PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


That's actually the name of this sock yarn, hand-dyed by Gypsy Girl Creations/Stone Barn Fibers, purchased from The Loopy Ewe.

They're super cute & cushy, and perfect for Halloween. Alas, they don't go at all with my bright red shirt/black skirt, so another day - they can double as Le Tigre and have multiple wearings.....


Happy Halloween! I hope to see some interesting costumes on my doorstep tonight - I already know we've got some crazy ones going here at the office.
posted by PlazaJen, 2:54 PM | link |

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Meaty Orts....

1. Questions in the comments about the recipes: Here you go! Squash Rolls - I can't believe so many recipes are featured in this Google Book. If you're interested in other recipes from this cookbook, I highly recommend their French bread, the apple pie with cheddar cheese, and the Cuban black beans. (Sadly, two of those recipes are in the "omitted" part.) Here's the recipe for Libby's Great Pumpkin Cookies. Git to bakin'!

2. The Tripping Point: No mention of Tripper the past while - that dude wears me out as much as I adore him. So I think he's staying with us. Two weekends ago I was at 85% certain he was ours, JWo was at 40%. But then this past weekend, JWo made the point that Tripper's Fetching Tag will have to say "Three's Company". That tells me the little dude might actually be a NuWo for good. Granted, we are now outnumbered by the dogs, but Tripper needs us on his side, since Suzy and Polly are still none to pleased by his presence. Polly at least romps & plays with him? Suzy just low growls and will occasionally lunge at him to remind him that SHE is not to be trifled with. And the consistent use of peanut butter in his Kong is pissing them off. Sigh. I think I'll be better with it all once he's out of puppy stage - and just when I think I'm at my wit's end with him, he'll do his real hard leeeeean up against you, just every ounce of his being squirming and telling you he's RIGHT HERE and ready for some love.

3. Halloween Costume: I was intending to come as a client - either one with lots of changes, or one with lots of cash. But now, I think I'm going as spaghetti & meatballs. So I gotta make some meatballs that can be attached to clothesline (spaghetti) & I'm going to wear a red shirt. Then I can drink red wine freely at the afternoon party!

4. Aw hell. My new socks that I finished knitting are black & orange & won't go with the above outfit. I'll get pictures up tomorrow, hopefully, but still. Maybe I'll wear black & figure out something else for the red sauce. ARGH.

5. The new camera is a little Kodak, purchased from Costco on sale - 12.1 MP, EasyShare V1233. It isn't on the website anymore, it looks like it was one of their limited time offers - under $200, with a free 2GB digital card, and I had a gift card from my birthday (thanks Momma Linda!) which made it even more attractive. Pretty sweet, and it's SMALL, which was the one thing lacking in my Canon. Which still takes amazing pictures, it's just too bulky to put in my purse. (And I have some big purses.) I still need to install the software, but anymore, it's just so handy to take the digital card out, offload the pictures, and be done. If only I had mad photo editing skillz....

6. I bought a SNUBNOSE cap gun at CVS over lunch. It was the name "snubnose" that got me. I was really in the aisle for a Tide-to-Go pen, and the snubnose cap gun caught my eye. (You can buy most everything you need at CVS. Laundry needs, toys, craft supplies, clothesline? Check, check, check and CHECK.) I never had a cap gun, or really got to play with caps at all as a child. Better late than never. Plus, I think it might be an effective way to handle some of my frustrations with deadlines and changes. Controversial, yes, but therapeutic nonetheless. The brand is "Super Bang" and I kept reading it as "Super Bad" which only appealed to me MORE. Aw hell. I'm reading the directions and cautions right now. "Do not use indoors." Fuck. Oh and I sure won't want to have it around in my encounters with KC Swat - "This product may be mistaken for a firearm by law enforcement officers or others, that altering the coloration of markings (my snub is orange, green, yellow, red & clear - clearly the choice of hard core advertising bangers everywhere) required by state or federal law or regulations so as to make the product look more like a firearm is dangerous (really? Duh.) and may be a crime and that brandishing (oh hell, I'm a brandisher) or displaying the product in public may cause confusion (the public, they are easily addled - by FIREARMS, plastic or otherwise) and may be a crime.
Now, how many 8-year olds are gonna read THAT fine print? And I must say, the most fun part - next to brandishing - is already ruined, because the barrel doesn't spin. Sigh. That's what lets people know you're a true badass. Super Badass.

7. I just noticed that this lovely "toy" was made in China. I guess it gives a whole 'nother level of caution & alarm to eating my gun.....sorry, gallows humor. But seriously, all sense seems to be lost anymore & governments have to step in and be parents - like the dude on NPR this morning, who informed us that there's a huge recall of those fugly fake teeth, because they have "too much lead paint" in them? Maybe we shouldn't use lead paint on things that GO IN OUR MOUTHS.

8. That's all folks, for today. I'm disappointed in the state of our trees - that spring frost and unseasonable weather really jacked up our foliage displays, they're normally gorgeous and this year they're just blah. I guess I wasn't quite done. Oh, and I was thinking that my number ONE driver irritation is people who go BELOW the speed limit. Followed quickly by lane drifters, due to jabbering (or texting) on the phone. Third would be shitty lane changes/cutting off cars/forcing yourself into a lane even though you knew you had to be in that lane but the line was shorter over there and now you're being a dick about it and creating a problem for everyone? OK. I'm done. Fo' real.


posted by PlazaJen, 1:37 PM | link |

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Flurry of Domesticity

Yesterday was a whirlwind, for both the Wo and I. He commented at the end of the day that we'd adhered to our gender roles quite faithfully that day - he spent most of it outside, putting together the panels for the greenhouse, and I'd spent most of my day in the kitchen. I made a double batch of The Great Pumpkin cookies - pumpkin, oatmeal & chocolate chips, soooo yummy - and then a batch of Squash Rolls (I'm looking right at you, Rebs.), and a slow cooker of turkey/black bean chili, with tomatoes from the garden. I've been a tenacious tomato picker in these final months, because if there's one thing I love in this world, it's homegrown tomatoes, and seeing them on the vine elicits a compulsion in me that I Must! Pick! Them! because anything else would be wasteful. Sigh. Anyhoo, everything was quite a success, even if I did feel like I was burning the stove & the mixer at both ends. (and wishing my mixer could handle a double batch of ... anything!)
So I figured out how to get my pictures off of my new (little) camera, and here is the pictorial evidence of my domestic adventures..... the cookies were a big hit here at the office!
Great Pumpkin Cookies

Squash rolls - pre-rising, and post-oven:
Dough's a Risin'

Squash Rolls

Chili ...
Turkey Black Bean Chili
It looks kinda crazy, but the steam was jacking with the photo, so it's the best I could do. It was scrumptious... again with the habanero vinegar!

Last, but not least, Suzy soaking up some sun on a Sunday....

Suzy Catching Some Rays

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posted by PlazaJen, 1:57 PM | link |

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Lunch with the KC SWAT

Oh yeah.
Talk about a quick stop turning that frown upside down!

I'd had a pretty challenging morning, and after getting my hair cut, I was driving back to the office & decided to just swing into a local sub shop to grab a sandwich. Parking's always a bit of a challenge, since the lot is shared with a laundromat, and half the spaces are angled, and the others are straight-in spots. There was this big dark van, and it was taking up more than one space, and I was kinda pissed. I got into a different spot, and noticed that the sliding door was open & had a metal running board, so I thought, "OK, that's cool, handicapped person." Because it looked like one of those lift thingies.

OH no.

It would be THE KC SWAT van. The one they drive & roll up on drug houses in, with the door open & everyone locked & loaded and ready to kick your drug-usin' ass. At first, I just thought it was a police van. But as I walked in and looked at the man behind me (that would be Aaron), I thought, hm, he looks a bit familiar as I turned again and saw CHIP and Mike (of the arms-the-size-of-cabbages fame) and I started to freak out a little.

I turned to Aaron and said, "So.... Do you hear 'I saw you on Kansas City SWAT' a lot?"
He nodded, slowly.
(I'm thinking, uh-oh. Great. I'm alienating him right off the bag AND he's armed.)

So I said, "Do you get really tired of hearing that?"
And he started to nod, and I think I gave myself whiplash by laughing and turning back around as though I hadn't a CARE in the world about all these black-clad, armed beefcakes around me. I fought the urge to yell, "Chip! Chip! What are you ordering?" Aaron was nice and put his hand on my arm and said, "No, no, it's fine."

Uh, ok. My mind was racing though. This was a blog-worthy moment, given my love of the show. And my camera! It's in my purse! Well, as much as I would have tried to get a picture, the sub place is NOT conducive to getting photos, and it would have been UBER dorky. Of course right as I tell myself this, here comes Owen. Owen of playing pranks on Chip fame. Jesus. I can see how people can get a little overzealous in their fan excitement. Of course, the difference between those people and me is that I just ordered my sandwich, smiled at Chip, held the door for him to grab as he came behind me (Chip's very polite, and thanked me for holding the door), got in my car and drove away.

And came back to the office and yelled, "Jennifer?! Kristin?! I JUST HAD LUNCH WITH THE KC SWAT GUYS!"

Oh, and I'm sure they went back to HQ and told everyone how they had lunch with PlazaJen.


posted by PlazaJen, 1:21 PM | link |

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I Need A Storm Cellar

Oh. Oh.

Where to begin?

I just told a co-worker I'm waiting for the storm sirens to go off. Could this day get any crazier? Could it? All that's missing is a dude in a chicken suit! Breakdancing!

(ok, in the interest of not over-sharing, and b/c Blogger doesn't allow password posts, I'm editing this out. If you missed it & would like the meat, email me or leave me a comment w/ your email.)

Anyway, I found myself at one point this afternoon longing for a storm cellar, just like Auntie Em ran into when the winds began to whip across the Kansas plains, and the chickens ran in every direction. Boneless chickens can't run, and men in chicken suits are prime targets for getting hit by tornadoes and golf carts. (I like to imagine running over my enemies with a golf cart, it's just so much more personal. Plus I don't want to jack up the suspension on the Murano any more than my off-roading already does.) I'll take those bone-in chickens any day, just don't call me stupid in business, because I will RUIN YOU!
posted by PlazaJen, 2:50 PM | link |

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We Gotta Go With Random Orts Today

AOKey in your dokey, here we go.

1. I took Friday AND Monday off from work. And from most things in life, except you know, knitting, tv, food and sleep. Oh, and shopping. I did shopping tours of duty three out of the four days. (Some of which involved necessities, like groceries.)

2. I barely made a dent in my List. Oh, List. You sweet cruel mistress. I am a forgetful gal and having a list is so helpful. Except when you leave the list at home and you're at the grocery store. That's how you end up with 5 12-packs of Diet Dr. Pepper, 2 bags of Nestle Chips, a tub of sour cream, some Miracle Whip and a can of crab meat in your cart. And then, my whole saving-the-earth thing, bringing my own bags? Yeah, that doesn't work if you LEAVE THEM IN THE CAR. And the one thing I said I'd get done? Sew a skirt? Nope. Didn't happen. I did locate the fabric. Maybe I'll get it washed so I can try at that list line item this weekend.

3. I have to go shopping again because Tripper? (Who has not found a forever home, or HAS HE AND WE JUST DON'T KNOW IT?!) Tripper loves the baby Kong, and it goes under the various sofas a LOT. So in an effort to get it (and prevent the yelping of displeasure, for there is only one thing he wants when the Kong is under the couch and that is THE KONG), James accidentally knocked over the floor lamp (that we bought to replace the last one that was broken (by someone else)) and I need a new lamp! It's too dark to knit in the living room without it. Poor Wo, I made him go out to his workshop to get sandpaper, because the lamp also gouged a chunk out of the barn door table and it was rough and discolored and was sending my personal universe spinning into the Black Hole of FreakOut (Things are messed up! Things are different! Things aren't how I want them to be! Oh My God! I am not in control!), and I wouldn't let him eat dinner until it was sanded & oiled. Actually, I had dished up his dinner but he was perhaps making a bit of fun of me and my Unsettled-ness that eats at me and makes me slightly unbearable when things need to be done in order for things to be Back To Normal. A casual observer would think I beat him, but don't you believe a word of it. As it is, order is barely restored, it is hanging on by a thread, until we get a new lamp. And perhaps the jumbo Kong, one that will not roll under a sofa!

4. Sunday was a nice day together, we drove down to Schell City & visited his duck club (the house where the hunters all stay) and took Polly and Tripper on some water retrieves. Poor Tripper, he didn't go out far enough so he was coated in algae. Poor Jen's Shirt, because Tripper is still learning Do Not Jump Up, and my naive belief that I wouldn't get dirty was trashed within five minutes, as muddy pawprints and shaken muck decorated most of my t-shirt.

5. Back at work, there were a few gems waiting for me - but for the most part it hasn't been too arduous or enraging. However, the day's only half over. :)

6. I was surprised and delighted to learn I won the Guess-How-Much-Stuff-I'll-Buy-At-Rhinebeck contest over at YoYo Knits! I started daydreaming about going to Rhinebeck myself, and wondered if I'd just get so overwhelmed, I'd climb into a pen with a sheep and clutch it, emitting low moaning sounds and twitching. Please note that in my daydream, I have no idea I'm kneeling in poo. Anyway, thanks for the shout-out, Alyson, and it looks like you had an awesome time! I feel lucky...oh so lucky..... :)

7. Speaking of dinner (back a couple of orts), I made a kickass soup yesterday - and since it was a cold windy day, it was perfect soup weather. I just slow-cookered up half a brisket (cut up) with some of the straggling garden tomatoes (crushed), and diced onion, carrot & potatoes - some seasonings, beef bouillon, a little water - on high all day. It was yummeriffic. We put some habanero vinegar (homemade) on top & it gave it just the right amount of spice & zing. I was worried the meat would be too tough, but it was perfectly tender.

8. Dudes, I've only had rice crackers for lunch & I have to move my car so clients have a place to park (bleah, I hate our parking situation) so I better get to it. I'm overdue for a blog post & everything's sorta floaty-out-there - just like it is in my head! Latah gatahs......


posted by PlazaJen, 1:00 PM | link |

Friday, October 19, 2007

Shop Til Ya Drop...or Nap.....

I took today off - yesterday was super hectic with work, and some of it came out of preparing for a long weekend. But I'm not sure how relaxing things are going to be for me - I made a list of everything I wanted to do (and some are "need" to do...) and holy smokes, it might take me until November to get it all done!

Today, I spent the first half of the day in a madcap dash through Overland Park, starting at Joann's, then hitting the Holiday Mart, which is a big shopping fundraiser run by the Junior League. I could only take about an hour of that stuff - there were 200 vendors and a lot of "stuff" and a lot of people wandering and stopping directly in front of you. I did have amazing parking karma, though I thought two women were going to shoot me because I scored it and they didn't. Yipes! It's a cutthroat world at the OP Convention Center... After that, I went to Michael's and Whole Foods. I managed to get an hour nap in before JWo came home, and we had a yummy stir fry for dinner.

Tripper is still here; James has had a couple friends who've been interested, but their wives put the kebosh on it. Bummer. I've still got mixed-up feelings about him - he's a wonderful, awesome puppy who is a fast learner - but he's a boy (yes, I'm that prejudiced, I love girl dogs) and this was completely unplanned. There's just sooooo many things that go into raising & training a well-behaved dog, and it requires constant vigilance - it's a lot of work! But I also know that I don't want some stranger who'd outside-kennel him to have him, either. (I'm not a block of ice, I've done a pretty good job in 6 days of conditioning him to be affectionate & loving!)

Tomorrow has its own list of shopping & errands and things I want/need to do.... I think as long as I get a nap in consistently, it'll all work out, the list and the puppy and the to-do's.

Naps are the new black.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:37 PM | link |

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hump Day

This week, we got thanked for all our hard work and it was acknowledged that we were humping as fast as we could.

Kristin & I descended into giggles. We're 12-year old boys. Booger.

Speaking of hump, or humping, Tripper? Lives to hump Polly. Who tolerates it 0.7 seconds and then it's all teeth snapping and fighting. It's great. Except she ignores him if she thinks she's going to get petted, so it was like a frickin' conga line in the living room tonight, and we were laughing too hard to make it stop.

Sigh. Don't let the laughing fool you. The puppy is wearing me out. I know everyone thinks we're gonna keep him, but I can't let myself go there, because the house shrunk by 33% when he came in the door, and it's bedlam and melee every morning and night. And knowing that he could be gone soon makes me cling to my heart and not let it go, even when he looks up at me with his dopey face and leans so SO so hard against me, every atom of his being wiggling and saying "I love you, lady!" I know if he doesn't go to James' friend, I'll eventually wear down and I'll have to put up with a smaller house and a humping fiend. He's housebroken, he learns quickly, he's an awesome little dude!

But I'm tired. And I have a big day tomorrow, with a presentation and whatnot, so I need to go to bed. As long as I can get this earworm out of my mind.... you know which one......

my humps! my humps! my lovely lady lumps, check it out!
posted by PlazaJen, 9:12 PM | link |

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

And Then I Had To Turn The Car Around....

We had a rep lunch today, up at Piropos. It was a classic example of how the media team interacts and can provide a rep who doesn't know us with a very hodge-podge sketchy sort of stand-up comedy routine that is filled with topics ranging from knitting (of course) to emu (and their crazy need to migrate) to crime.

WE ARE DIVERSE. And eclectic.

I ordered the lobster ravioli, and had a flashback when it arrived, because I got six (6) ravioli, each approximately the size of one (1) Doritos chip. Portion size flashback! Black and red striped ravioli, btw. I immediately saw my alma mater's colors (Go Grinnell Pioneers! Woot! Where our motto was, "Winning isn't everything, it's nothing!") In a too-salty sauce, alas alack. But it was still tasty and would have made a great appetizer! Suffice it to say that right now, I am prepared to eat things that have mustard on them, just to illustrate how hungry I am.

But the whole point of this story is how we were zipping back to the office so we could make our 1:30 status meeting, and I was sort of on auto-pilot and discovered (as I was driving at the roadblock) that I-35 is closed off the Broadway Bridge, and since it's one-way, there was no choice but to veer right and keep going. But my time at another agency reminded me that there was an alternate road, one I've lovingly referred to as "Dead Sofa Way", for it is a stretch of isolation along the West side of Downtown, and because of the isolation, a favorite dumping ground for large bulky items, mostly sofas. I was all, "AHA!" and "Look at us go!" and feeling very satisfied inside that I knew how we could get out of the roadblock situation and still make progress on getting back to work.

Only somewhere along the way, Dead Sofa Way got put under construction. Sort of. Nobody was there, working on it. And suddenly things turned to gravel. Well, I say suddenly, but there might have been a very large piece of heavy moving equipment and two large concrete barriers and a sign that was moved, but there was ROOM to get through and seriously? I am like a man and do NOT like to turn around. My two passengers were laughing and screaming and one might have been begging me to turn around. But why? I have a fabulous sense of direction and like a homing pigeon, I don't want to backtrack! So we off-roaded it a bit. And I seriously was feeling TRIUMPHANT. And as we neared the end of the construction it became quite apparent that there was no way, no how, I was going to get through the concrete blockade on this end of the road. Fuckety fuck. I even eyeballed the mound of gravel, and Kristin offered to get out and level it, just so I wouldn't have to turn back. But there we were, without a shovel. Sigh. So it was backtrack and into the West Bottoms to get back up on a highway.

I love taking the unknown way. I did it constantly when I moved here. I have always trusted my brain to know (generally speaking) which way is North and which way I Need To Be Going, and that with those two pieces of information, I can get there - even if it's a roundabout way. (There was that one time, in Swope Park, in the dark, that we got totally jacked up, turned around and ended up in Raytown. I own it, I was lost. It just is rare.) Sometimes you get to see new things (once I saw a woman walking her pig. On a leash!), sometimes you get to laugh and sometimes you remember that the old way of doing things may be comfortable and can get you there? But that the adventure lies in taking the new path, winding around to give you new vistas and remind you the choice to do so is always there. However, just a piece of's important to pay attention along the way....I was dead-set on making sure the road didn't end with say, Sudden Drop-Off and Plummeting. Plummeting = Bad.
posted by PlazaJen, 4:36 PM | link |

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Polly's Living Nightmare

High Speed

This is puppy. We sorta call him Tripper. As in Jack Tripper, yes. He's a boy puppy. He's chilling with two lady dogs and Three's Company!

But is it? Polly is having the worst 24 hours of her life.

Backing up - we went to the MWA West Side chapter's banquet on Saturday night. I had high hopes of winning the raffle for a $1,000 - sadly, I did not. Anyway, this great dog breeder & trainer always donates a puppy for their fundraiser, and because WE always BID on the puppies, we had several conversations prior to Saturday night about how we did not need another dog right now, that it's better to get a puppy in the Springtime, that we definitely would not get a male dog, and we wanted to pick our own puppy from a litter.

So then I'm thinking about all of that at 10:32 p.m. as I'm driving home with a puppy on the front seat. It wasn't lack of stamina or willpower! But it was an audience of people who wouldn't bid on the puppy until it went to $100. Now, keep in mind - this dog is out of field trial champions, AKC purebred, hips & eyes guaranteed, all the things Polly was/is, and you normally don't purchase a dog like that for less than $500. So James stepped in and bid on the dog so we could find it a proper hunting home and hopefully someone who saw the value in the pup as well. (We're not trying to make money, we'll donate the money back to MWA.) The man who brought the pup for the breeder actually has his litter mate & paid over $700 for his dog. So it was making us feel sick inside, that we had this amazing dog and nobody really wanted him!

Gnaw Gnaw Gnaw

He's an amazing little dude. He hasn't had a single accident, he's 4 months old, he has almost curly fur, has huge paws, and feels like crushed velvet.

Heeeyyyy, Lady

In less than one day, he's already picking up on "Sit" and "Here". He's going to be one hell of a retriever!

Oh My God! It's Over There!

If nobody buys him, we're keeping him, of course. I'm doing an excellent job of not falling in love, maybe because we'd gone through allll the reasons not to get a puppy right now & I had already walked down memory lane the night before on how much WORK it takes to raise and train a puppy. That's why I said "sorta" calling him Tripper, because it just doesn't feel "right" or complete. I think his forever home is someone who wants to maybe run field trials in addition to duck and goose hunting. He's got that much genetic stuff packed into his stocky little self, loose skin and all, and if I can see it, it's there.

But my poor dog. Oh lord. Tripper dude got a few of her not-played-with-in-forever toys? And the green-eyed monster was OUT. Every time he lost interest, she snuck in to steal the toy back. I have yelled "PILLOW" more times today than I have in three months. Suzy? She is perturbed but sort of pretending this situation will resolve itself, preferably while she's asleep so she can wake up and Normal will have returned. But Polly is jealous, and upset that I'm doting on him and petting him, and is all sorts of put out. She needs to mellow another year or two before a puppy comes to live with us for good, because right now it's like a grounded 21 year old who isn't allowed to do anything fun, but the foreign exchange student can run off and do whatever he wants. With her car. And ropey.


He IS darn cute.


posted by PlazaJen, 9:30 PM | link |

Friday, October 12, 2007

There Are Nine Stages To Fixing A Messed-Up Cable

Before I run you through those stages, let me just state for all my knitting friends who read that piece on the Yarn Harlot about fixing goofed-up cables, that works if you have just a single piece o' cable. These cables are done across 6 stitches with K2, P2, K2, and with that rib, it's not quite as fluid as just monkeying around with all knit stitches. Not that any of this would ultimately matter!

However, I believed I could do it. Or at least it was worth a try.

Stage 1. Problem Assessment, Solution Options, Tool Procurement
Stage 1: Optimism

It's important to be Optimistic. It also helps to have coffee-flavored tequila. Really good coffee-flavored tequila. Have a little sip. (It might be useful to not only note the knitting, but to note the shot glass in all these pictures.)

Stage 2: Prepare for the unholy acts you are about to commit to your knitting. In other words, give yourself a smidge of a safety net & fill the shot glass.

Stage 2: Preparation

Stage 3: Courage -or- Ignoring The Screaming Knitting Gnomes of Your Mind
Stage 3: Fortitude & Courage

Ai, Bobby, we have CUT THE YARN. But fear not! We can read our knitting! We are just adjusting ONE cable, and once we fix it, we will go up and tackle the THREE other ones that are wrong! Yes! Have a sippy sip.

Stage 4: Perseverance Despite Distractions
Stage 5: Perseverence

My, that Patron tasted good. This also suddenly feels like it was all a Very Bad Idea. But press on, good knitter. You can fix this.

Stage 5: Repeat Your Mistake

Stage 6: Completely Re-do the Cable EXACTLY THE WRONG WAY AGAIN

This is when you will begin to falter. Mightily. As you look at your knitting and realize you have JUST REPLICATED the very mistake you undid. Lesser beings would weep at this point, or at least take a break. You? You have another swig and keep on truckin'.

Stage 6: Patience

Stage 6: Patience

Get everything lined back up and prepare to re-tackle the problem at hand.

Stage 7: Begin to Accept Defeat
Stage 7: Acceptance of Defeat

As you work the cable correctly, realize you have no idea how to kitchener this bitch back together and have it look good. Try numerous times, to no avail. Finish drink. Do not bother to lighten photograph because the darkness is symbolic.

Stage 8: Rip Away, Rip Away, Rip Away Dixie Land

Stage 8: Starting Over. But With A "Head Start" of About 6"!

Pour yourself a second shot. (Well, just a half-shot, but if you're really sad, give yourself the whole one.) Commence with the ripping. Note, with amusement, that husband is singing a new version of Devo's big song, "Whip It" only his is called "Rip It! Rip It Good!", complete with new, made-up lyrics like
"When the knitter messes up
She must rip it!
When mistakes are made in knitting
She must rip it!"

And note this amusement, because you won't actually recognize it, for all the rage and irritation that is piled on top of it and you might actually want to snap at said singer and take your frustration out on him, despite the fact his only transgression was being funny. Content yourself with not offering to share any of the Patron, and rip until you are in the clear. Note along the way that the smug satisfaction one gets from weaving in ends as you go thwarts the frogging process, and perhaps we should learn from that, and messy lazy knitter gnome sticks her tongue out at the OCD knitter gnome, who is far too busy freaking out about the kinky pile of wool in the middle of the kitchen table to even notice.

Commence re-knitting, and choose to take the Pollyanna route about the entire situation, telling yourself that you are at least not starting over from scratch, but in fact, have about 6" of correctly-knit scarf, and thank heavens this project has a deadline of December 1.

(Additional Patron dosing is completely subjective at this point.)


posted by PlazaJen, 5:27 AM | link |

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Good Grief, Charlie Brown

I just got the mental image of flipping through channels on TV, you know, but slower than most men go. Like you actually hear some exchange of dialog, process the faces and setting and action, and then you "click!" move on to another channel.

Round these parts? It's been "click!" from one action-drama-filled channel to the next. Seems like every time I look up at the screen, there's another tense or stress-filled situation or crazy request or insane deadline or drama drama drama! And then you accidentally hit a button that takes you to the Zen Channel Pack and "click!" you find yourself panting and twitching and looking around worriedly while Zamfir's magical pan flute music floats around you and lotus flowers blossom in time-elapse photography. And you go, "Wha?" and you reach for your guns but instead there are big squishy marshmallowy pillows, and you react like you've been burned with a hot poker.

Don't get me wrong. I'd never, ever, trade in my life for a flatlining routine. But sometimes the absolute craziness, followed by all white and peace and nothingness - well, it freaks a gal out a bit. I raced around today, and even a week ago, thought I was starring in my own personal horror movie, racing against the Goblins of Time and then the screeching to a halt somehow happened and I'm blinking, looking around (mistrustfully, mind you!), wondering what on earth has just happened.

Oh and yeah, I screwed up three cables in that scarf? About 6" in. So I'm totally fu-barred and have to rip it way back. Sigh. There's a low! We're not in Zen Quietude anymore!


posted by PlazaJen, 3:48 PM | link |

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

International Scarf Exchange 5

I'm so stoked to be participating in my first EVER knitting exchange. See, there are like a bajillion secret pal type exchanges, and several hundred katrillion involve knitting something for a recipient, most of the ones I've seen involve SOCKS. Well. Let me tell you, I am just now - how many years later? - just now getting to the point where I will make a pair of socks for someone other than my husband or me. Making socks for a stranger? You might as well ask me to french kiss someone at random in a Target store. No, thank you, not today! Anyway, I stumbled onto ISE and waited patiently until a new one started up. Scarves? This I know. Have a gajillion myself. No need to fit to a person's foot, either.

Anyway, I have to admit, I was still a little nervous, because I've done a couple secret pal thingies, and they haven't always panned out as hoped. You know, it's like the carnival claw that sucks you in and you think you're going to get that enormous gorgeous pink poodle doll, but instead, all you come up with is a ten-cent rubber ball. That has that dreadful marbleization on it. But so far, I tell ya, my fears have been completely unfounded! The person who has me has emailed several times, she's funny & has great questions, and kudos to our organizers, who seemed to match us all up impeccably. How perfect is it to get someone who doesn't like mohair? Yippee!

So that brings me to my current knitting in progress - my scarf for the exchange. I can't tell you anything about my recipient, except that I'm darn-tootin' sure she'll like this. I had several fits & starts and pattern reckoning and yarn entanglements and changed my mind several times along the way, but I am thoroughly enjoying the yarn (Knit Picks Swish, in Eggplant) and the pattern - the Miranda Scarf from SmariekKnits (free if you join the Yahoo group!) I LOVE this pattern! You only cable two out of the twelve rows, and I pretty much have it memorized at this point. It's not reversible, but I'm cool with that. I am also totally in love with my Knit Picks Harmony needles, they are so pointy for wooden needles, they are interchangeable, I kiss my fingertips and poof them up to the sky as an homage to how much I love them!



A happy project-in-progress! I have to get it done before the end of Nov - no problemo!


posted by PlazaJen, 4:02 PM | link |

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


So, Sue tagged me with the Blog Evolution Meme - basically to write about how your blog has evolved over time. It's an interesting question, because obviously I have evolved & adapted to numerous changes since I started this thing - and the truth be told, back when I paid attention to my Geocities site, I blogged about my knitting projects & even had some rants & raves on there - that goes waaaay back! So it's always been a mixture of humor, stories - both memories and current events, ranting and raving, and knitting. After last year's grueling journey of losing my father rapidly to cancer & grappling with the ensuing grief, I'd say that's probably the biggest change here. All the grieving and the weeping and the clawing at the pain. Not necessarily a high-readership sell, I know - but in the end, even with a small audience, I can't mask who I am and what I'm going through.

This particular blog has been around since July 2004. I was blogging only for me in the beginning, and maybe Kristin, because she was the only person I knew who read my blog. Then I made a comment on Dooce, before she "went pro", and got some readers who actually have stuck around. (Keeses!) I didn't even tell my husband about my blog at first, maybe because I wasn't ready to have a Real! Live! Audience! I had to face at night. Now it feels comfortable, and he even chides me if I don't blog. I think it's good to always feel like there's someone else out there who's going to read this, because a blog is not a diary. It can be, but it should be called "Word" on your computer and not published, unless you want the fallout from such a thing. We all have those things we'd like to say, and things we'd like to write, and dark mean thoughts that are covered in grimy motor oil and they stain everything they touch. That's why putting those things out on the internet isn't the greatest idea, because the written word is a lovely, lovely thing - but it still is subject to great interpretation, and people spend lifetimes dissecting the meaning and symbolism behind the written words.

Anyway, I've rambled on and on (another thing that HASN'T changed!) and I should probably quit. If this has gotten you to think about your blog & you want to write about your own Blog Evolution, run with it! It was a great question - and I'll be interested to read your thoughts, too!

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posted by PlazaJen, 1:38 PM | link |

Monday, October 08, 2007


Holy Smokes. Literally. Let me take you through the weekend, day-by-day.

Wristbands for the Royal

Friday Night, Party Party. This is the big night for the Royal, with party after party taking place. We had multiple wristbands, for my media reps' tents - we went to KCTV/KSMO's (CBS/MyTV) tent, and then on to WOLF/KUDL (radio). The food was great, the drinks were cold, and we had a lot of fun - I saw lots of people I knew, we ran into some old friends just accidentally - walking by, saw them sitting in their chairs with plates of food! It was Momma Linda's first time at the Royal, too. The Mike's Hard Lemonade went down quite smoothly.... and then we got back on a shuttle to head over to Union Station. (Shuttles? Totally the way to go.) The big excitement for the evening was when James met Gary Amble, who has promised to come teach the weather for his fifth graders!

James & Gary Amble
(Someone looks a little bit toasted here and they don't work for Channel 5!)

Saturday. Judging Side Dishes.

Before I begin with that, I'm going to show my judgmental side. We were behind this man, who, god love him, needs to accept the fact he doesn't have hair anymore and lose the rug. Poor guy. James got two pictures of me (and said toupee), one rather scary, like my face is melting, and then one of me just laughing.

Melty Face & Toupee

Waiting in Line

Three categories: Vegetables, Baked Beans, Potatoes. Oh me-oh-my-oh. We had some amazing portobella mushrooms, and some pretty marginal creamed corn. The interesting thing about this competition is that you can go nuts with presentation. (Not allowed in meats.) So people that put the effort in on their presentation scored high marks for appearance - we had a broccoli-rice casserole that was served in halloween shot glasses with vampire fangs at the top! Clever! Then, the baked beans. There were good baked beans and some that weren't so great. I was most excited for the potatoes - I looooove potatoes - and they turned out to be the most disappointing. One dish, while artfully presented, tasted immediately of canned cheese soup, and was overpowering.

There was a guy at our table who works for GM and lives in Mexico right now (flew in for this! there were people from all over who flew in to judge.) and we had the most mouth-watering conversations about food. He even gave us some good ideas for our pepper jelly concoctions. We had judges' parking on Saturday, but we took a Shriner's golf cart in to the arena, which was quite fun. My driver even stopped to get change when I made it clear I only had $20's and wasn't going to donate $20 for a four-block ride. I was quite hopeful we'd find them for the trip back - even eating just samples of things, I was feeling rather woozy, but we couldn't find them. So we hoofed it, in the heat & humidity, and I believe "Goddamn Shriners" was uttered no less than 16 times. Bleah. Better idea to walk in pre-food-judging, then find a ride back. I noticed a shuttle and stored that in my head for Sunday.

Ready To Judge Some Sides!

The nice thing about the American Royal? It's quite inclusive of the food lovers and the heftier population.

Sunday. The Big Event. Open Meats.

First order of business, establish that there are shuttles. We stood out on the street, and actually? A shuttle backed up half a block for us. Sweet! So we went in, checked in, and got seated. (This time, at different tables. Rules is rules when it comes to meat judging!) I started conversing with one of my fellow judges, and quickly discovered he is great friends with a former co-worker of mine (who is also a good buddy), and we have several local people in common. He works at a different ad agency, where numerous people I've worked with are! Such a small world. Anyway, he has a great sense of humor, and we had a pretty good time through the whole thing. The judge to his left admonished him for taking pictures; we thought it was funny she was all "rulesy", when she left between each meat section to smoke sixteen cigarettes - like, honey? Can you even taste anything? The woman to my right kept having coughing fits - violent, hacking coughs, and she confided in me later that she's been having bladder problems. EXCELLENT. She was a sweetheart, kept trying to take our stuff and throw it in the trash can that was near her - but missing. Yikes.

Making Friends
(It's always nice to meet someone else who talks with their hands.)

We judged chicken. Some amazing chicken. Given the fact I was starving, I ate some good chunks of chicken. Then? Then came the ribs. Oh my. All but one were deeeelicious. And so they all got eaten. The lady next to me (Bladder Issues) kept chirping about how dreadful it was that we didn't have baggies to put all the leftover meat into. (the pros bring coolers!) Then it was pork, and I started to feel like perhaps it was time to slow down - I didn't eat much beyond the bites for sampling. Next came the brisket. I was starting to feel protein-drunk. Our table captain produced one ziploc bag, and I put our brisket leftovers into it. I felt the beginnings of "oof" where one's stomach says, NO! You had a slice of pie, there is nothing more at the Thanksgiving table to eat! And sort of hoped that we were done - but it was not to be! It was time to judge the sausage.

Fortunately, we only had three sausage entries to judge. I'm not big on sausage to begin with, and any pretense at having a poker face was gone. James got the biggest laugh of the day, watching me bite into the first sample and start chewing. Lordy. There was actually one good entry, but I had hit the limit.

I forgot to get my signature from a KCBS rep, so I hoofed it back - after all, if I get 30 signatures in 5 years, I can be a MASTER judge. Someone else left their book in the car, and I realized this as I was being seated - can you tell I'm castigating JWo for forgetting his book?

Someone Forgot Their Book. NOT ME.

Twenty-Nine more of these. I dunno, folks. That's a lotta BBQ. And a lotta carnivorous carnage.

(these are JWo's ribs.)

Rib Carnage

It was a lot of fun. A ton of meat. A reminder that Kansas City gets smaller and smaller each year, even if we aren't getting smaller from eating all the smoked meat.


posted by PlazaJen, 11:04 AM | link |

Friday, October 05, 2007

Me & My 800 Tiles Made From Good Intentions Are DONE!

You know the saying - the road to hell being paved with good intentions? Well today is living proof!

I had a good morning at home, got things done that I needed to do - worked out, took care of a visiting Gracie, got JWo's lunch pulled together, got myself dressed & out the door. Even the first 40 minutes of work were looking good - my hope to leave early looked very promising, and I was putting lines through my to-do list.

Then it screeched to a halt. I have spent the past three hours on a crisis, and I was supposed to have confirmation of budgets (to spend money on said crisis) over an hour ago. I can't leave because the minute I go - the project will be approved. This is one of those situations when it feels like I. Am. Not. Flexible! I was going to leave early, catch up on some of my shows, do a little knitting & relax before the whole Weekend O' BBQ festivities begin ..... but no. Now I'm starting to wonder if all this time spent will even amount to any project execution, because each minute that goes by means it will become more impossible to make happen - and the likelihood of moving forward dwindles. So it will all have been for naught! Sigh. I'm gonna have a pity party at my desk, so feel free to entertain me with your comments.....

UPDATE: Nope, project not approved. Could still happen, could still happen on Monday. I just sent all my sales people an apology & update, and they're all being gracious, despite me screaming at them four hours ago to GO! GO! GO! like I was their air force drill sergeant loading them onto a rescue chopper. Sigh. This is why I try to be nice to everyone, because then when we have days like this, those same people don't actually want to slit my throat. I'm going to return to my to-do list & still hopefully leave a smidge early. But it may require napping to shake off this day!


posted by PlazaJen, 12:39 PM | link |

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


A Cautionary Tale.

OK, maybe I'm going over the top here. But you know that you can't jump in and out of your car & rub your legs and arms together & then remove the gas pump from your car, because you could EXPLODE! You know this. You've even seen video, of combustion in action. (I'm particularly fond of this version, as it is titled in Spanish. Cuidado! Incendio!)

So we had a weird power blip this morning, and I noticed that the cordless phone blinked as the power came back on - but I was so focused on resetting clocks (Must! Restore! Order!) that I didn't notice the blinking continued. And it was blinking when I got home tonight. I investigated a bit further, to discover both phones downstairs were dead. I unplugged them from their electrical source (cuidado!) and re-plugged them in, and the same problem. Maybe the phone was knocked off the hook upstairs - so, thump thump thump, up I go. Nope. Not off the hook, no signal. None in the craft room. Thump Thump Thump, down to the basement. Checked the wires down there, plugged & unplugged the alarm, back upstairs, (thump thump thump), no signal. Test the alarm. It works. But we have wireless on it as well so there's no way to know. FUCK. So I went outside, to look at the wires out there. Nothin'. You can't even get IN the box out there, locked down tight, (cuidado! phone service technicians only!), thump thump thump, back upstairs. I get the number to my phone company and call. The service technician puts me on hold and comes back on with the news.

His diagnosis? Static electricity buildup in the phone jacks. What I'm supposed to do is unplug all phones from the wall, unplug the power source to cordless phones, and wait five minutes. I bit my tongue and refrain from asking if I was supposed to sacrifice a chicken and walk in a circle backwards six times while reciting a nursery rhyme in French.

You might say I was skeptical. But why stop running up and down the stairs at this point, eh? And I might as well try it, preposterous as it sounded. So I unplugged the phones on the main level. Thumpity, thumpity....thump. Back upstairs. Tackle the craft room because LAWD knows, getting at that phone jack on the wall requires moving the cutting table, which happens to have four boxes under it, and piles of sorted yarn in bags next to it. (Yes, I said sorted. I did get some work done up there.) After I determined I would have to hurtle across the table, or under it, and possibly risk serious bruising, I decided to skip it and unplug it at the phone. On a lark, I pick up said phone and - lo and behold - a dial tone.


So static electricity DOES build up and it can completely screw up your phone service. And your evening! Static electricity is totally getting kicked out when I rule the world.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:27 PM | link |

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It Would Help With The Laundry Situation.....

I like the fact that my boss & I can argue & disagree and it doesn't turn into WWIII. However, he also possesses the ability to send me straight UP crazy in a reaction, when he's only kidding. I know a certain other someone who has actually perfected the art of this, and we share pillows. The Wo says it's great fun to get a reaction out of me, and I had to wonder if the same boy-humor was afoot this afternoon. Of course I wondered this after I'd begun spluttering!

See, BossMan and I disagreed about the solution to a problem, and if you know anything about me, you know that I will not even realize my heels are dug in until the water has risen above my kneecaps. Terrier Tenacious J. I am stub-born. And somewhat principled, and argumentative and not one to shy away from a tussle. I really should have gone straight on to law school, so I could get riled up every day like this, and get paid for it, and then keel over dead at the age of 42. A life lived, I say. (just kidding!) Thankfully, Bossman :is: married to a lawyer and he recognized the impasse (while I was busy creating picket signs and barking about precedent and my logic) and proposed I execute the solution both ways and only later did I realize I now had MORE work to do. But I was heard, and we will discuss it further and I am already at the point where I don't care which one wins (well, 15% of me still does, but that will fade, like the 80% before it.) I just Need to be Heard, I think. I am a Roman Candle, and usually burn brightly and fall back to earth, tired and ready for dinner, and no longer needing to orbit the earth on fire. (Of course, there are a few instances when the terrier would not let go and we were on more of a NASA mission, and the common thread in those cases happened to be I Been Done Wrong. I don't let go of that so easily.)

So I am tired, it's been a hectic wonky day, and the American Royal is coming up this weekend, and I'm nervous about judging "Side Dishes" because that really covers a W-I-D-E breadth of food, and even if you're judging things you hate, you have to ask yourself, "But is this the best Mustard Spam Salad I :could: eat?" Mmmmm. I feel a little more comfortable with the meat judging (that's on Sunday), but will have to remember you can end up eating 6 pounds of meat if you actually eat the portions you're given. This is all starting to feel like a crazy barbecue-slathered Roman feast. Roman candle, Roman feasting, I should just wear a toga the rest of the week and call it a theme. And how sweet that would be, as I'm behind on laundry and need to get some done if I'm going to continue to show up for work in a state that's acceptable. There is no laundry sport game on the Wii, and I must admit, that's a design flaw. Or maybe I just need to put down the Wiimote and get some laundry done.... Sigh. I'd rather argue. Or knit. I'll give you knitting updates soon, because there ARE some!

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posted by PlazaJen, 5:06 PM | link |

Monday, October 01, 2007

What's The World Coming To?

....When K-FED is designated the better parent? Dope smoking, camel-toe-socks-in-sandals and braids and all. Eesh.

In other breaking news, we got a Wii. And someone keeps beating me at all the games, except maybe tanks, and for a competitive spirit, it is difficult to see my Mii over and over, dejected with her head-hanging down. I'm just saying. The boxing training sessions are going to begin soon. KaPOW!
posted by PlazaJen, 4:14 PM | link |