out of Detroit was delayed four hours. I woke up shortly before he got home, and thankfully the dogs didn't go into Full Tilt when he opened the door. He was in Detroit for a big backgammon tournament weekend, and while I missed him on my birthday, it was great to get updates and hear how much fun he was having. It's good to do the things you love!

2. The dogs are hilarious when he's gone. They go into Major Protection mode of me, which I appreciate, but it wears a little thin if I'm watching a movie that contains sounds that alarm them. The burfing is loud, and intended to scare off anyone who thinks they might be coming in the house. And once wound up, any other little noise sets them off. I think they're always going to be this way, because of the very unfortunate incident a couple years ago, that I wrote about but discovered I never published. Pack behavior is an amazing, amazing thing, and even though part of me thinks our dogs are big love dogs with big barks, I'm also pretty sure that if they continued to sense my fear, they would bite someone threatening me. No hugs for thugs!

3. My birthday was nice. I spent 5 hours at the day spa, and was extremely relaxed by the time I poured out the door. I did get a bit frothy with the plumber situation that afternoon, because even though I had high hopes, part of me knew it wasn't going to be resolved. But I talked to James that afternoon and officially handed it over to him to handle. (Three & a half weeks, and the plumber dodged the appointment we had on Friday. I'd get mad just typing that? But that wouldn't be letting go. LET GO. Let it wash away like.... like a SHOWER that WORKS....)

4. I picked a TON of tomatoes this weekend, and processed the ripe ones yesterday - we're going to have spaghetti tonight, which isn't exactly a summertime dish, but I know already that with fresh basil & roasted garlic, it's gonna be YUMMY. James is going to have quite the canning adventures ahead of him this month!

5. I joined the Mystery Stole #3 knitalong. I blame three people: Kristin, who told me about it in the first place; Jacqui, one of my very first Ravelry friends and does some beautiful lace knitting, and then of course the Yarn Harlot, because if she were going to jump off a cliff, I think we would all quickly knit ourselves some parachutes and follow her right off the edge. Actually, I would have thrown the Office Max dude off a cliff on Saturday, because he seemed to think the idea of highlighter tape was of my own imagination. WRONG-O.

6. Speaking of Ravelry friends, I'm going to complain about this once, and then I'm going to be done. I categorized some people as my friends, some of them based on the fact I read their blogs - and I comment there - and certain people are a bit too good and not as willing to reciprocate. Now, mind you, I'm not talking about the biggies, the famous knitters, with gazillions (or even hundreds) of people who read their blogs - that would be nutters, and I completely understand that. I'm talking about people like me, and honestly, that is the one thing I just f'n hate about how the internet can reduce you to feeling like the ugly girl at your locker, watching the other kids stream by and ignore your very existence, when you're metaphorically smiling at them and waving "hi". Of course, the internet brings a gajillion more people into my life, for which I'm extremely grateful and my life is enriched a thousandfold because of it. So I have to recognize none of this is black & white. I keep having to relearn the lesson that even if I call someone my friend, they're not necessarily MY friend back. (And lest we think this all about Ravelry, this actually happens in real life, too.) So to stem some of my irritation, I removed them from my friend world, and I stick with adding new unknown people that Ravelry thinks would be good matches, based on patterns and projects, and I am divesting myself from taking it personally. I'm sure I'll have that one figured out in um, 20 years. MSCONFIG: Run: \\complaining:OFF

7. I have a vacation hangover. The only thing that would really make me happy is if I could go back to sleep for about ten hours. And wake up to discover the shower's been fixed. And everyone wants me to be their friend. ;)
posted by PlazaJen, 11:01 AM | link |

Friday, July 06, 2007


Well, today's the big day. Not exactly, I suppose, that's next year (the big 4-0!) Even if it wasn't my birthday, I'm going to a day spa, AND the plumber's coming to fix my shower, so that right there makes it a banner day. Add to that dinner tonight, with my bestest girlfriends, followed by cake (there must always be cake), and undoubtedly, knitting, and you have a five-star day. (Please, just cross your fingers and whisper a little wish for me on the plumbing project. That's the only wrench I can foresee, and I'd hate to undo all the relaxation from the spa...)

The best news I can report is that on Monday, I was having a conversation with one of my bosses, and he asked me how I was doing. I said, "OK!" and for the first time in over a year, it didn't feel like part of me was lying. Sure, there are still moments, even hours and days that I don't feel "ok", or that something reminds me of dad, and I am sad, melancholy, even grief-stricken. But I've passed all the first anniversaries now - including last year's dreadful burglary - and there's something solidifying about standing in the present and not having the year-ago reflection feel like a soul-sucking monster bearing down on you.

So let there be cake! And friends! And love. And healing, and joy, and perspective. The best gifts in life can't be bought. (You are, however, welcome to shower me with presents.)
posted by PlazaJen, 6:56 AM | link |

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Seriously, And Not Just Because I Am From Iowa, Where The Only Thing That We Had On The Fourth of July Was Sparklers, Seriously, Is This Necessary?

It is 11:49 p.m. on July 4th, and I am just about ready to become one of those SUPER crazy people and take my shotgun outside and shoot it up in the air. Two nights in a row of 'Nam flashbacks and war zones surrounding the house, with all the personally-purchased fireworks, things we would have to drive to town to see set off in the middle of the softball field. My father telling me people get their hands blown off ALL THE TIME from firecrackers. (Envisioning how that'd curtail the following year's festivities and LIKING IT.) I am telling you, no matter how long I live here, the firecrackers and the booming bomb thingies, it is all CRAZY. I do not understand it, all these firecrackers at an up-close (to the house!) and personal level were never part of my formative years, and it all sounds like gunfire to me. Which does NOT spell "yee-haw! good times" to my ears.

If we hadn't had all this rain, I'd think we'd need to start soaking the quilts and covering the roof. (Whilst wearing a bonnet!)

This wet blanket's going to bed. I hope everyone around me does soon, too!
posted by PlazaJen, 11:49 PM | link |

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

My Buddy Greg

Imagine, if you will, someone who parallels George Costanza. I adore our friend Greg. He is actually one of my oldest friends here in Kansas City, because we worked together at my first agency (and my second...) and then he decided it might be a better idea to get a degree in law & jump out of the Crazy Ad Train. Now he shuttles between KC & D.C., and he said he won't come to our fish fry if he doesn't appear in my blog. Never one to disappoint - and I've never forgotten the fact I didn't give him the birthday present he wanted so many years ago (me doing comedy improv at an improv place in town!), so I figure I still owe him.

Greg, G, where do I begin? Do I talk about the time at coffee night, you decided to leave one of those comments on the KCTV5 machines they were shuttling around town? And you were paranoid about us hearing you, so you got really close to the camera, which resulted in an EXTREME close-up? (I um, still have the tape, too, btw. Think about if you decide to run for office...) Or the fifty cents? We'd often lunch at Tanner's, and Greg could always be counted upon to kvetch about how they always stiffed him with the extra fifty cents, because of course you leave the change on top of your tip and ALWAYS with the fifty cents, so I went and bought him a cake for his birthday, that had a Snickers bar cut into thirds on top? And washed two shiny quarters and cemented them between the spaces and dubbed it the fiddy-cent cake. Perhaps it was the time he dated a former Miss Minnesota, and broke out in hives and his doctor ordered him to stop dating her. (That was classic Greg-Costanza behavior!) Greg is such a good friend, he helped me move into Widow Creek, and amid all the stress, I remember two points of near-hysterical laughter: Greg whispering "I see old people!" (because Widow Creek was practically a nursing home) and Greg getting stuck with the really bad dolly that had one wheel that just went apeshit side-to-side.

Greg's dating life and updates have always been awesomely funny, and again, he could have his own sitcom if he really put his mind to it. For a while there, it seemed like Greg ran into people he knew every time he was out with his girlfriend, and he had her convinced that he was almost a KC celebrity. (Almost.) In that vein, he also sent out one of the funniest pictures I've ever seen, telling all of us, hey! I was at this function, and look at the picture of me with Jason Whitlock (sports writer for the Kansas City Star) and Buck O'Neil (legendary baseball player & KC native)!

Here's that famous pic.... Buck, Jason & Greg....
Buck Jason Greg
(oh, yeah, Greg's white. He's over Jason's shoulder.)

The best thing about Greg is that he never hesitates to laugh at himself. The other best thing about Greg is that he's a great, true friend. He called to check on me last summer, to see how I was doing, and I know that even though we have gaps and distance and time between when we see each other, he's still my friend, we pick up and get up-to-date and have some more laughs. I know you'll be in D.C. when we have the fish fry, my friend, but we'll put up your supermodel photos I took last time you were in town, in your honor.

Greg, showing his best Blue Steel:
Getting His "Blue Steel" On...

Happy 4th of July, Greg. Your KC peeps miss ya!



posted by PlazaJen, 12:51 PM | link |

Monday, July 02, 2007

....and I shouted, "I ATE GOAT!"

....upon returning to the office from lunch.

I'm adventurous with limits. I like to try new things, but I'm also a flippin' princess about what I do and don't like. I can be exceedingly timid, and I usually sail right by the "Goat Curry" on the Taj Mahal buffet. But I took my IT co-worker there for lunch today, and he tried a small spoonful of everything. So after the first go-through (wherein I declared, "Nope. I can't do it.") I decided to nut up* and take a tiny piece of goat. With bone. (I'm also reeeeally not a gamer for meat on the bone IN sauces, soups and whatnot.) It wasn't bad! It wasn't awesome and I'm not running out to the GoatMart or anything anytime soon, but I'm glad I tried it. After all, the selling point to me for that buffet is that you can sample a wide variety of things without committing to an entire plate of any one thing. And whatever was in the vegetables? Lit me up like a Roman Candle. Holy Toledo. The crazy thing about the spices is that they have a slow build, but the crescendo is enough to make your eyes pop out of your head. And after four bites in, you're screwed, there's no turning the spice bus around!

The best part about dining there is the bottomless cups of chai tea..... iced or hot..... yummmmmmmy!

Oh, yeah, and the best part of my week? I'm only working two days. And since one of those days is half-over, dude, that's even LESS time! I have already fooled myself into thinking I'm turning 40, so it's great to re-correct myself and adjust to turning 39 on Friday. From what I hear, many people remain 39 for - well - years and years!

*Can girls nut up, technically? I think so. I just know it's more a boy-term, but I catch myself saying it in my head, so it applies when I'm applying it, I guess! You know me and the tautologies. I just told Kristin, "I believe what I believe!" and two weeks ago I declared, "All we can do, is what we can." I am a walking bumpersticker machine, friends.


posted by PlazaJen, 2:04 PM | link |