PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Monday, June 30, 2008

All-in-All, A Good Day.

The beginning of my day had someone telling me they thought I was brilliant (and no, they weren't from Dublin, where EVERYthing is brilliant), and it came from someone I respect, so it definitely meant something. The end of my day (well, the sun's going down, anyway) contained an email from The Loopy Ewe, informing me of a sneak-up, and my DPN holders are in the store. I hope they sell at least one or two, so I don't throw up in horror and embarrassment! No news on the scarf exchange, but I appreciate the sympathy and shared frustration with the situation. It's a bummer, but what can I do at this point? Nuttin', honey.

There's lots of other good news, but if I stuffed it all into one blog post? It'd be like eating all your movie theater candy in the first five minutes. But hinty-hinty, we have done our part to stimulate the economy in the past three days, and someone just might have herself a fabulous birthday present! :)

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posted by PlazaJen, 7:53 PM | link |

Just slightly addicting....




Try it yourself here!
posted by PlazaJen, 9:22 AM | link |

Friday, June 27, 2008

Oh Hope. One of these days.....

So, ya, regular readers will remember that last Fall, I did that whole International Scarf Exchange, and as the due date neared, my secret pal bailed on me and never communicated a reason why or anything. But I was fortunate enough to get an angel in Taiwan, who swiftly knit something up for me, and sent along some lovely goodies as well.

I decided I could give it another go, despite all my bad luck with swaps. But now we're back at the "email us if you still haven't gotten anything" point, and I just feel stupid. STOOPID. I even volunteered to be an angel this go-round, because I thought HOW could it happen again? And who knows? Maybe something happened, maybe there'll be a package arriving tomorrow, maybe maybe maybe. But I hate writing like I'm a petulant 14-year old, and it's stupid to get my feelings hurt, but there you have it. And the only way to prevent this from happening again is to STOP participating. I apparently have terrible luck with these things and I can't keep thinking "this time will be different!" So. I'm not doing another one of these. I'm doing a swap with my 'net friend TussahSilk, and we'll get around to sending each other care packages of yarny goodness. (See, we don't set a deadline or really any ground rules? But I've already gotten her a couple of things, and eventually, I'll reach the point where I say, "Yeah, that's good", and then we'll email some more and then we'll both fulfill our respective ends of the deal.)

Grumble. I'm sooo glad it's Friday. Hubs finished summer school today and he couldn't be happier. I'm gonna get my toes done tomorrow, and prepare for my last week as a 39-year old!
posted by PlazaJen, 3:50 PM | link |

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Revisionist History

I used to want to be Madeleine Kahn when I grew up, because she wasn't a standard measure of beauty or aspiration. Of course, she was beautiful, but mostly she was hilarious. The sort of gal who would throw you for a loop when she opened her mouth and cursed like a sailor or something, but you didn't have time to be shocked because you were already laughing. Then she died at the very young age of 57.

So, now I want to be a blend of a couple other atypical women. Swoosie Kurtz reminds me of Madeleine Kahn, to some extent, and Kathy Bates is flat out talented, funny, and scary as hell if your name is "James Caan".

I know, I'm going to always be... ME. I'm ok with that. But I get flashes of the women who've influenced my life, and who I want to become as I age (gracefully or not), and I am keenly aware of how Hollywood makes women my age "disappear". I'm just not comfortable blending into the wallpaper. I never have been. It's a joke I love to say, "I'm shy." Of course, I can be, I can dislike talking or dealing with people or situations and want/need time to myself, but I'm the girl who wants to charge forward when something feels scary or intimidating. Beat it down and smile like a fool.

In other good news, I think it's finally safe to announce it: I'm capable of truly being happy. I made small talk with a stranger at Sweet Tomatoes the other night and laughed and realized from the inside out, it didn't have an iota of "cover" or lie in it. You wouldn't assume it to be true - I've cried more the past two days, between blog posts and NPR stories (oh my god, you have to listen to this one - I had no idea, and it's so heartwarming. And such proof that one person can make all the difference in the world.)

But I think a part of me is finally buying into the idea that it might, after all, be ok. I know I'm going to have my dips, my nose-dives, my hull will drag on the sandbar and I will be buffeted into rocky outcrops. But in the end, I want to be someone who made a difference, and didn't give up. Always with some laughs along the way.

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posted by PlazaJen, 3:49 PM | link |

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I'd prefer "Jaguar", please.

So, I'm turning 40 soon. As in, within a couple of weeks. One of my friends was sending out a happy hour email, and I got served an ad in Google, apparently because "40" and "birthday" were in the same message. What was that small text ad?

"Cougar Bars"

What did I think when I saw it? Some sort of granola energy chew. Followed immediately by "Hrm, cougars IN bars?" And wondered how a meat bar really worked and would it be good for sack lunches? Then the rest of the text battered through my fogbanks: "Find Local Cougar Bars Near You. 100% Free. Join Now!" Yet still, I was trying to figure out if this was like, say, a Dachshund enthusiasts group. But the web address finally dismissed every doubt or nuance of confusion: date a cougar, dot com.
Holy carp! Holy crap! I don't want to date a cougar! I don't want to BE a cougar! I am NOT a cougar! WTF?!

Aging is great for all the wisdom and perspective but it totally sucks for advertising and hearing about all the things "wrong" with you. I'm supposed to buy all these creams and collagen-enhanced lotions for my skin. (I'm sure the collagen comes from cougars!) I'm supposed to start taking soy. (Comes from pumas, I hear.) Eventually I will burst into flames on an irregular basis. Meanwhile, men just age gracefully and become more... distinguished. Nobody ever calls them "an iguana" if they parade a young hottie on their arm. Matter of fact, I think we should start the trend right now. If women over a certain age are dating younger men, and society insists on calling them "cougars" (I mean, can't you just see the wildcat tearing out the frat boy's throat?) - well, I say we start the Iguana Movement as our own counterpoint.

Jack Nicholson, I'm looking right at you, my friend.


posted by PlazaJen, 2:42 PM | link |

Monday, June 23, 2008

Is a Knitting Hangover a YarnOver?

Wowza, what a weekend!

Saturday was the Sunflower Knitting Guild's Kansas yarn crawl. Laura volunteered to drive us, and Carmen, Jen & I gallivanted together. Carmen is the (self-proclaimed) Ghetto GPS, and at some point, I had to point out she didn't have an "off" button. She retorted it done broke off and you gotta get the pliers out if you wanna change it! Well served comeback, my friend. There was a lot of laughing, needless to say, in between our shopping.

We went to Knit Wit, where I bought two skeins of beyootiful laceweight yarn. (You get so much yarn for the moneh, oo oo, oo ooo) It's in BlueBlood Red.
Lacey Lamb

Then we went to the Needle Nest, and I didn't find any yarn there that had to come home with me. I picked up a couple of Amy Butler patterns, and admired some fabric, but it was getting pretty crowded inside, I was starting to overheat and it seemed like a good idea to get outside and out of the way. Laura took this pic of us under the vine-covered arbor in front of the shop:

(Nobody was outside with us, so we couldn't get a foursome shot. And my picture? Did not turn out. My little Kodak gets fussy if you don't let it whir and think for at least 15 seconds after you take a picture. Grrrr. But, at least the Canon behaves & all the rest of the pics were taken with that.)

Back to the narration! After Louisburg, we zipped off to Lawrence, and were 45 minutes early for our visit to Tracy Bunker's studio, so we trekked over to the DQ, and had us a snack. I love the DQ. We arrived back at her studio at the same time everyone else on the crawl got there, so we all descended at once. I bought some Rayon Ruffles in Dragonfly - the colors are atypical for me, and it was really reasonably priced. The only downside is that I noticed her sweet dog Ruby had a bunch of little black bugs on her tummy, so I'm quarantining the yarn until I'm sure I didn't bring home anything unwanted visitors for our dogs. (We use Advantix on them, but still. It's a battle I don't need!)

Rayon Ruffles

The last stop was the Lawrence mecca, The Yarn Barn. I wasn't going to get anything, actually, until I saw a shop sample of a cute cotton tote bag. They didn't have the pattern, but I got some cotton yarn, and it's a crochet pattern, so I figure, why not, I can single stitch crochet like a mad woman, maybe I could crank something out super fast?! Who knows. It looked like a relatively simple shell stitch, and it's for their learn-to-crochet class. Famous last words, I know - but it shouldn't be :that: hard?

Saucy Cotton

We went back to our carpool meet-up spot, and then Carmen and I went on to Joann's, because I had to get more candy melts for the next day's activity! Yup. We had a Ravelry meet-up at The Studio, Sunday afternoon. And because cupcakes are practically the official dessert of Ravelry, we had a cupcake contest. Boy, did we get a lot of cupcakes! It was awesome! Mine were simple - white cake, chocolate frosting, edible glitter, and then the toppers were the Studio's daisy, made out of colored candy. I was inspired!

Daisy close-up

Studio Logo Daisy on Cupcakes

Then, since I was on a roll with the candy-making, I made dipped and molded pretzels as well. (Those did not go to the event. The Wo loves 'em.)
Pretzels in chocolate

We had a GREAT turnout, with around 45 knitters & crocheters & spinners showing up!

It was a sunny day, and everyone pretty much clung to the shade.

Ravelry Meet Up at The Studio
Everyone Clings to Shade

There were all sorts of cupcakes:
Cindy, Laura & Angela

My cupcakes won for Manager's Choice, and I got a fabulous "Ripped" shot glass. I also won a Studio goody sack, and then my name got drawn AGAIN, but they picked another person, because seriously, it would have looked rigged at that point. (It wasn't! I swear!)

The best part about yesterday is this:

Successful Food Drive for Harvesters

We got an entire table full of food donations for Harvesters. Knitters are good, generous folks! And they can bake like fiends, too....

Now I need a weekend, to recover from my weekend. Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't give a posthumous shout-out to George Carlin. He was just here a minute ago! Man, what a funny, funny dude. He will be missed, and I can only aspire to swear as much as he did.

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posted by PlazaJen, 11:07 AM | link |

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Lotsa Pics!

OK, first off, I'm going to show you the cake I made last weekend for Momma Linda's birthday:
Gnome Guards the Cake

It's a Peach Upside-Down Cake, from AllRecipes (I love that site). The cake is from scratch and it's deeee-licious!

Momma Linda's B'day Cake

I love to garnish.

Now, here's how Tripper looks when I'm giving all the dogs some treats. I realize it's blurry, but you get the tractor-beam stare, nonetheless.
Tripper Wants A Treat

We give them treats in order of pack status, so we say their names, and then toss them whatever they're getting. (It goes, "Suzy!", "Polly!" "Tripper!") What's funny is that the other two dogs sit and remain utterly fixated, watching your hand. Tripper, however, does this in-place bouncing, keeping his back legs grounded, but lifting his front paws off the floor in this sort of horse-rearing-back motion. He does it quite enthusiastically (to each dog's name), and it usually results in his ears flopping completely inside-out, but he continues to perk them up. And it makes me laugh, and laugh, and laugh! I had to stage these ear pics, but you get the idea.

Ear Flippage
I like that his lips look a little caught, too. Doofus.
Lady, This Is Embarassing.
OK OK, you've had your fun..... now knock it off, Lady.

Last, but not least...
Grammar Update!

So, it really is good to know someone. And I used to work with the guy who's now a designer at one Ace Hardware's agencies. I didn't want him to get thrown under the bus, in case it was his work, so I sent him the photo of the egregious shelf-talker. Turns out it was done corporately - and nationwide. And he reassured me that they'd have to reprint them all. (He's on a one-man mission to eliminate bad letter kerning. He understands.) And, the Wendy's boards have been fixed! To say I had a triumphant week in the war on bad grammar and spelling would be an understatement. Never underestimate your own power to change the world!!!

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posted by PlazaJen, 7:28 AM | link |

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Betrayal of the Sisterhood

I am all sorts of salty right now. Between all the grammar errors around town, and life stress, and a couple crazy situations, and people not using their manners, I am very .... salty. Sharp. Yet blunt. I recall a dinner long ago, with a group of people, and one fellow said every single thing that came into his head, regardless of how inappropriate or uncouth it might have been. I had had just enough wine at that point, and I finally turned to him and said, "Joseph! You need a FILTER!" Which I then explained to him meant he needed a filter between his brain and his tongue.

All of us have layers of filters - we insert more proper filters for business settings, sometimes we remove several and sometimes alcohol renders them null and void (note to self, shouting "Fuck" while seated at the Pope Table at Buca can alarm the elderly walking past). When my buckets of joy are not full, I notice that my filters wear thin or sometimes disappear. This doesn't mean I walk around screaming expletives at strangers (unless you cut me off, but then I'd be driving, eh?) But my patience ebbs out and I can get blunter and I don't call upon my thesaurus of words to couch what I'm thinking. Which leads us to yesterday's blunt transgression, where I pretty much revealed the essence of why men don't understand women.

A friend of mine is going through a divorce. At first, it appeared to be a pretty simple split, he initiated the process, but she agreed it was best, and really didn't seem to be too upset. But then she started talking to friends, who convinced her she should get all sorts of money (he's not rich) and alimony to boot (she has a stable job). Understandably, he's frustrated, because he's not made of money, and he just wants to move on with his life. So on his daily candy visit, he asked me, "What is the deal with women? Just tell me!"

I paused, and I folded my hands, and I decided to just give it to him straight. I said, "Every woman has an abyss within her that will never be filled."

It blew his mind. I qualified it, that every woman's abyss has a different aperture size, the degree it controls and influences varies, and that a lot depends on the coping skills and self-awareness of the individual - but that there is always going to be some piece, some part of us that is never fully satisfied. And ultimately, it's no man's job to fill it. (I think a lot of women think it is their partner's job, which is only a recipe for heartache.) Maybe I'm wrong, maybe it doesn't apply to every woman. But I know for myself, some of the purpose that abyss serves is to motivate me. It also is the part that questions and wonders and ruminates - sometimes too much, but it does force me to recognize when things in my life aren't matching up, if I'm unhappy with a friend or a situation, it makes me think and search for a solution. Is it negative? Sure, sometimes. That hole inside is where my deepest, meanest, darkest insecurities try to hide and pull their strings.

I was standing at the front desk when my friend returned from lunch, and there were five women there as well, talking, so I did an informal poll. And all of them paused, tilted their heads a little, and then nodded. One co-worker said she's always described it as a desire to continue on to the next thing, a driving force that there is never a "done" or "end" to. That's perhaps a little more palatable than an endless emptiness.

It's not to say we're never satisfied. We can look at a task completed as well-done, we can see something we created and feel good, feel proud. And most women I know immediately start thinking about...the next project.


posted by PlazaJen, 11:12 AM | link |

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I had lunch with Kyra today. We drove by a Wendy's billboard & I asked her if she'd seen the pic I'd posted on my blog, and she had - we were laughing about it, and she said she'd had an English teacher who had showed them a full page newspaper ad that said something to the effect, "Your On The Right Track".

Two hours later, she text messaged me to look at her Flickr. Yup. This is going to put me in the nuthouse, some folks look for the second coming or a rapture, but my alarm bells are signs like these, pointing to the decline of language and writing in this country. Hell, I almost prefer text-message spelling, because it's at least a puzzle and doesn't pretend to be proper English.
posted by PlazaJen, 2:52 PM | link |

Mrs. Bombastic

Alright, I think I came off way more despondent than intended in that last post. I got some really nice private messages & I hate thinking I made anyone worry when it wasn't merited. (Last week merited worry. Today I'm just feeling like emotional fly paper. Which I'm actually quite proud to have coined, it's totally who I am. You are angry and you are blue! Whatever you're feeling sticks to me like fly paper glue!) I'm just sick of all the panic and doom & gloom with the economy and hearing the phrase "X prices going up further".

I'm actually in a pretty good mood this afternoon, despite some of the drama swirling.

I think I need a vacation. Or some blender drinks. Maybe both! Together!

Oh, and I betrayed the sisterhood today. I actually explained women to a guy friend at work. His mind exploded in front of me. More on that tomorrow.
posted by PlazaJen, 2:35 PM | link |

God's Little Crabapple!

Sometimes I find myself thinking about topics for my blog, and I hear the old adage, "If you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing at all." It's a good one, but I'm not known for muzzling myself well, nor biting my tongue.

That said, I'm not writing about every irritant, and instead chalking things up to the full moon, and a general swirl in general of low consumer confidence and a depressed economy with soaring gas & corn prices. It's pretty easy to just skip right along to Armageddon if you think about much of anything too long. Everyone I know is (pick one or more): stressed, irritable, on edge, depressed, angry, morose, unreasonable, bitchy, dissatisfied and probably a lot of other lovely adverbs. In the past week I've been cranky, irritated, frustrated, and I just responded to my co-worker's question if I wanted anything from Latte Land with, "A new attitude?" She's so sweet, she said I didn't need a new one. She is, however, a programmer, so maybe I can get her developing Attitude 2.0?

So on my drive this morning I decided I could be grateful I don't live in Kabul. Or Cedar Rapids. I can be happy that I don't have a 50-mile commute. I am not panicked about paying my bills, and even if they drive us crazy, we have three healthy, lively dogs. Life is pretty good, in fact. I wish the country could collectively shake it off, that things would stabilize and it wouldn't feel like someone was cranking on the Winch of Life so vigorously.

This too shall pass, and even though sometimes (right now) it makes me cry to remember his words, as my father said in almost every phone call before he died, "It will all be ok." I marvel at how a man of little faith could instill it so heartily in me.

Deep breath. Exhale. Believe.


posted by PlazaJen, 10:44 AM | link |

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dana, Clay. Clay, Dana.

We watched the Dana Carvey standup special on HBO last night. It seemed fitting, since the Church Lady had come up in conversation at work on Friday - and then Wayne's World was on that afternoon.

Extremely disturbing. After about 30 minutes, I figured out why. Dana Carvey has had some work done, and now he looks like Clay Aiken.

Tsk, tsk. Good thing I'm still in love with Eddie Izzard.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:20 PM | link |

Friday, June 13, 2008

Random Orts for Friday

1. Update on that crazy outdoor board from yesterday. Yes, I did call my sales rep at CBS Outdoor. I figured if the mistake was on their end, better they be proactive about it with the client, and if it wasn't on their end, then they'd look good by alerting the client. Fortunately for everyone, it's not on every single board, but there are a handful that are wrong. My rep was VERY appreciative, and I like building up a goodwill bank for a time down the road when I'll need a little extra help!

2. Rachael of Yarn-A-Go-Go lost her mom early this morning. I've never met Rachael personally, but we've exchanged emails here and there, even as recently as this week, as she's been at home with hospice and her mom and family. Peaceful thoughts in her direction. Oddly enough, there was great cartoon this week in the paper that really summed it all up:

3. The white trash across the street have been driving me NUTS. They sit outside pretty much all day long, listening to their music on their car stereo (with the trunk open). They must be drinking or getting stoned the whole time because I can't for the life of me understand how anyone could sit outside in this humidity and watch the street and call that a full day. However, I did have a nice realization the other morning: they make an excellent layer to our security system. Apart from the fact they fit the profile of someone who would actually DO the breaking in, I figure the odds of someone rolling up on our house and breaking in again are even less with their crazytown circus across the street. If for no other reason than the fact our outdoor siren would drown out their music and that'd cut through their buzz enough (hopefully) to evoke a reaction.

4. Blog Debate. Currently taking place in my head, I can't decide if I should just have my blog be front & center on my domain, or house it at I'm really leaning towards the latter, because it makes it easier for me, setting up the files and templates and stuff, but I also wonder if it makes it more of a challenge for people. (that extra click! who knows?! I have like, 42 people who read my blog and I'd really like to not alienate any of you.)

5. Storms. I am really, really really getting tired of rain and chances of tornadoes on a weekly basis. I grew up north and east of Cedar Rapids and was just sickened to see the entire downtown under water. Then the Boy Scouts in western IA, and the town of Chapman KS getting hit so badly, it feels like an apocalypse. Good thing I'm not one of those Rapture people, I'd be burning my devil mittens and giving my yarn away to heathens. GOOD THING.

6. Now I should explain the Devil Mittens. I love them. This came out on Ravelry some time ago, where a devout knitter caught sight of a sneak preview of the Subway Mittens, and became convinced the pocket was instead a flap, designed to unbutton and allow the traveler's hand to be scanned for the bus pass micro-chip that had most certainly been implanted under their skin. In fact, they have a pocket for subway tokens. But the ensuing dialogue on the forums was hi-larious. Many spoke of the Rapture and that we would see it in our lifetime. And I refrained from trying to get anyone's car, as a reference to one of my all-time favorite bumper stickers. ("When the Rapture Comes, Can I Have Your Car?")

7. Organization, cleaning and sleeping are on my list for the weekend. And blender drinks, most likely. Are you doing anything fun?


posted by PlazaJen, 9:30 AM | link |

Thursday, June 12, 2008



This kind of shit makes me crazy.
Oh, and I thought it was just a goof on a snipe*, on one particular board? (This one's at 73rd & Wornall, approx.) But we were out south last night, and there it was, typo and all, informing us that another Wendy's was, indeed, "staight ahead"....

ETA: *Snipe: Refers to a small added strip along a poster design to announce special or revised messages.


posted by PlazaJen, 10:25 AM | link |

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Gummy Smiles....

Thanks for the notes and comments yesterday. I went home and JWo was a super husband, frying up homemade hot wings (extra extra crispy) and then made me a PB&J sammich with the chocolatiest milk, ever, for dinner. We watched a movie, and just had a quiet night. I didn't want to talk much, so I just did my knitting & watched the television. When I went to sleep, I did what I usually do - stare out the window, looking at shapes and whatever I can see, depending on the clouds and moonlight. One of my favorite visuals that I had a child, and now get in my life because of our big yard, is lightening bugs, twinkling away. I started writing a really kick-ass haiku in my head, and almost got up to write it down, but alas, I didn't, and of course, it's gone. In any event, it was another point of reassurance in my life, as true as a cold glass of milk coats your throat, that life goes on, things are ok, I'm going to find joy and sadness throughout the journey, and it's better to feel them fully than insulate yourself, because without one, you cannot have the other.

It was also interesting yesterday, because a couple people called me to chat, unaware of the date's significance; my friend Shelley called from a nearby park, and I suggested she and Miss Kara swing by if they had the time. Miss Kara is growing up and her personality has grown by leaps & bounds since I last saw her. Holy Toledo! And now, she interacts even more, and treated me to countless enormous, hilarious, gummy grins. So I had to take some pictures. A snuggly, funny kewpie doll, on a day when I could use a little pick-me-up.

Starting to wind up the gummy grin...

It Starts on One Side...

Beaming the Gums

And Almost A Wink...

I realize I'm biased, but I think she is absolutely gorgeous, and hilarious, and no, her eyes simply cannot get any bigger. However, she may be emulating a Saint Bernard, because LORDY that child can drool. (Her teeth are starting to come in.) It was just the entertainment that I needed!


posted by PlazaJen, 2:35 PM | link |

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Oh, Time.

I remember being about 7 or 8, and my father, who never quite grasped the concept of treating me like a child, informed me that one day, indeed, he would die. And in his atheist belief, that upon death, there was nothing more. He would be gone. I felt terror, and it must have been evident on my face, as I cried, and told him I didn't want him to die, ever, that I didn't want him to leave me. He was the one who was always there for me, no matter what.

He told me, in a mixture of reassurance and dogged adherence to reality and a promise to never lie to me, that we were all going to die, and he couldn't change that, but that he would do his best to be around for a long, long time.

I wish it could have been more than 32 years, but I did have those years. The memories of this time, two years ago, flooded me last night, and I felt every last nuance of sadness and pain. I used to relive those moments every night; now I think I've learned that I'm not going to actually forget them. They can feel as real and present as if they just happened - the film is etched onto my soul.

But so are the good moments. I'll never stop loving you, Dad. I miss you from the bottom of my heart and I ache from the pain of missing you, sometimes. But there is balance as time moves on and puts more minutes on the other side of that day, June 10, 2006. And so, I add a new label to all this that I put out there: Moving Forward.

Dad Grins

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posted by PlazaJen, 3:07 PM | link |

Monday, June 09, 2008

I've Coded....

I have been getting my geek on. Only in my case, it's more like "gecko". I am such a wannabe, I roll my eyes at myself! That said, I have been working on my own domain, which I've owned for quite some time, and the battle royale of yesterday was getting WordPress installed - I actually did it, but grew so frustrated trying to run the script that I finally submitted it to WP's fabulous team of "install-for-free" volunteers, and then I got a whole new set of parameters and steps to wrangle with. As in, hello, how DO I get the screen to log in as the admin? I spent at least 30 minutes with the wrong address, getting an error message, so I continued to edit my config file, and then finally, blessedly, something clicked. Intuitive, this shit is not.

So! At some point - now in the not-so-distant future - I will be moving Ye Olde Blogge. Right now, when I think about moving all my archives over, I just roll my eyes. Uh, yeah. Lemme get a few more things sailing smoothly before I take that route, mmmkay?

That's one of the things cookin' here at Chez PlazaJen; the other is that those DPN holders I made? Are soon going to be for sale at the Loopy Ewe! I KNOW. That's one of the aforementioned "SQUEE"s. I about passed out from the sheer excitement when I got that email! And then I recovered, and placed a frenzied order for more devil duckies. Which turned into its own nightmare of sorts, as I selected "expedited shipping", and the seller used DHL at Home, which takes its sweet time to get your package to your local USPS who in turn delivers them to you. Uh, yeah. So instead of 1-3 days, it took 6 days. It goes without saying, I was Not Happy. (Oh, and I got the shipping charges refunded.) So, this little bit of excitement goes hand-in-glove with the website, because even though I don't want to delve into e-commerce, per se, I would like to have a few pages with my photos of the holders, and anything else that might be joining the "Wants & Kneeds" line of quirking knitting panaceas. Because yes, there's something else. (But that announcement needs to wait!)

In other news, because lordy, I have been a little distracted from blogging, we are fully embracing the notion of a staycation. However, I am also highly resentful of the staycation. It's sort of a love/hate thing - I know we're doing the right thing by conserving our cash and we'd be grumpy if we went somewhere and spent too much money, BUT, I'm just resentful of the fact that this is happening, the economy is tanking, and gas prices are being jacked with (because seriously, OPEC says there is no supply issue, so what gives? Someone's making a shitton of money AND having a lavish all-inclusive vacation! That's what gives!) So my answer to all of the above is quite simple: Blender Drinks. They're a mini-vacation in a glass.

And, quite honestly, all that's kept me from throwing the computer out the window this weekend.

More soon, with extra SQUEE! :)
posted by PlazaJen, 3:11 PM | link |

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Me + An AK-47 = Trouble.

I am sure this is one of those statements that doesn't even really need to be MADE. But I had a rough night last night, waking myself up with a surge of acid in the back of my throat, and I didn't sleep well after that point. I haven't had that much stress, but as I lay in bed last night, wondering why I felt SO out of sorts, I realized that I've been ignoring, to some extent, that next Tuesday is the two-year anniversary of my father's death, and that I've made my brain separate onto two planes, of sorts. I have the bulk of my brain set on "good times!" and living in the now, and being in relatively good spirits. And I think that big chunk of brain is set on "put the hammer down" on the other plane as a preventative measure, because I want to be progressing, moving forward, being happy, and I am acutely aware that June 10th is coming, not to mention the wincing at all the Father's Day crap bombarding all of us.

So the lower, squashed plane of my brain is getting back at me in oblique, under-handed ways. Like trying to drown me in stomach acid, or giving me insane, bizarre dreams that stay with me long past the alarm has me up and moving around. I felt like I have been in a stupor for a good 10-15 minutes every morning, trying to shake off the dream memories from the night, sorting out what is and isn't reality, like picking cobwebs out your hair.

Last night? I dreamed my co-workers and I were driving around town. In the Murano, of course, and I was driving. But even though it was Kansas City, it was very, very dangerous. And as we went through an intersection, an oncoming car - like an old Nissan Sentra - passed us going the other direction, and the driver was a crazy terrorist, and he brandished a baby-blue AK-47 at us, and his AK-47 had all kinds of floral stickers all over it. Kind of the "Hello Kitty" version of weaponry.

I went into a RAGE. Because I had MY AK-47, and that fucker wasn't going to threaten me with his flowery gun, mine was black and all badass. And my co-workers were kind of freaking out, but they all got out their guns, too, and we went driving through a cul-de-sac Johnson-County-esque neighborhood, shooting at the windows of the houses, just to prove we weren't powerless.

Someone might have a control issue or three, ya think? I've decided my new solution, when faced with situations I can't control, is to shout, "I'm Right!" at the top of my lungs in the car. It at least makes me laugh and stops some of the obsessing. Plus, it's far less dangerous than brandishing weaponry.


posted by PlazaJen, 1:35 PM | link |

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Slightly Combative, Microbursts Possible.

Well, I'm at least half of that weathercast. I don't feel at all like crying, or bursting; in fact, I'd classify my mood as "good" to "sunny". However, I am feeling quite combative, as related to some work things, and I need to shake it off. Otherwise, I may have somebody in a headlock, and while I haven't read a lot of business books, I understand that putting someone in a headlock (or any of the other WWF moves) is often seen as a career-limiting move.

Speaking of microbursts, though, JWo drove down to Schell City last night, because their duck club is there, and the town was hit by a microburst yesterday afternoon. Their house was affected - the paint on the back of the house looked like someone sandblasted it right off, windows were broken, the deck was pretty well taken out, and they have the neighbor's carport, well, everywhere. He had an enormous carport, with sides, that wasn't anchored to a foundation? It looked like the wind picked it up like an empty plastic grocery sack and tossed it around for an artsy good time, ala American Beauty.

Back of House


Unanchored Carport

Crazy! James said the grass was broken. Yep. That's how crazy fierce and horizontal those winds get. He was just glad there wasn't more damage. I bet their neighbor wishes he'd put a little more into anchoring that carport....because I don't think he's gonna be able to salvage it.


posted by PlazaJen, 1:43 PM | link |

Monday, June 02, 2008

Popeye Better Stay Off Our Street for A While....

...James pulled all the spinach last week & cleaned it, giving us about 4 gallon bags of fresh, home-grown spinach. So delish. We were having MommaLinda over for dinner on Saturday night, and he asked if I'd make homemade pasta.

I didn't get any pics of the fettucine drying, but man, it's pretty stuff. The spinach adds so much - flavor, color, and homemade pasta is -to borrow from original Iron Chef- like butterflies on your tongue. So light!
Steaming  Homemade Spinach Noodles
I made a very simple sauce - not even that saucy, per se, but it contained sauteed onions, rough-chopped garlic, italian sausage, baby portobella mushrooms and more spinach. I added some of the pasta water to the pan to give it a little more sauciness; other than that, it stood on its own.
Sausage, Spinach, Mushroom, Onion, Garlic saute
Topped with fresh parmesan, it made for a lovely, rustic dish, replete with fresh garden goodness.
Giant Dish of Pasta

Then, last night, I tried another recipe, involving spinach and ricotta and sauteed onions & garlic - and it completely sucked! Ah well. Can't win 'em all, I guess. I'm able to salvage the mixture to repurpose into lasagne at some point, so at least it wasn't a complete bomb. In any event, we are Vitamin-K,-A, and iron-rich after this past weekend!

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posted by PlazaJen, 12:39 PM | link |