PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Friday, August 31, 2007

Road Show

My boss & I do a pretty good job of working together; today, we had to do a new business pitch, and it was mostly him, with me playing the trusted role of "Sidekick", something I feel very confident doing. And I'm grateful to only have to be the sidekick when my head's stuffed up and I need five minutes to cough surreptitiously. Well, I like to pretend nobody's noticing the big girl hack up a lung. You should, too. It's far more polite.

Now, one thing I've learned in all these long, stressful, whacked-out years, is that you WAIT to say anything until you are safely ensconced back in the car, doors shut. And I grinned as we went down the stairs and then once we were safely in his car, I said, "OK. My favorite moment? When you were presenting? And it was like Little Miss Sunshine in the background."

Because outside the building we were in, somebody was PISSED OFF and randomly honking their horn or something at irregular intervals for at least fifteen minutes. Like, COME ON Mitzi, you said you'd get off at 3:30 so we could get a jump on traffic, where the HELL are you, come ON! And it was that same keening, pissy wail of a horn like the VW bus in the movie. Gahd. If I hadn't had such a head cold, it would have been a bigger struggle not to giggle.

My other favorite moment was seeing him NOT take a header on the electrical cord that was coming straight up out of the floor, creating a treacherous loop. It was seeing him deftly maneuver around it that convinced me to stay seated at all times, because if you know me, I am :not: grace defined. I can take a header on low-pile carpet, and I even have a pair of beloved Doc Martens I've affectionately dubbed "Take A Header" shoes, given the number of times I've lurched and nearly fallen down in them. (First time I wore them? Bit it completely in a parking lot. But that time I bounced back up and kept walking just like an Olympic skater who wants you all to think, "Did I just see that?" Anyway, I was grateful he didn't fall down because that WOULD have been really awkward for all of us. Plus I didn't want to have to carry him down the stairs. There are just boss-employee lines none of us want to cross.

Well, here we are, it's Friday night, the week is over, there are three lovely long luscious days stretched out at my feet, I'm 12 rows from being done with MS3, so that will get blocked this weekend, and I'm going to finish James' socks as well, oh my! I'm just going to be a whirling dervish of Finish It Up! Maybe I'll even get some of the sewing done that stands between me & a couple knitted bags that need linings. And I'll get rid of the head cold, and I'll process some more tomatoes, and next week... next week will be SEPTEMBER! Which means we're destined to leave these brutally hot days behind us, and when I look back on everything that's happened in July & August, there are some things I'm ready to leave behind to bake away in the dry heat and turn to dust...... Happy long weekend for those of you who get it, and I will return with pictures of all these finished objects!

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posted by PlazaJen, 9:46 PM | link |

Cut & Paste

This is an email I sent the Wo yesterday afternoon. Yesterday? Brutal. Today? Will be a different kind of brutal, but brutal nonetheless. I am looking forward to sleeping this cold right outta me. And not working on Monday. And? Finishing Mystery Stole #3!!! Anyway, I think this email says it all - rather than rewrite the events, I'll let you see how I communicate with my hubby in times of stress....

First of all, EVERYTHING IS OK.
But it's been a really stressful day & the last five minutes just shaved a year off my life. Brinks called at work that the alarm was going off in zones 2,3 & 5 (or whatever) and did I want the police sent & was anyone supposed to be there. I told them we have cleaning people, but yes, go ahead and send the police, and then I see Christine has called my cell (twice) because the front door was locked & :almost: shut, but not shut completely? (but enough that I could set the alarm today) and so the cleaning people didn't want to go in because they were freaked out, because while they were debating on going in, some tweeker drove by in a silver mini van really slowly, twice, and then five minutes later came by in a different car, they swear, and of course we have the history of The Day Your Cleaning People Came We Was Robbed, so Christine went ahead and called the police and they "cleared the house" (that would be my COPS lingo talkin') and they're the ones who set OFF the alarm, because of course they had to clear the house first, and then they had Angela go through to make sure it looked "normal" & so who knows if a second unit was actually dispatched or not. Let's just note that it definitely took less time than 20 minutes for all of this to happen. WHERE WERE YOU ASS CLOWNS A YEAR AGO.

I'm just fucking relieved, and of course I'm in the post-adrenaline rush so all my muscles are twitching, though it could be combining with the cold meds too, so who the hell knows. Jesus. I agreed with Christine, better safe than sorry, and I'd rather have them call the police to make sure it's all ok than to walk in on a freakjob who shreds them with a pizza cutter.

So I guess on cleaning people days we make sure the door's shut. Heh. And I have so much work to do I am about to snap. Yay!

----end of email-----
Now, I must say, despite the fifteen minutes of Xtreme! Stress! Now with More Worry! Topped with Confusion! I feel 100x better about having our alarm system and that it operates as it's supposed to. And the fact that burly police officers went through our house with guns drawn is very exciting. (Well, I don't know that they had guns drawn, but it does enhance the imagined incident, so I'm running with it.) Perhaps I've watched a little too much Kansas City SWAT. Or COPS. Or both. Oh baby. Long weekend, Court TV/A&E marathons...... it can't get here fast enough!


posted by PlazaJen, 8:38 AM | link |

Thursday, August 30, 2007


The next two days are going to be marathoners. I've got two plans due by tomorrow, and a presentation tomorrow afternoon (for a third plan), and today's full of meetings. I caught JWo's cold, so I'm also a bit bleary, but fortunately, his lasted all of three days, so I'm hoping mine follows the same timeline. It's not even a regular sort of cold, it's just a cough/sore throat with some congestion, but not the sort that feels like someone packed your brain in cotton. Which is good, because none of my clients want those cotton-padding plans!

I do sound like Kathleen Turner, doing the voice-over for a cartoon frog. And my lungs feel like I've just run a half mile (15 yards) as fast as I possibly could - the searing/burning sensation - it's sweepin' the nation.

I am excited about a small project that my buddies in the design department are working on - our department went out on Monday & took some wacky pictures, and they're going to convert them into a Warhol-esque, enormous photo quad that will go behind my desk in my new office. The current artwork there contains a montage of numerous clients, most of whom are old & aren't there anymore, and it needs updating. I got the idea last week, and couldn't stop laughing, so I guess I was able to convince my boss (who will also be in the quad) and the head designer to have some fun with the idea.

In the interim, here's what messing around with one of my photos looks like. You can see why I'll have this BEHIND me. :)


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posted by PlazaJen, 6:45 AM | link |

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hard Knocks

"You know why you're watching this show, right?"


"Because. You want to be able to learn as much as you can before the season starts and impress all your friends with your football talk."

"Well of course I want to learn!"

"Yeah, but you want to impress your people with your knowledge of football."
(walks away)

(me, yelling) "Did you ever think maybe I wanted to impress YOU, Jackass?!"

(from kitchen) "OH me! Impress me? It's all about me?"

I dunno where that came from, maybe I was channeling Gunther Cunningham. That man swears like a fuckin' sailor. And he's tough. Players call him the Grinch. And tonight I learned all about the Depth Chart.

Now, aren't you just a tiny smidge impressed?

I'm so ready for football, except watching this show is making me a little skeered my Chiefs are not gonna do all that well. But what's most important is my ability to BANTER and how much more I'll know. Speaking of knowing things, I gotta work on my hand signals for the new season. Illegal Crackback on ALL y'all who mess with me.


posted by PlazaJen, 9:43 PM | link |

Monday, August 27, 2007

Laugh While You Can, Monkey Boy

....there is nothing like receiving an email from your boss that contains the phrase "went ape shit."

I think this week is going to be better.


posted by PlazaJen, 11:35 AM | link |

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Orts From Irrational Central

I came home last night & crawled into bed. Not to sleep, but to rest, and somehow give my brain a break from the day/week. It wasn't quite as nuts as last week, but somehow that stress accumulates (even with treadmill time) and I had hit the wall.....

1. We moved offices at work. Same building & all, but my boss moved up to a corner/windowed office, and I went into his office. Kristin went into mine, and our other team member went into the one next to Kristin. We all have tall walls now, not that it changes the travel of sound since none of the walls go to the ceiling, but hey - I got a ton more space, and I also moved all my stuff in the space of a few hours.

.... I just deleted Ort 2, because you know, sometimes you just can't write it all down, but let's just leave it at Moving is Stressful.

3. Auntie Karen sailed through her procedure this week & things look good, so that was good news to hear. Fingers crossed that everything comes back just fine!

4. The heat has finally abated a bit - which will be welcomed by every resident, I think.

5. My childhood home/farm has officially been sold.

6. After hearing me on the phone yesterday, JWo was in a place of wanting to help & fix. He even offered to come into the office to help me organize my office (since that was some of my stress & I was hearing only criticism instead of humor at that point) Instead he went to the grocery store last night, and then to Gates. Ribs can soothe the irrational beast, and they did.

7. Speaking of beasts, we watched Sexy Beast last night, and what an odd, but interesting movie that was. Usually when I watch a British movie, and the accents or dialects are thick, I have to put on subtitles for the first ten-twenty minutes or so, until my brain starts connecting the sounds to the words. (I discovered this when watching Gosford Park. Worked like a charm!) Since we watched this movie On Demand, I can guarandamntee you I only hear about half the dialogue correctly. Except for when Ben Kingsley was saying, "YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!" or conversely, "NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!" Liberal use of the words "fuck" and "c*nt", perhaps even astonishingly so, and from me, that's saying a lot. I did, fortunately, get the gist of the movie, and liked it, despite having missed key points (I thought they were in Australia, fortunately the Wo heard "Spain" and corrected me.)

8. I'm off to pick more tomatoes. I don't have an extensive to-do list for the weekend, and I'm glad. I moved on to Clue 6 in the MS3 last night, which means -woooooohooooo- second-to-last-clue and then I'll be on the last clue & then this will be DONE! It's been a great learning process, with the first and foremost lesson being, in lace? If you make a mistake? It is not the end of the world. Not at all. In fact, I have gotten pretty good at spotting & catching myself being off in the pattern, within two rows of the error, figuring out where the mistake is, and fixing it. My culprit is the elusive yarn overs that sometimes get slipped or forgotten, so fortunately, those are pretty easy to fudge.

Have a good weekend!


posted by PlazaJen, 8:24 AM | link |

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I am starting to see the appeal of putting a bucket on your head and running into walls.
I had a woman nearly sideswipe me tonight & at the sound of my horn, gave me a wave. I then encountered a woman on my street, driving alternately between 8 mph and 25 mph, and when I finally passed her, she was on the phone. I arrived home & informed my husband that if someone is so selfish that they have to get into the intersection as the light's changing & they have the back half of their car hanging out so an entire lane of traffic has to swerve into another lane of traffic just to get around them? They should be ticketed heavily. And perhaps dragged from their car and forced to watch barbershop quartets while I get to punch them in the nose whenever the urge strikes me. Given that I'd have to listen to the barbershop quartet as well, you can bet the urge would be striking me.

I haven't had so much road rage in one week - I'm wondering if the heat has just cooked people's brains, or with back-to-school in swing, more inexperienced drivers are out, or what in hell is going on. But I've had no less than three occasions this week where I've had to defensively swerve because someone abruptly has changed lanes, and seriously, I'm not in a blind spot, nor am I invisible. Perhaps if I put a bucket on my head, I would be.

Can Friday get here soon, please? Please? The forecast has been changed again & now it's dropped to -wait for it - 79 degrees. Right now that sounds downright chilly. I'm ready for Fall. I'm ready for normal. I'm ready to find my peace, ready to drive to work without incident, ready to relax. Crisp air, woolen knits, dusk bringing a chill, I'm just so ready. It'll be delicious when it gets here.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:45 PM | link |

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Moment of Silence

She was a total beyotch, but upon learning, just moments ago, that Leona Helmsley had died, I gasped aloud. For all her bad stuffs, she was an icon. Here's my post from 2005 outlining my marginal obsession with her & her ads in the New Yorker when I was a child. Because I couldn't be normal and be obsessed with say, Farrah Fawcett or Daisy Duke as my role model. Nope. Not me. Queen of Mean and don't give me a wire hanger or I'll beat ya with it. Leona wouldn't stand for it, why should you?

(Yeah, I'm mixing icons, but you know Joan Crawford & Leona would have made a hell of a club-hopping duo. They sure as hell wouldn't need any ice for their drinks!)
Enjoy giving the devil his due, Queen Leo.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:43 PM | link |

Monday, August 20, 2007

Good Wiikend.

So, "wii" are going to be buying something "wii" tried out this "wiikend" and by now surely, you have guessed that it is a "Wii". Holy crap is that a kickass fun thang!

Our friend Roger has a system, and we all engaged in some bowling, and from there it led to trying all the sports out. I was sold when it came to boxing, and the Wo and I went up against each other. OMG! Virtually punching my husband in the face? Priceless! Of course, I spent too much time hitting him in the head & he got in all sorts of kidney punches & he knocked me out in no time. But we both broke a sweat & agreed it was a great fitness tool, and fun to boot! I somehow foster some unspoken belief that if you get closer to the television, it's like you're moving in closer to punch the hell out of your opponent. Good thing they have those straps on the remotes!

We'll need to wait a couple weeks to let the vacation expenditures settle, and of course there's the other challenge of actually FINDING a system, but it was darned fun. If listening to my husband collapse in laughter at my (in)ability to play tennis was ANY indication at all. (So what if I kept falling down? I have a MEAN backhand, dammit.)
posted by PlazaJen, 10:38 AM | link |

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Bacchanalian Birthday

OK, so first, thank you all for your comments and good wishes and crossed fingers, I do appreciate the virtual hugs and love and they help! Let's get our chins up & tits out, it's the weekend, I'm not dragging my anchor today, and I'm going to tell y'all about the Birthday Bacchanal we had last night.
For yes, whenever the anniversary of Elvis' death rolls around, it is also the birthday of The Wo! The King of my world, anyway. And thank heavens he doesn't have a penchant for white jumpsuits! Eesh! In any event, he wasn't feeling up for a big celebration, so he sent me off to knit night on Thursday (his actual birthday), knowing we'd go out this weekend instead. I hadn't really planned on it being so - Bacchanalian - but like they say - when in Rome! And seriously, I understand why those Romans wore togas. For the feasting! Draped sheets just don't confine a gal when she's waltzing through a multi-course meal!

We went to Pierpont's last night with Momma Linda for dinner. I had squirreled away a couple gift cards this past year, and then my dear friend Kyra, upon hearing we were going there, whipped out her (very large) stack of customer loyalty cards and other various plastics, and bestowed upon me two additional gift cards she didn't think she'd use. "Have a couple drinks on me," she said. Um, you betcha?! Plus, Pierpont's has a great email loyalty program, where you give them your anniversary and birthday, and they send you a coupon for a free entree (with purchase of another entree), up to $20/off. So I encouraged James to get whatEVER he really wanted. And get it all. I wanted him to experience the meal the way I've had so many rep dinners over the years - don't worry about the check and savor every bite.

I think we accomplished that. We'd also discussed steaks since the last time he'd had one, and I firmly insisted that he get a filet. He always ends up getting a ribeye, or a t-bone, and then there was the dreadful porterhouse we shared on our anniversary, and none of those pieces of meat are ever as good as the filet, and it has reinforced in him a disappointment with beef. Well, he still sees it as too expensive, but I think he was pretty delighted with his blue-crab-topped/smoky-tomato-Bearnaise-sauce filet last night. Every single thing was impeccable. We had Asian beef carpaccio and flash-fried calamari for starters, we shared a grilled tomato salad with goat cheese, basil, and balsamic vinegar (holy mother was that awesome and I am so re-creating that recipe), and he also got a side of bourbon-candied sweet potatoes, that were perfection - just enough bite to them and not a soggy piece to be found, all infused with an essence of the bourbon candying that didn't overwhelm, but with enough sweetness to complement the potato. That's the rub, you know, you spend a ton of money, but every single thing was top-notch. I had two martinis, and after the week I'd had, a third or fourth might have actually removed some of the brain cells holding the memories, but then there would have been the whole walking-to-the-car thing (which let's not lie, it was more like waddling by the time our two-hour meal was complete.)
Dessert - and yes, you have to have dessert - was also delish, accompanied by cappuccinos; James got the banana split, which was banana fritters served on top of hot fudge, with a side dish of ice cream - a chocolate chip, and then he substituted two scoops of the caramel-cashew, skipping the strawberry. Momma Linda got the creme brulee, which was also delicious, and I broke everyone's expectations and got the bread pudding. I'm not normally a big bread-pudding fan - too many times it's too soggy, or too dry, or overly sweet, or loaded with raisins - and yet something about the description ("white chocolate ganache and roasted peach coulis flambeed tableside with rum")? Just said, "Jennifer, this is the dessert for you." Holy mackerel, was it ever. I regretted not having a camera because they even put the "P" of their logo in dark chocolate on top - a perfect replica, some sort of computer-meets-chocolate magicry. And it was perfection. Firm, sweet, the right amount of moisture, the right amount of sauce, all the flavors coming together - my mouth is watering from the memory of it. And the service was excellent. Just enough checking in, keeping us hydrated, and ever-so polite. By far one of the best birthday dinners we've ever had together, and even though we ate way too much, it truly was a great way to end what had been a pretty rough week for all of us. MommaLinda'd had a crazed week at work as well, and James had his first week of school with the kids. My guess is next week will be a lot more normal, and that means - sigh - no Pierponts again. But, that's what makes dinners like that so special!
posted by PlazaJen, 8:56 AM | link |

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Ides & Tides of August

Could we all have a big shout-out for the happiness that is FRIDAY? Oh mah lord. I can't believe I've only worked 3.5 days - the work & stress has been the equivalent of a couple of weeks, and that EXCEEDS the recommended dosing! Everything has been in some state of uproar or drama or irritation or frustration, and that is work, life, the whole shebang. I'm very, very tired.

Until my father's death, I excelled at denial, and avoidance. I still do - but emotional things are a lot harder to shake free now. But I've learned about drowning in grief and the whole process of breaking the surface and finding your breath again and eventually staying afloat - and even swimming.

I had some news this week, and it's the reason for my watery metaphor - my beloved Auntie Karen had a false negative on a biopsy earlier this month, and she does, after all, have breast cancer. I suspected something had happened when we returned from vacation & she'd left a message. I called her back right away and when I heard the news, I just felt myself sinking. Not fighting it. Legs together, toes pointed, sinking like a stone. She continued, with positive information (it's Stage I), the treatment will be pretty aggressive, she has all the faith in the world with her doctor, he feels the prognosis is very good, so on and so forth. She told me not to panic or think the worst.

I've done a pretty good job of following her instructions this week, in which I've had numerous emotional bungee drops and confrontations and stress. Mostly because I didn't talk about it much. Didn't let it break the surface. I have a very obsessive mind, I've always described it as my "inner terrier", the dog that cannot and will not back out of the hole until it has dragged every goddamned rat out of the darkness. Some might call it a futile attempt to control everything, in a search for reassurance. Terrier sounds a little cuter.

My voice cracked when I told James, and later this week, at lunch with my girlfriends, when I described my aunt, trying to be wry and pretend it's ok, as "my only living relative who still speaks to me..." Yeah, it's a sucker punch of a twist on the truth, but I'm tired. My terrier is tired of hunting rats, of not coming in from the rain, of having to sink to the bottom before I can rise to the surface again, tired of paddling, tired just so tired.

Despite my words here, I'm still optimistic. I know my Auntie will pull through this, that all will be ok, that the stress at work will continue but it will, too, resolve itself, and that the general stress of life ebbs and flows. I just hit my limit today, and in the silence of the office, as people scramble to leave early, I felt the realities of my life rush in, no longer held at bay by business and calls and meetings. ....and yes, I'm still quite happy it's Friday. I have a great evening planned, and I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to see this post as just a little dip in the Sorrows Pool on a Friday afternoon.
posted by PlazaJen, 2:07 PM | link |

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Best Quote From The Weekend, Hands Down.

James, teasingly, to his 8-year-old niece, Danielle: "Wellll, you wanna knuckle sandwich? I'll give you a knuckle sandwich!"

Danielle: "Well, then, I'll give you a box of poop."

It still cracks me up.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:47 PM | link |

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I told the Wo this morning I had a Vacation Hangover, and he surmised that instead, it could very likely be Bacon Withdrawal. In any event, I've sported a faint headache for the day, and been a little confused about what day it actually is. I came in to work halfway through the day, and diligently plowed through the 15 voicemails I'd gotten. I was unable to change my VM greeting before I left, because the fire alarm was going off! And I have some impairment and am unable to access our voicemail remotely, something about hitting the star key rapidly and I don't know what I'm doing wrong but I end up leaving myself multiple hang-ups.

This morning sent us out to apply for our passports; I should say, JWo got his application in, because we discovered when we got to the good post office, that I had neglected to bring MY birth certificate, but instead had both of his in an envelope. So we toodled back home, I hunted for mine, trying not to just fall apart out of frustration and bacon withdrawal, and then I went off to the bank to put everything else in the safety deposit box, which was a bit of a hassle because they had our account flagged again but it was simply out of order filing-wise, not because I needed to sign something (again.) But it took fifteen minutes of two bank employees running around looking in every available file drawer to figure it out. I exited the bank thinking that this did NOT bode well for my trip to the Altercation Post Office, the one where I was verbally abused by a drunk while the postal employee served him coffee? Which is the same one where a woman was beaten with a 2x4 one morning when she was checking her mailbox? So you can understand why perhaps I was not rolling in there as the local optimists chapter president. The line? It was so, so long. Maybe that was the WAIT, there were only three people in front of me. I conjectured that the hippie dude was selling off his comic books on eBay and this was his big shipping day. I have no idea what the old dude in front of me was shipping, but Darth Vader was behind me in line, breathing audibly, and he stood about four inches back from me. No matter how I moved to increase my bubble. And believe you me, my bubble is kinda big right now. He was a nice old man, Darth Vader, and he was mostly at the post office for socialization. Weather was a safe subject, and he wheezed and whistled and waxed rhapsodic about the heat, and I was grateful that after one more person, he would be forced to maintain a five-foot berth from my bubble. Poor dude. I wish I could have been more chipper and chatty, but again. No bacon today.
The process for getting my passport application done went so quickly even the postal worker thought she'd made a mistake. Typing that now makes a bit uh, nervous, but since I'd watched all the steps down in Martin City on JWo's, I know that we did all the same steps & I paid for everything I was supposed to - so now the race will be on, to see if there really is a difference between post offices and if one will come before the other. My postal worker couldn't have been nicer, and nobody stank like MD 20/20 while screaming rude things at me, so perhaps we've reached a turning point with the Wornall station!
I titled this blog purgatory because I feel caught between Vacation (Bacon) Life and Normal Routine Life. I have other things to do, out of my routine, this week, because Thursday is the Wo's birthday, and I'm paranoid I'll forget them in my half-life half-death no-bacon state. I need another night of sleep and maybe some Bacon DeTox tea and hopefully normal will be returning to Jenville.
Oh, speaking of Jen this and Jen that, we determined on our vacation that Jenapalooza would feature many great bands. Cake, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Journey, Cyndi Lauper, maybe Snow Patrol? and I can't remember who else right now. I'm adding Tom Petty to that list, because they are my official Backyard Band. (You know, a band you'd like to have permanently in your back yard.) The best part of having Jenapalooza come to your town, would be listening to me sing along to all those great songs, because like, I don't really worry so much about the words? As written out by the artist? I'm more about the tune. The melody. Mmhm! Leonard Bernstein!

This is TOTALLY ME. Now. Start begging Ticketmaster to bring Jenapalooza to your hometown!
posted by PlazaJen, 5:04 PM | link |

Monday, August 13, 2007

Oh My.

I've just gotten home! We left Friday for Branson, where we spent three nights with James' family (Momma Linda, Brother Steve, and the nieces), in what can only be described as "cosy quarters". Double beds. Single bathroom. Whole lotta togetherness.

I caught some trout, we had some lovely pontoon boat rides, and then some beastly hot pontoon boat rides, and every time I let the dogs out, Polly went over to Mimi Murano and tried to figure out how to open the hatchback to climb in. My dog likes her familiar places and spaces and this whole trip was throwing her into Anxious Mode! But for the people, there was swimming, and there was grilling, and there was bacon, oh so much bacon, and there was awesome food, and there was a fish hatchery tour and then there was more sweltering heat, and laughter and some photos of my brother-in-law that will be blackmail-worthy someday, and I think this is what constitutes a successful family vacation! We never had them, growing up, and I look back on my time in the dorms and wonder how I spent all that time in close proximity to people. Every day. I think it explains why I rode my bike to the cemetery to study. (I've always had a flair for The Goth within....) Being an only child is kind of strange, and I was interested to immerse myself in the non-only-child experience, because the banter and the familiarity and the references, there's just so much there that it's hard to describe. It was a good, good weekend away. The only thing that was bad happened when we hooked up to the Wi-Fi, and I started to construct a pissed-off email to my alumni group,directed at one person who never stops his vitriolic spews to the group (note the irony there), and then I started to edit it, and then everyone got back from somewheres and it was wet swimsuits and pandelerium, but instead of "save", I hit "send" and OH MAH GOD what had I done? So I had to send another email (with complete sentences) that took some (most all) of the inflammatory language out (I rarely start an email with "You are crazy." But I did! Oh yes, yes, I did!) and put the rest of the points I wanted to make IN, and when I got home I had a couple emails thanking me for my efforts. So at least I didn't start an email flame war by accident. I also discovered via email that the work a/c is not working, and that makes me thankful for being home today. I'm teaching a class at the Studio tonight, and I may need to ask my two students if we can end it a bit early, and then do an extra follow-up hour later on, because I'm pretty sure they'll need it. I am so excited for Our Bed. Soooo excited. James is making sure it still works just fine, right now. I know if I go down for the count, that's it - I'll be toast and I'll have unhappy knitters wondering where I am. So I'm going to run on fumes, and whatever else I can scare up to eat around here - sadly, there is no freshly cooked pile of bacon - and then we'll get back to All Things Normal again, with regular blogging and bitching about the heat. And, unfortunately, less bacon. Vacation and bacon rhyme, and I do NOT think that is coincidental.
posted by PlazaJen, 2:51 PM | link |

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I Stand Corrected

So, we've watched the Power of Ten, because there's really nothing new on, and everything we're DVR'ing right now is interesting only to us individually, not collectively (soaps vs. poker!), and one of the questions was what percent of 100 American women say they've had a fantasy about a firefighter? And the Wo said something high, and I picked something very low, and it WAS very low, under 20%.

But we just had a big ol' fire alarm here at the office? And I may need to revise that number. We got not only one fire truck, but TWO, including the one with the big ladder. Loaded with beefy men in heavy suits (I felt bad for them given the weather). Carrying big poky things, oxygen tanks, and other rescue paraphernalia. Hubba hubba! Though my favorite part was when the first truck pulled up and Kristin WAVED AT THEM. Heyyy-Oh! (They did not wave back.) Our office was not on fire, but only a small number of us actually left the building. I believe I chirped to one of the firemen in charge that we were "the survivors", and I meant it more like we WOULD be the survivors because when danger comes, we step out. I've deduced from their rather stony demeanor that they're really not receptive to a lot of banter. Or waving.

In other randomness, we had one hell of a thunderstorm last night. I was convinced lightning had struck our neighbor's cars, because it was all so BRIGHT and LOUD and wahoo-wake-ya-up-screaming. Turns out, it hit our big pin oak, and I drove right by it without even noticing! Because I'm the O.F. (Original Fogbanks). I was too busy looking at all the rubbish on the road, both from the storm & trees, and then those irritating plastic baggies with sales pitches & rocks in them that IDIOTS throw on your driveway, and I really, really, want a good form of recourse against them, like pressing charges for littering. Or a public flogging. Whichever. Anyway, Wo noticed it and left me a message & I'll be getting a picture of it for posterity. Hope the tree survives, it's a beautiful oak.

To complain about the heat would be redundant. It's just miserable (see, I can't NOT do it.) The dogs were synchronized-lounging last night on the tile & wood floor, because it was the coolest place to be, and they were stretched out to maximize the coolness. I left them with frozen beef bones this morning, so they'll be busy on their meatsicles for the day.... And that's it! Stay cool!
posted by PlazaJen, 9:43 AM | link |

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

If You Can't Say Anything Nice....

....Don't say anything at all.

It might be contributing to my delinquent blogging. (though that may be related to a flurry of work, and other etcetera things...) I'm just tired. I've allowed my husband to see me at my most vulnerable, ugly self, and then to get through the day, I feel myself fold up like a flower at night, trying to protect the most fragile anthers within translucent petals. My, I'm looking up all the parts of a flower and the metaphors and visuals are loaded. Filaments and anthers ....... fragility and answers..... Stamen, Stamina.... Here I face my blog, subtitled "Riding the bike with one pedal...petal..." I'm sure I could do a bit more with it if my brain weren't feeling so stunted. I'm my own worst enemy, always have been. Whatever self-loathing seeds my mother planted, oh so long ago, I have tended and watered and replanted, year after year.

Time for some Roundup.

I'm in a bit of a low spot, and I do always clamber back out. I was lunching with Laura today and we were trading Dead Dad stories (which strangely enough, was :not: depressing, though it may sound that way to you). I think the befuddlement of grief, for me, will always be the non-linear-ness about it. How you can buy every hotel and put them on Park Place and the Boardwalk, and yet you can still go directly to Jail, do not pass Go, you can plummet straight to the depths you never imagined you'd see again, because the whole point of a journey is TO MOVE, and moving usually involves forward or back, and forward is progress, and you made all this progress and then, WHAM! The elasticity of the pain is shocking. The bungee cord of grief. It's a motherfucker.

And that's all I can say.

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posted by PlazaJen, 5:08 PM | link |

Monday, August 06, 2007


I don't know if that's really a category in cooking? But it's what this town is set to right now. Broast! It's a cross between broil and roast and it ain't good. I am completely in Mole People Mode. Retreat to cool and dark places, STAT!

It was a rough-ish weekend. To be expected. Way too much time in my head, spinning and swirling and obsessing and calculating outcomes and imagining scenarios and attempting on some level to predict the future. I watched a LOT of movies as distraction, and also did a lot of knitting. Perhaps, if it's possible, too much. This morning, my hands felt like they were seized up into a caricature of bird claws. Ai! I claw your face off! Let's see, I watched "The Island" because Ewan McGregor is cute, and it was escapist sci-fi action. I kept thinking how pretty Scarlett Johannson is & then I'd remember she's trying to have a singing career and it ruined my admiration for her. Oy! Then I watched "The Black Dahlia", because apparently I am on an Scarlett kick, and that was pretty good, if a bit slow. I kept thinking the insane mother was Molly Shannon. Lessee. Then, to stave off a panic attack, I watched Reno 911!: Miami, which was rather dreadful, but Thomas Lennon in short pants can always get a guffaw here & there out of me. The best part was that they all actually swore, which of course they don't do on Comedy Central. The next movie was Zodiac, and that was really good. Because I :heart: true crime and Court TV and this movie took true crime and Jake Gyllenhal AND Robert Downey Jr. and stirred it all up with a whisk. Oh, and Chloe Sevigny was in it and I just can't separate her Big Love character from her anymore. And there was a Law & Order SVU marathon yesterday, and when all else fails, Court TV. Though I :did: discover in the upper digital tier two new channels worth watching (are you listening, Kyra?) Discovery Times, and Fox Reality - all Reality, Alll the time. Ohhhh yeah, Bad Boys Bad Boys!

Sunday morning I got up pretty early & went upstairs - cranked the a/c on - and sewed up the lining to a bag I'm teaching for the Studio: The Himalaya Tote. I struggle with sewing, in part because I like to sew for speed, and my goal is to get the sewing done as quickly as possible. This means I measure very quickly, and probably explains why I had extra fabric at the top. (At least there was extra, vs. not enough!) I lined the bag with a hot pink cotton batik print I'd gotten at Sarah's Fabrics in Lawrence, and did accent pockets with a gorgeous turquoise Dupioni silk square I'd also picked up there. I then decided I needed a tassel closure, and I made a big one, and knotted every end of the strands of yarn in the tassel. To prevent too much unraveling. Hi, OCD! I then crocheted a handy-dandy loop that the tassel tucks nicely through, and I think it makes the bag that much more zippy. I made the handles longer, and tacked the hell out of them - along with hand-sewing the entire lining in, even on the bottom, through the interfacing, so it wouldn't move around. I'm going to get it up to the Studio so I can hopefully inspire people to make it, and take the class if they want some help.

Himalaya Tote, natural lighting

Himalaya Tote - Finished!

Himalaya Tote - interior lining

That's it for a Monday! I'm waiting for a cold front that isn't even predicted yet. I like to live in the future.....especially when the setting on the here and now is "broast"!

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posted by PlazaJen, 6:05 PM | link |

Friday, August 03, 2007

Today is brought to you by the letter "B".

Well, the trailer load of stuff was not a full trailer load. It was a bit surprising, but illustrates once again how one person's view of a "lot" can be wildly different from your own. It's all, mostly, in the garage, which is also cleaner than it has been in months. I got up veddy early, given that it's a scorcher of a day today, and went through some of the more haphazard piles. I cleaned for my definition of "a lot"! I went to the grocery store, got stuff to make our friend Bill a sack lunch, because I knew he'd want to get things done & continue on his way.

We unloaded it all in less than 20 minutes, and he was only here for half an hour. I burst into tears and continued to cry - ugly cry - while I moved things around and reorganized in the garage. Ugly crying is best finished up in the shower, and it's been quite some time since I've truly cried, without restraint. I'm sure my nutjob biddy of a neighbor across the street was wondering where the coyotes were. I hope she thought they were coming for her, and her precious "cats" - she professes to have cats, but what she really does is put out food and help support a feral cat population - they don't go inside,she doesn't vaccinate or spay/neuter - whatever! I digress! Back to ugly crying - of course the dogs were trying to help, they're so funny - so protective when James isn't here (he went fishing last night, on his way back right now), and they know when you're sad (the wailing is a big clue). I'm off to Target to pick up a few odds & ends I keep forgetting to buy, and I'm going to get a mani/pedi, because not only do my nails need it, but I need a little TLC. I'm glad I took the day off, and I'm glad it's the weekend. I'm going to get some knitting projects finished up & I'll have a nice sense of accomplishment. At some point, I'll start tackling the boxes in the garage, but for now, I'm just going to be. Let them be, let me be. B.


posted by PlazaJen, 12:05 PM | link |

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Thursday Orts

1. The bridge collapse in Minneapolis - I can't even describe fully how I feel, but I know you all were equally horrified. I lived up there for five years, and it's still a place I miss. Given the time of day and the number of people who did survive, I guess we can only be grateful the tragedy wasn't as large as it could have been. Just bizarre.

2. I'm done with Clue 3 on MS3! Of course, Clue 5, and the mystery of the theme, are published tomorrow, so I'm still behind.

MS3, Progress Pic, natural light

3. All my childhood stuff and the precious few things I asked my father for before he died are arriving tomorrow. A family friend was already planning a trip to New Mexico and this worked out, almost miraculously. I don't even know what all is coming, beyond the list I had made. (List one. List two still has things on it and it's very uncertain if I'll get anything on that one. I'm trying not to think about being forced to decide if I'll buy back my parent's things, things I always believed I'd have until he changed his will. ugh.) I already feel my steel doors clanging shut. I got chided in the comments a while back for avoiding and not going THROUGH things - well, all I can say is, I'm getting through it the best I can, each day. And when I look back on the months when he was sick, and then the months that followed, how I felt - and believe me, I :felt: everything, there was no denial of emotion whatsoever - it was like crawling through a tar pit and then scaling a cliff. So now, I flinch at the first sight of tar or a sheer wall of rock, and I steel myself. I shut some of my defense doors, because I ran a marathon of grief, openly, freely, and only now do I feel like some of the muscles are beginning to heal. And yes, I am afraid. I am not ready to jump into the wading end of the tar pit. Or climb a practice rock wall. It feels like a horror movie, looking back. I wouldn't undo how I handled things - I wasn't capable of doing it any other way. I guess some people slap a smile on and pretend everything's fine, and I just wasn't able to do it. I still have anger. I spend each night before sleep, running through my anger issues, trying not to, but I'm unable to not FEEL it.
So. Welcome to the Jumble. Jumble of emotions.

4. We're about to get some self-defense training because there have been a rash of carjackings in the area near our office. I'm a little worried that the copper will be wearing a gun, because we all know my deep-seated irrational fear that I'll lose my mind and try to take his gun from him. Maybe this would be the perfect chance for me to ask if I could try! Put this fear to rest once and for all. Though getting taken down by the po-po in front of all my co-workers might be less than glamorous. I'll let you know.

5. A guy at work is having a birthday party - and he decided the theme would be Pirates and Ninjas. He's serving rum & sake. I totally would have gone but now he's going to Lollapalooza instead (whatEVER)so it's been rescheduled & we'll be out of town. Shoot! I'd have to go as a Ninja. Everyone would go with the Pirate, and I have to be different. Plus I have a LOT of black clothing.

I have more orts but the training session is about to start. If anything really awesome happens, I'll be sure to re-post later!


posted by PlazaJen, 9:35 AM | link |

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Pimp My Shower

After all the drawn-out drama with the plumber, and not getting my shower fixed in time for my birthday, there was much celebrating (including special soap) once the shower was returned to its usable state.

Upon returning from Detroit, JWo informed me he had the perfect gift for my birthday, and this was it:

(stock photo, not my shower)

When I told someone at work, their not-so-tactful response was "Seriously?" And then I listed the things James told me that made it so perfect for me. Because he is right. I was a little surprised, because I've never even considered one of these things before, so where he'd gotten the idea kind of baffled me. But here is why:
1. My shower was cluttered, and I'm always trying to get organized, in every way.
2. I like to fill things up in other containers for dispensing. (Olive oil, soy sauce, dish soap, hand soap)
3. It came with LABELS (in four languages, no less) and I love to label things.

It was only later that I discovered it had HOOKS on it, too. It is the greatest thing ever. And I pointed out, it funnels right in to my obsessive-compulsive side, because I get to COUNT the number of times I push the buttons for shampoo, conditioner & shower gel. (Six times needed for shampoo, seven for conditioner. I do this with my face wash, too. (Four times.))

So then I was mightily irritated by my shower curtain. Namely the billowing-in and sticking-to-me part. A little research showed that Linens-N-Things (Napkins-N-Crap, I still love that commenter's nickname for it!) carries a guaranteed-not-to-billow shower liner. And my original shower curtain had these pretty tone-on-tone white leaves on an opaque background, but none of the leaves survived a trip through the washing machine. So I got this shower curtain to go with the non-billowing liner:
(OK, I can't find it in silver, so here's the gold, but mine is silver, which is actually more clear with a silvery sheen. It actually refracts light at the right time of day, so I get rainbows. Rainbows! Bonus!)

Then I got some super-duper suction hooks, and voila! My organization and style sensibilities are delighted. My shower is now only missing a neon light ring around the top, and since the whole "electricity/water" thing isn't really healthy, I'm willing to live without a true discotheque aesthetic.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:02 AM | link |