Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Nice Compliment

I just got a note from my boss letting me know I've been promoted.

I work part-time. How do I get promoted? I've really let go of stressing about my "real" job because I'm not there enough to worry about it. I do what I see needs to be done, and on Thursday I walk away until Tuesday. Then I pick it up again and do what needs to be done and walk away again.

Hmmm. Maybe there's something to that.

Jenn And The City
Consulting Business Analyst

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?

Emma and I are home sick today. Well, I have a sore throat and the icky, yucky body aches, so I'm working from home. Emma has the chicken pox. Well, she has little red bumps all over her body for the third time in her life. Apparently, when one has little red bumps all over ones body the school system denies you entry, regardless of how one actually feels. Either that's different now or my mother never got that memo. If I didn't have a fever, I went to school. I could have had leprosy, but if I didn't have a fever, I'd have had to go to school.

Emma is Nick's sister. She is nine. Her mom and dad are at an appointment, and Rob is working so she and I are hanging out. We're watching Fairly Odd-Parents on Nickelodeon. And Sponge- Bob. And some sort of Disney program. I'm not sure if the programming is more bewildering or the commercials. They make video games where you can draw your own characters. Who knew? And Bratz? Whose wretched idea was this?

Clearly I am getting old. Or maybe I have a fever.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Extreme Makeover, Jenn Edition

Dear Modular Home on Beautiful Riverfront Half Acre:

Your carpets are cleaned. Your plumbing has been completely replaced. Your kitchen was gutted and re-built. One bedroom has new carpeting, and one bathroom has all new everything except a bathtub. The damage caused to the electrical wiring during the installation of the new fence was repaired this week.

You have a new deck. The old deck is under repair. And you have a very nice hot tub, with a gazebo. So the gazebo roof needs some help. Okay, it fell apart and we need a new one. GIVE US A BREAK. I'm sorry about the landscaping, BUT THERE WASN'T TIME this year. Please see above paragraph. You have new interior paint in four rooms. I don't give a rat's hiney if you don't like orange.

And while I'm at it, I'm pissed off about the stove burners. Left Front means Left Front, not Left Rear. When I turn on the Left Front burner, I expect it to get hot. Instead, nothing happens to the Left Front, but I can boil water in 30 seconds on the Left Rear. I could perhaps live with reciprocity, but when I turn on the Left Rear, I get just about enough heat in the Left Front to wilt lettuce. If it's summertime.


I'm not saying it again. There are houses out there who would love a family like us to treat them with care and respect. If you don't start behaving, I'm going to move you to the other side of the tracks and replace you with a condo.

So there. Pthhhhhttttt.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Greetings from Central Oregon. I'm tired and crabby and I want to go home. I miss my family and my dogs.

I hate traveling for work. Too much food, too much work, not enough exercise.

Plus, apparently there is Trouble with the Electricity. Not in Bend. At home. Since there was nothing left to go wrong with the plumbing, the furnace, lights and outlets decided it was their turn to strike.

Maybe I don't want to go home. At least there's heat here.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I've Found An Ass

And I'm SO excited. I think.

I have spent a lifetime with a, er, FLAT derriere. I did okay in the boob department, but I was absent the day great a$$es were handed out. There just hasn't been much call in the booty area. So I have broad shoulders to hold up the boobs, and not much below that.

The fashion mags do not have a section for "V-Shape". Trying to find a good bathing suit is a lost cause. At 40, I finally figured out that my broad shoulders and C-cups allowed me to carry more weight than most girls without it being obvious. Whoop-de-freakin-do. (Actually, at 40 +, I've learned to appreciate that particular fact. Why the hell does is take 25 years to get decent body image?)

I've spent the last six weeks being tortured by Helga. I was prepared for some changes in my body shape thanks to Helga, but I wasn't prepared for reality.

Reality. I've lost three and 1/2 pounds of fat. Pure fat. The white icky stuff you cut off your steak or drain out of the chicken or burger. The same stuff that makes cheesecake so yummy.

Reality. I've gained a pound of muscle. The part of the cow you actually eat.

Reality. My measurements, in actual dimension, remain much the same.

Reality. My fat measurements (the Special K pinch, for those who remember) have gone down significantly.

Reality. I'm built (per Helga) like an athlete. I carry a lot of muscle. By working out, I'm going to get bigger. And tighter. And less flabby. And I will weigh more, in scale weight.

So now my Lucky Jeans don't fit again. But it's not because I'm gaining weight, per se. It's because I now have a tush, where there was no tushy before. And I can see this.

Ass muscles. Who knew?

J-Lo eat your heart out. J-Hu is here!

Bride Revisited

See previous post.

Super Snake and Mr. Hack Saw were defeated by the Evil Kitchen Sink Drain. Reinforcements from Home Depot have been summoned. Fortunately, plumbing is unable to pursue us out of the driveway!

Rob will be home soon with Super Snake's cousin, Power Snake.

Hopefully the war will be over before the 1pm game.

Bride of the Flood

Our plumbing has been watching too many horror movies. You know, as if Chucky or Nightmare on Elm Street or Saw wasn't bad enough, one has to sit through the sequels and three-quels.

We suffered through the original flood (starring The Dishwasher) in February. Son of the Flood debuted the Evil Hot-Water Heater last month (no chance for a repeat there, we killed the tank and sent it to live on the an appliance farm).

But we've not quite even recovered from the negative critical reviews of the sequel when the third flood movie unleashed it's fury yesterday. Like most three-quels, Bride of the Flood has lost most of its allure and originality. Bride features a lame new starlet too, known familiarly to most as The Kitchen Sink Drain.

Since we were home during the initial attack, Rob fought back with the Super Snake. But even Super Snake was no match for The Kitchen Sink Drain. When our plumbing goes to the dark side, it really goes.

So today poor Rob is not sitting on his fanny relaxing over the Bengals/Giants game. He's stuck in the middle of Bride of the Flood, under the house fighting The Kitchen Sink Drain with his friends Mr. Hack Saw and Super Snake.

Don't look over your shoulder, Saint Rob, the bathtub just opened one eye and glanced furtively in your direction....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Random Saturday Thought

I have chocolate fudge brownie ice cream in my hair. This is not how to start your weekend.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thank You Patience

Patience passed on a blog award today. This is Jenn And The City's first blog award, so I'm really excited about it. Thank you Patience!

Some 'Splaining To Do

Linda and I travel together. A lot. Sometimes to dog shows, sometimes on vacation. We have the logistics of travel via air or auto down to a fine art form. We even used to keep a financial ledger to track joint expenses, until we figured out that it always ended up balancing out anyway.

Part of the logistics of air travel is airport parking. We were very fortunate, for awhile, to have a friend who lived near SeaTac who allowed us to leave our car at her home. But Deb moved. In lieu of "Deb's Pet and Parking Place", we have the Jet Motel. Cheap airport parking with a free shuttle, even if you don't stay there. We do much the same thing with a motel in Vancouver when we're flying from Canada.

That's just what we do. We don't think a thing about it. When we went to Philly, Linda drove, and I paid for parking. It all comes out in the wash.

Except yesterday while cleaning our bedroom, Rob found my credit card receipt for the Jet Motel, dated 9/1/08 for $56.00. Poor Rob is new enough to our life to not know the Jet Motel routine. And he's just a bit confused by this receipt. In a role reversal, I'd have been a bit confused too.

Except I can't quit laughing long enough to 'splain myself.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bad Step-Monster

Okay, if you were looking for a role model, go check out Rima or Cheryl. No freaking role models here. I am NOT the mommy. I didn't know I was supposed to come home on Wednesdays - Nick goes to his REAL mother that night. Yes, it's Rob's soccer night, which is why it is a terrific time for me to have Wednesday's at the W.

That's right, Wednesday is supposed to be the Girl's Night Out. At the W bar. We have a drink, we b1tch about work, family, whatever, and We Do Not Get Calls From The Family.

Tonight my friend C makes comments about my independence. She doesn't see me as an attached female. No Mrs. Lovey Howell here.

Until the Blackberry starts to sing...Rob calling....

"Are you home"?


"Oh. Nick's there"


Nick: "It's Nick. Tara is throwing up. White, spitty stuff"

Me: "Nick, it's okay. Give her a cookie. I'll be home soon."


Nick: "It's Nick. Do you want me to feed the dogs?"

Me: (over the noise of the W bar) "Yes. Please."


Nick: "It's Nick. Where are you?"

Me: "I'm on my way home. Have you had dinner?"

Nick: "No, I'm okay."

Me: (Not such a dumbs&%& after all). "How about if I stop for teriyaki?"

Nick: Cool!!!!! Can I get the chicken and onion? I'm hungry!

Me: "Yes, of course". After I burn in hell for not feeding my child....

Sigh. No role models here. Get me another Manhattan.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Definite Lack of Car-ma

Sigh. So you remember the Second Flood right? We've been sleeping in the motorhome in the driveway since Flood II. It's really not that big of a deal, a minor inconvenience from a sleeping perspective.


Trying to maneuver a car, an SUV, a truck and a trailer with jet skis around a 28' motorhome requires navigational skill.

I have no navigational skill.

I've already scratched the MDX on the fence. Okay, it was more like a scrape. Okay, the MDX is wearing a fence-colored stripe down the side panel over the wheel well.

Today, I had to drive the truck because yesterday the MDX got in a fight with the lawn mower and lost. Evil Lawn Mower picked up a rock and hurled it through the passenger window of the MDX. Poor MDX is indisposed, awaiting the arrival of a new window from Tacoma.

Anyway, truck. Is.Stuck.In.Driveway. 1/4" from the fence. I'm afraid to try to maneuver it again. It's going to sit there until someone with navigational skills arrives to move it. So I'm here without a vehicle I can move.

Except the motorhome. That I can move. All I have to do is run over the truck.

PS. I just realized I locked the keys in the truck...

Color: Immaterial

This weekend I painted the spare bedroom orange. Not a mild, pale tangerine shade, but a vibrant hue described by Dutch Boy as tropical mango. As a point of reference, dog folks would know tropical mango as red. If I wanted to paint black vertical stripes, I'd have a brindle room. The glow when the sun shines casts an almost pink shade onto the walls in the plain-vanilla hallway.

Eventually, once the sub-floor and carpeting are re-laid, this will be my writing room. Of course, I'll be sharing it with several soccer balls, ATV equipment, skis, a remote controled car, and possibly some power tools. My contribution to the decor will consist of a small library of books, a couple dog beds (occupied), a computer, and perhaps a houseplant or two barely clinging to life.

Rob likes the tropical mango. Nick looked at it and said "it's very orange". Our neighbor, observing the paint roller in my hand when I answered the door, said "you're kidding".

It occurred to me this morning that tropical mango is not so very different from my recovering blonde hair color. Hey, I could save a fortune by simply painting my hair. In all reality, Dutch Boy tropcial mango probably shares most of the same chemical composition as Aveda Jenn And The City red hair dye.

Imagine the possibilities! Should I become disillusioned with my mango hair, I can select from a ginormous color pallette with charming and witty names such as sun hat. That would be yellow, for those not conversant in Glidden or Behr. I might also choose popcorn, unaccountably a shade of blue.

On the other hand, I've also just learned that paint, unlike hair dye, washes out of hair pretty easily. I learned this because Tara, who is technically considered popcorn brindle, excuse me, blue brindle, got a smudge of tropical mango on her head. Now I know that the breed standard says that for a whippet color is immaterial, but I do not think tropical mango or popcorn was on the minds of the breed's fore-fathers.

Or-ange you glad you checked the blog today?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Jenn And The NFL

Bears/Panthers - This could be a good game. I pick Carolina, just cuz I'm a Green Bay fan.
Titans/Bengals - Tennessee
Packers/Lions - Go Pack Go!
Bills/Jags - Buffalo
Raiders/Chiefs - Chiefs should win. I like Oakland, but jeez, what a mess.
Colts/Vikings - Pick one. I'm going with Indy, due to the GB factor.
Giants/Rams - Could be a good game. Giants will probably win.
Saints/Redskins - N'orleans.
49ers/Seahawks - I have to support Seattle!
Falcons/Bucs - Atlanta easy.
Dolphins/Cardinals - Arizona all the way
Chargers/Broncos - Denver
Patriots/Jets - Another really interesting game. Favre vs. Not Tom Brady. I'm secretly hoping for a Jets win, just cuz.
Steelers/Browns - Pittsburgh (right J?)
Eagles/Cowboys - Sorry Rob, but Dallas will win.

How'd I do Janet?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I Hate It When She Does That...

Patience, at Patience-please, has posted about Giacomino. Giacomino is a 14-year old whippet that she calls "very old dog". My Carson is also 14, and is also, a very old dog.

I laugh, and I tell my ex, who has custody, to pay special attention to this and that. It doesn't matter what food you are feeding, I tell him. If Carson likes it, and eats well, then we are good. If Carson is struggling with his joints, I say that the unusually wet August may be bothering him.

I first met Patience at the AWC National in Pittsburgh. Patience was dealing with an injured whippet, Fat Charlie, who at that National suffered a similar injury to my Kevyn-whippet. Fat Charlie survived. Kevyn did not. Neither my ex or I forget that loss.

But Carson is our first whippet, and even if he does not live with me, I am not ready to say good-bye. And I am not ready for Patience's post. I do not have that ability, to state so poignantly the reality of saying good-bye to a "very old dog".

I applaud Patience in these moments. She speaks for us all.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pssst Victoria's Secret...I-5 wears a "C" cup

So its a writing day today. I'm still emotionally wrestling with my fictional villain, along with making some turkey loaf for the dogs, grocery shopping, working out, and wondering why there was a bra on the side of I-5 yesterday morning. Fortunately the bra was unoccupied and simply resting awkwardly on the shoulder. :-) (I so crack myself up sometimes).

I've learned to recognize that my head is constantly processing my surroundings and pondering how my environment fits into the stories in my mind. Now that I'm relaxing and and have time to actually recognize and embrace that processing, I find that I have more in common with my friend from Second Avenue in January. I could be completely obsessed with a plastic bag. Or a mangled tape measure, or an abandoned bra. When you stop and process, the ordinary easily becomes extraordinary.

I built myself a bouquet in my mind riding the bike home from Helga today. Queen Anne's Lace, horsetails, bracken fern, morning glories, and wild daisies. More commonly known to northwest horticulturists as weedus obnoxiousus.

Who else could take you from a lonely bra to horsetails?

Back to Friday Afternoon in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Monday, September 8, 2008

On-line Shopping

Today I learned one can pay traffic fines on-line.

I learned this not as a research result, but out of unfortunate necessity. A few weeks ago, I was having a "Monday". My "Monday" included oversleeping, missing my bus, and an encounter with a very nice county deputy hiding behind blackberry bushes with his radar gun.

Since I have only received two speeding tickets in my life, and my normal auto speed is somewhere between Jeff Gordon and bat-out-of-hell, I consider this justice karma.

I kind of forgot about the little green slip of paper in my wallet until Rob walked in with one of his own this weekend, not for speeding, but for failure to wear his seatbelt. That's not really justice karma, Rob does wear his seatbelt, but like me, he doesn't put it on until he's done backing out of his parking space. Getting busted for not putting your seatbelt on until after you're done backing out of your parking space signifies that Friday was a slow day in law-law land.

Anyway, point being, it says right on the tickets that they must be paid within 15 days. Hmmm. Better check out my ticket. Don't want any bored cops deciding to hunt me down for being a scofflaw like my mother. Uh oh. My ticket needs to be paid today.

While frantically trying to get driving instructions to the Court, I found that they conveniently accept on-line payments. Very cool, because I was going to be late for Helga if I had to drive down there.

I even got the polite little email confirmation message when I was done "thank you for your purchase". Purchase? What the hell? I didn't "purchase" anything. Trust me, I could've "purchased" a bottle of perfume and a pair of shoes with that fine. That's the kind of "purchase" I appreciate being thanked for.

At least I didn't have to fasten my seatbelt to get my fine paid.

Imaginary Friends

I'm back-

I see one of my fictional characters took over the blog while I was at the lake this weekend. She's named Nat (gnat) for a reason!

I live with an entire cast of characters in my head. Little personalities, constantly badgering me. I'm sure its probably bad form to admit that one hears voices, but they've been around in some shape or another since I was about four years old, and they haven't sent me on a crime spree yet.

Until now. I'm getting ready to kill one of them. Fictionally, of course, not literally. Can you literally kill a fictional character? Hang on, I've just managed to confuse the heck out of myself.

Anyway. In order to write the book, somebody's gotta go. Maybe a couple of somebodies. Imaginary friends will disappear. That part is actually okay. They've come and gone since I was a kid. But I don't think that I have any murderers conveniently lurking in the shadows of my mind. The cast doesn't currently include a handy-dandy psychopath.

So I have to create one. You'd think, that with almost forty years of experience creating characters it wouldn't be that hard. Then I have to get to know that person. Get inside their head. Grow them up from childhood to understand their motivations. All of a sudden I have a lot more respect for Thomas Harris.

What are YOU doing this week?

Saturday, September 6, 2008



I’m Natalie McDuffy, and I’m taking over Jenn And The City today. I’m “Nat” to my friends, and “Duff “ to people who haven’t learned any better yet.

Since I graduated culinary school, I’ve lived and worked in Southern California. If you watch the Epicurious network on cable at all, you’ve probably seen my show “Vegetarian Victuals”. When I’m not shooting VV, I work at the world famous restaurant Maximillan’s By The Sea in L.A. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good steak as well as the next girl, but the vegetarian gig was the only programming slot available, and I needed the job. Now it’s the most-watched program on the network. Wouldn’t you know?

So now I’m a closet carnivore, living with my two dogs in Venice Beach.

Make that “was” living in Venice Beach.

Last night I got one of those middle of the night phone calls. You know, the ones that make you sit bolt upright in bed, trying to catch your breath, your heart hammering in your chest, and adrenaline surging through your fingers because you know something must be terribly wrong? Problem was, I couldn’t sit bolt upright in bed because Dandy the dog was lying across my chest. Under the covers. His sister Fine was on top of the covers, curled up in a little ball on my feet. Between the two of them, I couldn’t have sat upright if the apartment had been on fire.

Fortunately, my cell phone was within reach. And I recognized the ring tone. Certain people in your life, for various reasons, warrant their own ring tone. My twin sister was one of them.

This had better be good.

“Nic. What’s wrong?”

My sister’s voice sounded fragile and shaky, although that was normal when she called my Horizon cell phone. She still lives in the official Middle of No-where on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, and the small town where we grew up finally got a stop-light last year. Cable t.v. and cell phone reception haven’t made it yet.

“Nat?” Crackle, fzzzz, staticky sounds

“Yes, Nic what’s wrong?”

Fzzzttt “Jake” crackle, crackle “waitress” crack fzzzzzzt “alone” fzzzzzzttttt “kids” sssssstttttt “need help up here”.

“Nic, I can’t hear you. Is something wrong with Jake or the kids?”

Fzzzzzttttttt “Jake’s a stupid bastard and the kids are fine”

“Nic, stop right where you are, I can hear you now. What’s going on?”

Crackle, ffffzzzzttt, crackle.

I sighed and tried to heave 65 pounds of sleeping whippet off my body so I could get up and see if the reception was any better in the living room. The apartment’s pretty small, but it’s not that small, and it has a great view of the ocean if you stick your head out the bathroom window. With the success of VV, I could probably afford better now, but I hadn’t gotten around to it. Too busy.

It wasn’t until I got to the kitchen that Nic’s voice came through clearly enough for me to understand her issue.

“Nat, Jake’s gone. He ran off with one of the waitresses, and left me here with the kids to manage this place alone. I need help.”

Some twins know what the other is thinking and feeling without having to exchange words. Not so Nic and I. We actually need modern conveniences, such as Horizon Wireless, to communicate.

But that doesn’t mean we aren’t close, and if one of us needs help, the other is always just a phone call and some static away.

Which is why it’s now 3 a.m. and I’m driving up I-5 in my SUV with a hastily packed suitcase, and two very confused, sleepy whippets.

I'll log on again when I get there.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Rest of My Life: Day 1

Today is the Big Day. My first official part-time day. Here I sit, at my computer, with my coffee, trying to decide what writing project to tackle first. I can:

a) plot book
b) outline Dogs In Canada article
c) do some marketing
d) do laundry

I have to remember that I'm technically not "off work". I'm simply self-employed. That lets out laundry - no one's ever going to pay me for doing laundry. :-)

I really should work on the Dogs article.

But I don't wanna. I like the book better. It's more fun, more frivolous, more creative. More me.

And it's all about me these days.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Can You Hear Me Now?

I had planned to update the blog each day from our trip to Pennsylvania, but the “best laid plans” are just that. Plans. Nice theories. Looks good on paper, not so much in real life.

First of all, who knew it would be difficult to get cel phone service 45 minutes from the Philadelphia airport? Limited cel phone means I can’t use the blackberry as a modem, so that means I’m offline unless I can find Wi-Fi. In Amish country.

Frankly, the entire long weekend zipped by at whippet speed. What do I remember?

  • Detroit has an ugly airport
  • Karen is a lovely hostess and a wonderful cook.
  • Eastern Pennsylvania is BEAUTIFUL. I was constantly captivated by all the local flora and fauna.
  • Old cemeteries hold the same fascination as dog pedigrees and maps. We walked Karen’s dogs to the old cemetery next door to her house and spent a nostalgic hour visiting half-buried grave markers and re-creating their history.
  • Foxes don’t smell nice.
  • The Amish have their own romance novels.
  • Four women who’ve had a bit of wine and are up WAY past their bed-time putting trophies together can get very silly indeed.
  • Be careful what you wish for; asking your Northwest guests to “please bring some rain” because the race-track is dry guarantees that your match show participants will drown.
  • There is nothing quite like getting a chance to visit with good friends you rarely get to see.
  • There is also nothing quite like making new friends and getting to know better people that you’ve only had passing acquaintance with.
  • Catchers at East Coast race meets call their dogs all through the race.
  • West Coast line judges find this odd.
  • Spending an entire day outside in a humid climate does weird things to your hair and leaves YOU not smelling nice.
  • Sometimes a cold shower is a GREAT thing.
  • Groin pulls hurt really badly.
  • Little, tiny flying ants/gnats are NOT in danger of extinction.
  • Neither are cicadas
  • Tiercel Whippet from Washington got three ARX points at Sunday’s race. Yay Tiercel!
  • Tiercel and his mom and sister had to fly home via Houston with Hurricane Gustav on Monday. We are very glad that they had a safe and uneventful flight.
  • If you miss the sign that says “Delaware Welcomes You”, you will not know you’re in another state.
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul has a great airport.
  • There is no place like home!

    Many thanks to everyone (especially Karen and her family) for making us feel so welcome. We had a wonderful time!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Talking in my Sleep

For those of you patiently waiting for a blog update, please just bear with me.

I'm the girl who doesn't even do daylight savings time very well, and the time difference from East to West coast puts me into a tailspin. On top of that, I've had to drag my butt out of bed and go into the office yesterday and today.

We had great fun, and I'm sure there's a great blog coming out of it, but until my brain adjusts it's not going to make it here.

And tonight I have Helga. Things could get ugly.
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Jenn and the City

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Thanks Patience!

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