Monday, November 24, 2008

Arts and Sciences

I have at least a masters degree in Thanksgiving. Granted I've only played hostess twice, but I love this holiday. If I'm at home and in charge, it is one of my favorites.

Food, football, and family. And a moment in time when it isn't mushy or weird to actually be grateful for things we should be grateful for, but usually we're too busy spiraling through life at warp speed to stop and think.

Thanksgiving dinner here is both an art and a science. I adore the challenge of getting a full meal on the table without effort, and finding time to watch football as well.

I do cheat a little. My mother brings salad and my step-father makes pie. This is good, because making pie would a) give me hives and b) my step-father makes the world's BEST pie.

Along with salad and pie, we'll have ham and turkey, two kinds of stuffing, and homemade cranberry sauce and homemade dinner rolls. And mashed potatoes and yams. It is Rob's birthday too, so there will Angel Food cake with Very Expensive Fresh Raspberries and whipped cream. (Rob really needed an August birthday...)

I am not obsessive-compulsive, but for Thanksgiving I keep notes and directions. I attack it in true Business Analyst fashion, there's a project plan, and lessons learned each year. I record the number of people fed, the size of the turkey, progress notes on how it cooked, and whether the oven was gas or electric (depending on where I lived).

So I have no stress over this holiday. No pressure from Hallmark or Macy's. This holiday is a game to be played, a challenge to meet, and a chance to be unabashedly thankful.

And I am thankful for all that I have.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Today on Fourth Avenue

Commuting shouldn't be so complex. It should just be about getting to and from work. But, in true Jenn And The City fashion, I can make a cluge (new word, must use) out of my commuting options.

Normally, I take the train into downtown. It's convenient, clean, comfortable, the people are boring and the scenery is unparalleled. I can get wifi and actually do work while the Sounder whistles and clangs past the whitecaps and herons along Puget Sound.

Pffffui. Enough of the suburban, don't make eye-contact with your neighbor BS. Such is the world of the train.

However, I have a love/hate relationship with the bus. The bus is noisy and bumpy. One has questionable seatmates. The woman this morning couldn't stop fidgeting. Another fellow, obviously drunk, lost control of bodily functions. The juvenile with the skull cap and skateboard yesterday was a model passenger. Taking the bus means I get to hang out on Fourth Avenue. Mind you, taking the train means hanging out near Pioneer Square and Jackson Street, supposedly the "seedier" part of town. By the mission, and homeless shelters and gangs. But they've got nothing on Fourth Avenue bus stops.

Today on Fourth Avenue, the Po-Lice were kindly evicting a woman from the "W" Hotel bar. I like the "W" Hotel bar. It's a high class establishment, normally without law enforcement, and they have great wasabi peas and make a mean Manhattan. This is Mercedes and Maserati country. The European cars have a mandatory exit before they get as far south as Jackson.

So I was waiting for the bus as the po-lice were quietly removing Stephanie from the "W" bar. I was there before they went in, and I overheard the highly classified po-lice discussion that they expected Stephanie to be no trouble.

Ha. Stephanie decided to create a Scene.

This is Fourth Avenue! Stephanie turned out to be one of "us". Right down to her designer boots and her Cosmo magazine. When one of "us" decides to make the po-lice miserable, the homeless and drug-addled have no chance to even weigh in on the scale.

As a front-row ticket-holder to the Scene, I am now aware that Stephanie feels that the cops are a bunch of motherf^$%)*rs. She seems to have the same opinion of her cheatin' son of a b!tch husband. I got to be front row because Stephanie stopped right next to me on her way out of the bar and chose to have her dialog with the po-lice while standing right next to me. I don't dare move. Stephanie's not a threat to me, but she's enough on the edge that I don't want to distract Officer Friendly confronting her.

So here we are, me waiting for the bus on Fourth Avenue, Stephanie, who just wants the world to go away and leave her alone, the cops, who are just trying to do their job, and passersby, staring in wonderment at the daily spectacle.

And then the bus arrived. Stephanie went to Harborview for a mental evaluation, the po-lice handled the situation with dignity and grace, the "W" bar welcomed its normal happy hour crowd of VIPs and business sorts, and I went home.

Just another day on Fourth Avenue. The train got nothin' on this cluge.

Monday, November 10, 2008

B.W.I. The Tragic Results....

Apple Oatmeal Bread this weekend after consuming a few glasses of Pinot Grigio:

Yes, that's the whole loaf, with the top slice cut off. I.Think.I.Forgot.The.Flour......

The sober version. Some improvement, and I know I remembered the flour. Martha will not be calling soon....

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Christmas Comes But Once a Year....

....starting right around mid-October, and lasting until January. Or so the Big Three Conspiracy (Hallmark, Target, and Macy's) would have us believe.

I'm a hold-out. I steadfastly eschew all thing Christmas until the proper time of the season, right around the 23rd of December. If I hear a Christmas Carol before Thanksgiving (particularly Carol of the Bells, which I love - AT CHRISTMASTIME - take that, Garmin) I will hold my hands over my ears and sing the theme song to The Flintstones to drown it out.

But today, at my local beloved supermarket, I found something that even a Grinch like me could love. Right next to the Bad Elf Lager and the Lump of Coal Stout, I found a holiday beer I had to buy. A great white porter. Called:

That's right. "Santa's Butt". Gotta have it.

Sunday Scenes About Town...

At a housing development called "The Falls". While I'm sure the dish soap isn't environmentally friendly, it does bring a much needed sense of humor to suburbia.

This photo didn't turn out so well. But if you look closely, this tree has about 20 pairs of shoes stewn throughout its branches on the left side. It's a shoe tree!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Word of the Day: Whippet (for Amelia Bedelia)

Sometimes, Jenn And The City refers to whippets. For our non-dog speaking readers, I'll attempt to describe a whippet.

Whip-pet: any of a breed of small swift slender dogs used for coursing small game and racing

That's according to Mr. Webster. Very unsatisfactory, really. I must speak to those people. To Do List #3,428.67 - write letter to Merriam-Webster on-line. Right.

Let us try the American Whippet Club breed standard.

A medium size sighthound giving the appearance of elegance and fitness, denoting great speed, power and balance without coarseness.
Well, yes.

That's true.

I think maybe a JATC description might be in order.

Dog resembling a small greyhound, unable to resist anything soft and fuzzy.

Particularly if it moves:

(No worries, that's not a real "bunny")

Capable of bursts of energy,

and highly successful counter raids.

But their best skill......

Anytime, anywhere....

is sleeping.

(hope that answers your question, Amy.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Strike F7 to Continue...

Yes, it's true, I've been neglecting the blog. It's tired of eating reheated Domino's meat lovers for dinner, and it really wants it's litter box changed. It's going barefoot because it has no clean socks, and

......"hey, there's a speed limit in the living room, you guys"........

Part of the problem is that a whippet chased a cat across my laptop, resulting in the loss of several keys. I managed to surgically re-attach everything the but the F7, and F8's looking a little crooked.

Also, since going back to work full time for the month of November, I just don't have the energy to address to the blog. The creative side to my brain shuts down after 12 hours of trying to help keep a health insurance company from generally imploding. But that is really just an excuse.

And then yesterday I had the stomach flu. Now there's a good time. I've decided, though, that the worst part of being sick is "the morning after". Just like my "real" job, everything at home is also just like I left it when I first got sick, only with additional crap piled on top. The kitchen is scary, and the laundry room even scarier. We have no clean bowls or spoons.

My family is missing its F7 key. Better get to it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

For The Daily Blonde - Tips for living with teen-age boys

Cheryl at The Daily Blonde is celebrating Zach's thirteenth birthday and wondering what life with a teen-age boy will be like. This happens to be the only "kid" subject about which Jenn And The City has any particular authority. My tips:

1. Food. Yes, they eat everything in sight, and sometimes stuff that is questionably called food. EXCEPT. When your local supermarket puts their favorite cereal on sale and you buy five boxes of Cap'n Crunch, they will come home that night and announce that they've decided to eat healthy, and could we get some granola....

2. Skateboarding. Wait till they trade that in on a quad and a jet ski. The same tricks that give you heart failure with the skateboard take on aneurism proportions when you add a motor.

3. Skateboarding Part II. Driving. You think you have trouble sleeping now...

4. Sleeping. This doesn't change, it only gets more aggravating. Nick can sleep with cat on his head and whippet feet crammed into the small of his back. He doesn't even wake up to let Nike under the covers.

5. Hair. At 16 it's evolved back to the buzz cut. The good part about that is that I can do it at home for free. (Tip #236 - the front porch is the perfect spot for buzz cuts. Easy to clean up all the fuzz bunnies.)

6. Music. See Driving. It only gets louder.

7. Maple syrup. Get a dog. They love the stuff, and will clean it up anywhere, including the plate that's been petrifying in the bedroom for three weeks.

8. Hugs. Fortunately, they don't seem to out-grow this one. And they do get less self-conscious about it.

Happy Birthday to Zach.

Jenn and the City

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