Saturday, May 2, 2009

Jenn And The City Has Moved

Effective immediately, you may find us here

http://jennandthecity.net/

There is still some development going on, but there are also pages devoted to my other endeavors, which may be of interest.

I will make arrangements on that page so you may subscribe to that blog just like you do here.

Herb Horrors and Tomato Trauma

Friday dawned beautiful and sunny here North of the Space Needle. Yet, despite my Thursday trek to Fred Meyer to purchase seedling herbs, baby patio tomatoes, peppers and enough dirt to create my own mountain range, my thumb was not green.


I tried guilt, which usually works. “If you don’t plant them, they will die. That will be wasteful.” This tactic just succeeded in making me all stressed out about my lack of motivation.


I tried justification. “I can do this tomorrow, when Rob is about to watch the puppy”. Never mind, Rob is not home tomorrow. I simply do not know what is wrong with my motivation. Part of my current anxiety issues seem tied up in motivation, a tangle of blackberry brambles that don’t come un-stuck and stab you when attempt to get involved with them.


Finally I set up Morgan’s ex-pen, popped in some toys, got my shovel and my Big Ole Bag of Dirt and started working. Now, Big Ole Bag of Dirt comes with its own story. I pride myself on my ability to sling a 40# bag of dogfood like it was Styrofoam. So a Big Ole Bag of Dirt from Home Depot, no es problema, macha chica. But let me just ‘splain something Lucy – 2 cu. ft. of potting soil weighs just over 56#. And it is dead weight. Practically impossible to manipulate. I put on my Jenn And The City cowboy boots and got out my lariat and wrassled that baby into the bottom of my cart. Lipstick running, mascara halfway down the face, and sweat pouring from the roots of my hair, but we got that baby in the cart in 8 seconds. Okay, maybe 8 minutes.


So back to my herb garden. I get the brick tiers set up, I dig out the old dirt, I open Big Old Bag of Dirt and start to fill in the tiers. Bottom tier (curry, thyme, dill, oregano and rosemary) go in no problem. Second tier (chives, lavender, cilantro) mostly go in fine. Except we run out of, wait for it, Big Old Bag of Dirt.


Back to Home Depot. Much, much smarter. This time I get TWO Big Old Bags of Dirt. And I do my hair and wear a low cut shirt. Batting eyelashes at Hot Young Man, “please do you think you could help me with some Big Old Bags of Dirt”? Ah Ha! So this is how it’s done. Dirt loaded into cart and delivered and loaded to car by Hot Young Man. Much, much, easier.


Back at home, tier three is easily pulled together (sage and basil). Then I put together my veggie pots. I grow tomatoes on the patio, no because I like tomatoes, but because I like how the plants smell. Same with the curry in the herb garden, hate curry, love how the plant smells. Two patio tomatoes and one green pepper later, the patio pots are deck-ready. They bask happily in the sun until I glance out the window. Tara is happily uprooting one of the tomatoes, chewing the stem and throwing the corpse off the deck. Much screaming (me) and chaos (whippets) ensues. Whippets are confined inside until I can whippet-proof the tomatoes. An elaborate burial for the deceased tomato is hosted by the yard compost bin. A spare jalapeno takes its place in the tomato pot. And now my patio garden looks like this.

Today I’m supposed to put in wildflowers, sunflowers, and arnica. But it’s dawning cloudy and cool. And I have no motivation.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Turning On The Sun

A cold and stormy spring has been
Our legacy this year
Inclimate from west to east
From Halifax to here

My baby puppy raised in rain
Is content to play inside
My younger girl’s insane to run
When Environment Canada lied

But my old grey veteran is sad
Summer has not begun
My sweet old man just simply wants
Me to turn on the Sun

Another cloudy day has dawned
He goes out in the run
But the dark brown eyes that see my soul
Say “Mom, turn on the Sun”

For you, my man, I’d do anything
To make your life a happy one
But I have no way to tell you
I cannot turn on the Sun

It’s summer now, the sky is blue
The young whips frolic and run
Nike reclines upon his chaise lounge
And his eyes thank me for the Sun

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Oda to Hoda

Okay, so I'm on Facebook. Me and most of the rest of the world. Facebook allows you to keep in touch with people you know and select to be your "friends". I'm apparently not very popular, cuz I only have 105 "friends", most of whom I barely know, but that's okay.

You can also become "fans" of popular cultural figures, events and causes. And, sigh, though I'm also a fan of Gerald Durrell, Amelia Earhart, Grace Kelly, and Jasper Fford, it's the Hoda & Kathie Lee thing that I end up taking heat for.

"Get a life" I get told. "You really need to get out of the house more". Apparently it isn't chic or vogue or something to like Today Show hostesses of my own age who manage to alternatively entertain, annoy, or just plain crack you up. Or maybe I just need new friends.

My real reason for becoming a fan has to do primarily with Hoda. (Sorry Kathie Lee). Hoda and I both went through a serious illness at the same time. While we both had the support of loving families, we did not have families of our "own", or significant others who gave support and a shoulder. We both listened to Jo Dee Messina over and over on our car radio. And we both came away from our illness older, wiser, and changed by a sense of the value of life. That message to always move forward aids me now as I battle another serious illness. We do not take things for granted, Hoda and I. She gave me strength when I needed it most, and continues to do so. I am grateful to her for sharing her story with me, and the rest of the world. So, yes, I am a fan of Hoda.

We both also love a great glass of wine. It's eleven o'clock somewhere.

PS - click the "Pink Ribbons" box on this blog to support mammograms for women in need.

Wednesday


It will be a quiet day at Jenn And The City. Wednesday is house-cleaning day. And drawing day. And I may try to market some more articles. I need to find rocks for my herb garden and get the herbs in, as well as put in sunflowers and my wildflower garden.


A quiet, pleasant, domestic sort of day.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Toy Story


I'm not a mommy, remember? Blogged about that previously. However, yesterday I spent the day at home with the "kids". Three dogs, two cats, and a goldfish. I cleaned up one "accident" (on the carpet), one cup of spilled coffee (on the carpet), two regurgitated blobs of grass and rawhide (on the carpet). I rescued two socks and a slipper from a Fargo-like demise by puppy teeth. We went through one entire roll of paper towels. I broke up three games of puppy bowling. I vacuumed up half a box of kitty litter that one or the other of the cats decided to remove from the box. I saved Stan from becoming Morgan's next chew toy. And I picked up approximately 39 dog toys and returned them to the toy box. Six times. I begin to see the charm of a Barney video.

In my spare time, I did five loads of laundry, poop scooped the yard, made chicken for dinner, got the puppy his lunch, prevented Tara and Nike from eating his lunch, prepared the family calendar for the next two months, played frisbee with Tara, continued work on my website, submitted five article queries, and wrote a blog and a poem.


Thank God Ringo stayed out of trouble. I don't think I could have managed a fish emergency.


And, I supervised when Morgan discovered "Nick's Room". "Nick's Room" is suppposedly off limits to the menagerie when Nick isn't home. And I draw the line at cleaning in there. Too scary. Remember "Sid's Room"? From the Toy Story movie? "Nick's Room" gives it a run for its money.
















I'm calling in sick today. Oh wait. Never mind.







So Much For My Vacation Plans

I'm SO disappointed. I cannot go nude hiking in the Swiss Alps anymore. One used to be able to do so, apparently a popular activity with German tourists, but the politically correct and clothing-obsessed Swiss have put a ki-bosh on the activity. These are the same people who brought us fine chocolate, first-class time-keeping devices, and a banking system that is the envy of the world. Isn't Switzerland also the home of peaceful neutrality?


Well, yes. But only if you're dressed.


The fine for hiking with only boots and socks is roughly $176 US dollars. But what if I wanted to hike in my bulletproof bra and Vickie's Secret boy shorts? Would the Swiss object?


Suspiciously, the state in Switzerland imposing this ban, Appenzell, voted in their public square by a show of hands. Now I have a theory here. I think someone should check and see if the Wenger and Victorinox people were in town. Because they're the folks with the bias. Could extortion be at work? Did the citizens of Appenzell have their sensibilities influenced under duress? I think an investigation in order.


Wenger and Victorinox need people to have pockets. Or at least a belt, in order to use their product. Because no good hiker leaves home without their Swiss Army Knife. And hiking nude with a swiss army knife just can't be a good idea.





Sunday, April 26, 2009

No Blog For You Today

Because I am whippet racing in Canada. Or, more accurately, the Tara-rizer is training to race, Morgan the Bold is enjoying some bonding time with his litter-brother, Cruz, and I am line-judging the race meet. Nikeinstein stayed home with Rob.

And, as usual, Environment Canada lied again. It's been bleeping cold. Yesterday afternoon did manage to be sunny and pleasant, just about the time we finished up. At least it isn't SNOWING!

Hopefully today will be warmer.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Borborygmus & Other Things My Nephews Love



It has come to my attention that y-chromosome blessed humans enjoy a peculiar sense of humor when it comes to what we shall call "bodily functions".



I envy this. I really do. Can you imagine how delightful the world would be if every fart cracked you up? Or to be so fortuitous as to be able to belch the alphabet? These gifted individuals are the Andy Warhols of the ESPN set.



I can't even whistle. Appropos of nothing relevant here.



This brings us to the case of a West Virgina man, originally pulled over for a broken headlight and smelling of alcohol, who was further charged with battery after farting in the direction of the cop who administered the breathalyzer test.



According to the MSNBC story, all involved originally remained true to their genetic predispositions and found the matter hysterically funny. For some reason, however, the police later decided that the incident in question was actually insulting and provoking and brought the battery charge. Perhaps the suspect was unable to belch the alphabet into the breathalyzer. Andy would have understood the fleeting nature of such success. Borborygmus will only get you so far.

Borborygmus - noun: A rumbling noise caused by the movement of gas through the intestines.
I have nothing further. My tummy is rumbling.




Thursday, April 23, 2009

Underwires - Not Just for Support Anymore

I've always needed underwire bras. And I hate them. Lets face it sisters; bras aren't exactly winning any comfort awards regardless of construction, and adding a support wire contrived of what suspiciously looks like piano wire doesn't help. Later in life, when I started test-driving for Victoria's Secret I still required underwires, but since my 35 year old boobs looked darn near perfect in them, I could put up and shut up. Never mind that wearing an underwire bra is a bit like undergoing a 20-year mastectomy without anesthesia. No worries about breast cancer here! In a few more years they'll have been amputated by the coping saw blade-like wire and be gone. Stiletto heels fall into this category too. Yes, I could quite possibly fall into the nearest storm drain and break my leg, but dammit, my calves rock!


Note to the diva readership - should you ever need to know what a coping saw is, it's the one that has a blade resembling bra underwire.


The actual point here is a Reuters news article yesterday informing all us underwire slaves that the boob hanger actually does credible double duty as body armor. A woman in Detroit (where body armor is not a bad idea) was saved from perhaps fatal injury when a bullet struck the underwire of her bra. Apparently, her neighbors house was being robbed, and when she went to investigate, one of the robbers fired on her. She was saved from serious injury by, yes, the underwire in her bra.


Now first off, good thing she was wearing one. Due to aforementioned comfort issues, many of us shuck the bra first chance we get when we're home. (I'm just sayin...) My second question has to do with the brand of bra. Are we going to see ads for Maidenform, or Bali, or La Perla, touting the life-saving characteristics of their bras? "18 hour support AND deflects most calibers of handguns". Sports bras, notoriously absent in the underwire department may have to add them to keep up with modern marketing. Would an underwire sports bra have saved Monica Seles? Oh wait. She got stabbed in the back.


That's it. Comfort be damned. I'm ordering myself a chain mail bra. Ain't no gangsta out there gonna take me out because I got a wimpy lace bra. This model ought to do.



Just two more things: Take a moment to click on my icon that donates free mammograms to women in need.

And, please visit http://www.brarecycling.org/index.html- This is a terrific program to recycle gently used bras to women in shelters and safe houses.



Karisma and Kids: A puppy post and a talent show!

I'm sorry, but Karisma has the second cutest puppy on the planet....

Karisma and Kids: A puppy post and a talent show!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

NOT your Mommy-blog

I do admire bloggers who can label themselves. Mommy-bloggers, career bloggers, doggy bloggers, product bloggers - the list is infinite.

However, if you want the mommy-blog community, you'll be disappointed here. When I started, I was definitely Jenn and the City. I loved my commute to the land of sky scrapers, street people, upscale specialty stores, and back alley purveyors of everything imaginable. I loved shopping for Jimmy Choos and Nicole Miller. And I loved the homeless man who gave me his daffodil during the Spring Celebration. I looked forward to living with the Nike in a Belltown flat.
I am still Jenn and the City. I can still spend an hour ogling the spring line of Christian Louboutin and window shopping at Neiman Marcus. I can also spend another hour or so viewing Corin Hewitt at the SAM.
But life twists and turns, and I don't have life in the city anymore. I live in the middle of nearly nowhere. I have three dogs, two cats, a goldfish, post-traumatic stress disorder, a step-son and a car I can't back out of its parking spot without hitting the fence.
Some days I'm sure that none of this is particularly interesting or validating. No cute kid stories. No great back-stabbings from the water cooler. I have a clueless woodpecker that thinks he can get insects out of a metal light pole. I have a badly traumatized brain that understands where the woodpecker's coming from. But I do love to write, to draw, to create. And when it's allowed to surface, my brain is full of some pretty wacky unique stuff. I'm a published author, comedienne, artist and essayist. Not a mommy, but a 40ish modern woman, comfortable in my own skin (except when I'm wearing an itchy sweater) and I have a twisted take on just about everything.
So this is not a mommy blog. Not "The Office" blog. Not a doggy blog. Not always a funny blog. But I admire those who write such blogs - they are some of my favorites. In fact, like much of my life, this blog doesn't fit in a box. And I'm okay with that. New trails ablaze here. Since I've given up the rat race, I need to use my wit and my words to support myself. I've started that by getting published in a major magazine. (Woo Hoo, still leaping with joy!) I will continue with this blog. Find out what I'm doing. Soon (I hope) I'll be on radio. So tell your friends. Sign up people you don't know to get it by email. (If you can get stupid feedburner to work - it seems to have signed up my whole contact list without my consent.)

And btw I still product test for Victoria's Secret. While I pull the cat out of the dryer and burn the linguine prawns because I have to take the puppy out to potty. In my pearls and push-up Angels bra. Take that, soccer moms.




Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In Honor Of Earth Day

Tip - toe through the tulips. For the full effect, click the title when you're done...(she says, rubbing her hands together with evil glee.....)



















Ode to a Whippet Puppy

I used to have a family room, with fashionable décor.
Leather sofa, leather chair, a large t.v., and more.
There was a leather ottoman, destuffed by puppy past
But now my gracious family room is depreciating fast.

Where once the chairside table stood, the laundry basket rests
Dog toys litter floor space, where they are attacked with zest
The trash bin has moved up in life, to a better ‘hood
And I need to find new real estate for the wood stove wood.

The agent says the water bowl is really “water front”
I wish that Morgan wouldn’t use it for his kong toy hunt.
Did you know that a cat scratcher can be dragged all across the blue?
Until it became a substitute for a puppy loo.

I have no time for writing more
The laundry basket must move up a floor
Morgan has found my underpants
And with the Stars he’s trying to Dance

I love this hoodlum puppy sh*t
But eating my Victorias is going to give a fit
Oh, wait, now there’s a couch to munch
Just go ahead, my little friend, and have the chair for lunch

Monday, April 20, 2009

Channeling Sunset Boulevard

Move over Tyra my friend! In preparation for my Dogs in Canada article, a photographer is coming from New York to do a photo shoot.

For everyone who thinks modeling and photo shoots are G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S (do you hear Fergie singing? "Flouncy, Flouncy"), think again. Since the article is running in a summer issue, my clean, groomed self, and my clean, groomed dogs are going out on the beaches of Puget Sound pretending it is summer. In shorts and a tank top. Flip-flops. Mind you, the ice-breakers only left last week. With the weather we've been having, I wouldn't be surprised to get hit with snow, sleet, hail, or locusts.
I shall have to wear a tank-top and shorts and channel a beautiful summer day. And sunglasses. How'm I supposed to find a geocache wearing sunglasses in April? This article is running in a Canadian publication for chrissake. The land of hockey and ice fishing. I should think July is anorak weather. Can't I wear a toque? (That's "hat" for our American listeners).

My photographer, who is immensely talented and works for many high-profile glossy publications is EXACTLY the career-connection I need to have. We'd like to make a good impression. I doubt she'll understand when my dogs refuse to get out of the car without gore-tex and fleece.

Wish me well. I'm ready for my close-up. It had darn well better earn me enough to support my shoe fetish.
(Editorial note - there's now a link near the top of the page where you can sign up for email notifications every time the blog is updated. I already signed up some of you, because, well, I'm a shameless publicity hog..... :-) )




Sunday, April 19, 2009

Reflections on pain, gender, and whippet monsters

I once (moons ago) went to my doctor, complaining of dizziness and nausea. So severe I could barely walk. Convinced that I must have St. Vitus Dance, the Black Plague, or at the very least, E-coli, I staggered into the exam room and threw up in the Hazardous materials bin. Very clever of me, considering my eyes couldn't focus enough to read. I thought it said "Toss Cookies Here".


Upon examination, Dr. Who looked at me kindly and explained. "You have labyrinthitis". An inner ear infection. This diagnosis always brings to mind the Minotaur, and a rather trapped, claustrophobic feeling that does nothing to help my symptoms.

To the point, I've had labyrinthitis many times in my life. It's my answer to a sinus infection. The hell with sinuses, say my viruses, lets really f*ck her up and go for the ear. We can whack out balance, nausea, brain function, and head pain all in one full swoop. Truly, one would believe that after several billion doctor visits I'd be capable of self-diagnosis.

I mention this to my long-suffering doctor. "Why don't I remember?" I say. "You'd think I'd know what it is by now."

"Oh, that's easy" says Dr. Who. "It's because you're a woman." Say wha? I reach for the cell phone to call my lawyer, the ACLU, my friend Deb who will come kick his y-chromosome butt. Dr. Who sees my expression and hastens to explain before neutering without anesthesia commences. "Women are genetically programmed to forget pain - you're supposed to block physical discomfort. Otherwise no woman would ever have more than one baby."

True or not, this seems logical enough to take Deb off speed-dial. But I am reminded of his words this week. After six days of chasing a whirling dervish whippet puppy about the house, I wonder what on earth possessed me to subject myself to this draining and exhausting ritual again. And I wonder too, if my long suffering tolerance of other draining, exhausting, and often painful experiences in my life is inexorably woven with this phenomenon.

But then Morgan talks quietly in his sleep and curls closer under my arm. And I remember the words of Dr. Who, and I am grateful. The very thing that brings me the greatest pain also allows me the greatest joy. True or not, there is comfort there.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Morgan the Bunny Killer











Pharmaceutical Nirvana

Finally, finally, finally! We've found the right "eat me" from Alice. A drug I've taken previously in "baby" dose, now escalated to adult dosage. My doctor was reluctant at first, I tend to have a complicated and paradoxical relationship with most prescriptions. The effects range from "hey sistah, you want some of this rad aspirin - I sell cheap" to "valium, schmalium - what's the point". Interestingly, while on the new poison, I'm relaxed, ethereal and distracted externally, the internal brain is going a mile a minute, finding creativity and logical processing. So far, works for me. I'm comfortable in this skin. Except I'm still tired.

Loves ya!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Morgan The Bold

Myself, the cats, and Tara and Nike are In The House.

Not so Morgan. He deigned walls and roofs for a less sophisticated environment.








Jenn and the Walrus

Helps to know your Alice in Wonderland first.

With apologies to Lewis Carroll -

The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things. Of checked-out moms and poison schools, and bullies from cliche-y rings. And why no one was there for little me, so I grew my own wings.

The time has come, the walrus said, to remember things you've blocked. Like welts along your back from sticks, and hair pulled out your scalp. And being such the ugly kid your only choice was tramp.

The time has come, the walrus said, to find the wings you grew. They got you into college and away from the abuse. But wings require constant care, it's easy to lose the wind. So we find familiar life on land, and you find those paths again. You marry the weak bully, from the cliche-y ring, because that’s the safest that you know, that doesn’t need a wing.

The time has come, the walrus said, to re-live 13 years behind a veil, trying for perfection and at every step finding fail. The time has come to stop the search, for bodies every night. Has he killed himself, at best, but taken my dogs in spite? The time has come, the walrus said, to leave that guilt tonight.

The time has come, the walrus said, to find the wings again, to write, to draw, to laugh and smile. To splash through puddles, hear their song, and stretch and breathe and soar.

The time has come, the walrus said, to allow yourself to tear. To let the doctors offer help, though painful to bear. We will try this EMDR thing, to process what holds me back, in hopes that someday soon the walrus and I can find a single track.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More Morgan...

Morgan - being "Tara"-rized.
But don't feel too sorry...

I am Morgan The Evil...


Take that!

Look here, evil puppy - that's enough out of you.


What's that you said Tara?


Every good fight needs a referee.


Open wide, say Ah.


Look here, you bugger, I'm BIGGER than you are.






































Nike Unfinished



I gotta figure out a better way of posting these. They don't reproduce well by taking a photo of the drawing.

Togetherness...

Imagine, if you will, a couch (or sofa, davenport, divan, whatever it is you call your furniture). A standard size couch, with three cushions. The far right cushion holds the decorative pillows. The middle cushion contains the Nikester, covered by a blanket, and my knee and elbow.

The laptop sits atop a pillow on my knee. I'm sitting on the far left cushion, with Morgan on my lap, and Tara has managed to squish herself between me and the left arm of the couch. Nike's head is in my lap with Morgan, Morgan's head is on Tara, and I don't know where Tara's head is. In fact, I don't know if she can even breathe. I assume she's alive down there.

I'm using Nike's butt as my mouse pad. The ergonomics of this arrangment are clearly appalling, and I can't say it's really comfortable physically, but we are all happy.

Except my right foot. It's asleep.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Morgan the Brave

Today we're welcoming a new addition to the household. Whimsy's Swiftsure Pyrat Pistol came home with me last night. Also known more commonly to his fans as Morgan the Brave. He's a beautiful, beautiful whippet puppy. It has been eight years since I had a baby puppy. Amazing how much you forget, and how much comes back to you. I guess it's like riding a bike. And he is brave. This morning he tried to climb in the dishwasher. He thinks the fridge is cool. (no pun intended) He thinks cats are very strange dogs indeed. His greatest wish is to be able to climb Mount Sofa with the other dogs. It will come eventually.


For now, he's Morgan the Tired...


Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Creative Idea....

Anyone out there want to help me out and give me some writing subjects? You give me subject, I write a blog about it.

Instant cure for the dreaded WB!

As The Bunny Turns

I'm no better off this morning than I was last night - I still have horrific writer's block and I still have nothing to say.

The only way through this is to just keep writing, even if it's inane ramblings. Anyone looking for a profound commentary today should probably click the "next blog" button at the top of the page.

Of course, anyone looking for "profound" probably isn't a regular reader of this blog anyway.

Today Tara is going lure coursing. She gets to run by herself in two stakes at the LMWA event in Canada. Tara's done plenty of straight course work, but she's never been lure coursing. She doesn't know yet that the bunny is going to turn corners. I wish I was going to be close enough to see her expression when the bunny turns and keeps going.

Hopefully the weather holds. There's nothing like coursing and racing in the rain. Here we are last weekend.

Indeed, that is snow falling on our race meet.

No thank you!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

All Play and No Work....

There is absolutely nothing interesting happening. I have severe writer's block.

Clearly I need to go back to work. Hanging at home is boring.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ring Around The Collar

Dear Blog:

Blogline March 10, 2009 - 1:51 p.m.
Okay, who the hell is the crazy Canadian who found the blog by searching Google for "Wal-mart Truck Carrying Guillotines"? I gotta go try that for myself. Can you buy guillotines at Wal-mart? And why would you want to? Going to a costume party as Marie Antoinette and want a prop? I'm so confused.

Blogline March 10, 2009 - 1:05 p.m.
Where does all this laundry come from anyway? I have a theory that laundry reproduces itself in the hamper, or in Nick's case, on his bedroom floor. It does this to make up for the fact that the dryer periodically eats socks, and in my case, the occasional pair of jeans or shoes.

Every time I turn around, more laundry.

I wouldn't mind if it reproduced better than itself. If some Dolce & Gabbana or Prada, for example, were to show up in the basket, I'd be okay with that. But noooooo. I get men's t-shirts that say "Nike" or "Adidas" or "If You Don't Like My Attitude, Quit Talking To Me".

Obviously I need a new breeding program for the dirty clothes. Maybe if I went out and actually purchased some D&G or DKNY I would get better progeny. I wonder what happens when you outcross Hanes with La Perla. I suppose you'd end up with really expensive boxer shorts.

Sounds like a great motive to go shopping, doesn't' it? There's a practical reason to go buy some new clothes...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Come Monday

Dear Blog:



Blogline, March 9, 2009 - 12:44 p.m.
Four inches of snow and it's still dumping on us. WTF? I talked Nick into bringing everything in the MH shower into the house. Gross. Cold, wet, muddy laundry. I don't even want to touch the cold, wet, muddy laundry.

Blogline, March 9, 2009 - 4:30 p.m.
Still snowing. My poor daffodils. Weather SUCKS!

Blogline, March 9, 2009 - 6:00 p.m.
Laundry done. I still have sand in my teeth. Nike refused to come in after dinner. He's standing out in the snow freezing his patootie off, all because he doesn't want his nails trimmed. We both need Xanax!

The Weather is Here.

Dear Blog:

Blogline March 8, 2009 - 9:30 a.m.

Some of us have hangovers. Not me. Still stiff and sore. We take one last ride in the rain out to the ocean. Ginormous swirling white waves and miles of beautiful sandy beach. I would probably have more appreciation for this gorgeous place if I wasn't Freezing To Death. My thumb is getting too numb to work the throttle. Back at camp, my solution to the wet muddy clothing problem is to throw everything in the MH shower and shut the door.

Blogline March 8, 2009 - 12:30 p.m.
On the road again. Hopefully, the trip home will be somewhat less eventful than the trip down.

Blogline March 8, 2009 - 1:00 p.m.
Rain

Blogline March 8, 2009 - 1:30 p.m.
Snow

Blogline March 8, 2009 - 2:00 p.m.
Sleet

Blogline March 8, 2009 - 2:30 p.m.
Sun

Blogline March 8, 2009 - 3:00 p.m.
More snow

Blogline, March 8, 2009 - 4:00 p.m.
Sun and hail together

Blogline, March 9, 2009 - 4:30 p.m.
Locusts. Oh, wait, that was the last trip to Oregon. Never mind.

Blogline, March 9, 2009 - 9:00 p.m.
Home. Finally. Whew! Great trip, beautiful scenery, and decent weather until today.

Rollin, Rollin, Rollin

Dear Blog:

Blogline, March 6, 2009 - 2:00 p.m.

Mental Note: Do not turn sideways while attempting to climb steep hills on ATV. You will fall off the quad on the downhill side, and the quad will land on top of you as it somersaults end over end down the hill. Getting run over by a rolling ATV hurts. Gravity sucks.

Blogline, March 6, 2009 - 7:00 p.m.

Hematoma not quite the size of Akron on side and shoulder where quad hit me. Still finding sand in my teeth. Advil not helpful. Yellowtail Pinot Grigio helpful. Thank God for helmets.

Blogline, March 7, 2009 - 8:30 a.m.

I feel like I was hit by a truck. Oh, yeah, I was hit by a rolling vehicle. Still have sand in my teeth. Got stuck on the same hill I rolled on yesterday. Tell Rob I need a quad with more power so I can make it up hills. I don't know why he just shakes his head and sighs.

Blogline, March 7, 2009 - 5:30 p.m.
The neighbors in the next camping space lose their dog. We search entire H loop of the campground looking for Deke the Lab.

Blogline, March 7, 2009 - 6:00 p.m.
Deke found sleeping in the back of the neighbor's truck.

Blogline, March 7, 2009 - 10:00 p.m.
Guys playing Risk and drinking Crown and Coke. Rob tries to roast marshmallow with his bare hands. I shake my head and sigh.

The Front Fell Off...

Dear Blog:

Blogline 3/4/2009 11:43 p.m. (just south of Portland, OR)

Val and Travis' ATV trailer has come apart on I-5. When I say "come apart" I literally mean two separate pieces - only the chains stopped it from coming off. Interesting to watch a trailer being dragged by only its chains at 55 mph. Lots of sparks, fishtailing, etc. Fortunately, Travis gets it pulled to the side of the road. There is no shoulder here, and semis are whizzing by a foot away. JR pulls up behind us and bungee straps the trailer to the truck so we can get it to the next exit. Redneck hitch!

Blogline 3/5/2009 1:30 a.m.
The plan is to rent a u-haul trailer to carry the broken trailer. We circle the wagons to spend the rest of the night in the U-haul parking lot. I've never camped in a U-haul parking lot before. There is a sign on the fence that says that "suspicious activity will be investigated by law enforcement". Since clearly we're suspicious, we spend the night waiting for the SWAT team to surround us. No one gets any sleep.

Blogline 3/5/2009 6:30 a.m.
We get up to greet the U-haul employees. Turns out their big trailers are only licensed to carry cars. Plan B - a mobile welder is called to come weld the trailer back together.

Blogline 3/5/2009 10:00 a.m.
Wal-mart, where we were planning to spend the night last night. We're just a bit behind schedule.

Blogline 3/5/2009 1:30 p.m.
Costco (Churros, lunch of champions!) Gas is only $1.87/gallon!

Blogline 3/5/2009 4:00 p.m.
Arrive Honeyman S.P. and set up camp. Can you say "exhausted"?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Blogline 3/4/09

Dear Blog:

Blogline - 9:30 am
I'm going to throw this laptop out a window in a minute if it doesn't behave. I wonder if there are obedience classes for computers, like there are for dogs. "Laptop, boot up Windows". I have an excellent idea for a hand signal for that command. :-)

Blogline - 1:00 pm
Question: How many times do I have to take "stuff" out to the motor home to get it ready for a four-day trip?
Answer: 42 (If you don't read Douglas Adams you won't get that).

Blogline - 6:30 pm
Waiting to depart. This place is worse than a freakin' airport. For those of you traveling on our scheduled 6:00 pm drive to Florence, with stops at Wal-mart, Costco and Florence, your drive has been delayed while waiting for some members of the crew to arrive home from work. We currently anticipate a 7:30 departure time, and we apologize for any inconvenience. For those of you who intended to change drivers or vehicles at Wal-mart or Costco, those arrangements will be duplicated to accomodate the later arrival. All drivers should attempt to get some sleep at this time, as we will not be arriving at Wal-mart until quite late this evening.

I hope I have wi-fi at the dunes. Y'all are going to miss me if I don't have wi-fi..

Blogline - 6:52 pm
Deb has sent me a picture of her new slippers. Rob doesn't understand this. Apparently guys would not think to send each other footwear photos. Strange. I don't understand.

Blogline - 7:00 pm
Ladies and Gentlemen: Your 6:30 drive to Wal-mart, Costco and Florence is now boarding at the motor home in the driveway. For passengers who have reserved sleeping accomodations in the rear of our craft, please note that there will be no top sheet for the first leg of our trip.

Uh, oh. Gotta go.....

Later, gators.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dear Blog: 3/3/2009

Blogline 10:30 am
Dear Blog-

Sorry I fell off the grid there for a bit. I've had a bad code. Cold. For two weeks. There ought to be a law about colds -- they're only allowed for a short time and then they have to go on, like visiting in-laws and jury duty. It is so totally inconvenient when they linger about for weeks and disrupt your schedule. It's not that you can't do anything, but you don't have enough time, effort or energy to do something.

Today I get to do something special. I get to go to the laundromat. Damn. I'm not even sure I can spell laundromat. (Thank God for spell check) Anyway, the motor home blankets don't fit in our washer.

Hopefully I don't get lost doing the laundry....

Blogline 3:29 pm
I did get lost doing the laundry! Went to the Fred Meyer complex, and then remembered that I was supposed to go there after I did the laundry. Turned around, got back on highway, focused on LAUND....CRAP! Where the hell? I'm half-way through the valley headed for the hills, on my merry way south. My sub-conscious self felt the need to migrate? That's probably not it. Probably I'm just not entirely functional when I'm alone yet. Wait for the day when I phone from Belize. Ugh. On a brighter note, I didn't contemplate driving the car into a tree. It's always a good day when you can drive without masochism.

However: Note to self. Eating half a bag of FM jelly beans is a Bad Idea. Check and see if there is a Jelly Beans Anonymous group to join. I wonder if you can jelly bean yourself to death. I bet there's not an ICD-9 code for that. Note to others: there is an ICD-9 code for death by guillotine. Seriously. Okay, can you say "sugar buzz"?

Blogline 4:30 pm
Damn. I knew I'd forget something at the grocery store. $200 worth of groceries to feed four people for four days, and I forgot the pesto. At least I remembered the jelly beans....

Also, that laundry I tried to take to Central America? Motor home bedding? I went to make the bed up and I have one sheet. The fitted sheet. Aren't there usually TWO sheets? Where's the top sheet? Did I lose it? How does one lose a top sheet? I know the dryer can eat socks, but a full-size freakin SHEET? The Belize-istas must've stolen it. Yeah, that's right. A radical Belizean home-decor cartel bed-napped my sheet. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Blogline 5:00 pm
Another Note: Always check home dryer for cats before you throw the laundry in. Cats don't like being buried in wet laundry. Sorry Stan.

Blogline 6:30 pm
Rob home. Says there was never a top sheet for that bed. (Ewwww.... Note to self: Get top sheet for MH bed tomorrow) He doesn’t understand my grumbling about radical Belizean home-décor cartels.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Jenn vs. Brain

Last Wednesday I blogged a reprimmand to my brain for misbehavior and conduct unbecoming a brain with the responsibility of managing my life. Kind of a "mind over mind" attempt.

Saturday I got to Fred Meyer and discovered that I had six blue primroses in my cart and no good idea of what I was doing there. Imagine that all of a sudden instead of being present in your life, you're watching a real-time video of yourself. The difficulty really, is the lack of a script. Really, if I was quick-witted enough at these moments I could pretend I was in a Christopher Guest movie about myself and probably do just fine.

Jennifer is learning to adjust to these moments. She has her cel phone, she knows she's not too far from home. Why is Jennifer at Fred Meyer? To buy primroses? That doesn't seem quite right, although she likes them and she has a place for them at home. She looks at Valentines Day boxer shorts. That doesn't seem quite right either.

Fred Meyer. Fred Meyer. Jennifer's brain, watching through the Jenn-cam, reminds her that she bought really cool greyhound statues here before Christmas. She makes her way to the home decor department and checks out those aisles. No greyhounds.

Memo back to the brain. That's not why Jennifer's here. Politely invite brain to re-join the life-party. Brain IMs back that no-thanks, it's too scary. Jennifer wanders the aisles for a few minutes, hoping to convince brain that Fred Meyer is not Freddy Krueger.

Brain slowly starts to re-associate. The Jenn-cam dissolves, and I start thinking in first-person again. White-boards. I wanted white boards. Since I'm practically standing in the white board aisle, my sub-conscious clearly knew something.

Okay, Brain. I'm starting to catch on to you and your little game. Watch out. I'm smarter than you are....

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Are You There Brain? It's Me, Jennifer...

Okay. I’m officially tired of this neurological wiring problem. Whoever attached the green wire to the blue wire, or whatever the hell it is that happened, the joke is over. I am not going to blow up.

“They” tell me I have a chemical imbalance that causes the wiring problem. The chemical imbalance comes from years of living in “fight or flight” mode. That’s called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder by “they” that need to name things. Apparently, I was in a war and didn’t get the memo.

Actually, that isn’t true. When the war memo got delivered I read it, dealt with it, and I waited. Me and Chamberlain, we could’ve been a real pair. I waited to see if you, Brain, could deal with peace. I wasn’t giving up thirteen years of marriage without giving peace a chance. Apparently, the wounds of war ran deeper than I thought, Ye Olde Brain has forgotten how to live with peace. And I get to continue to live with those scars.

But here’s the deal, Brain. Yes, you put up with a lot of crap. As “they” tell me, “most people don’t have to deal with those things”. That’s nice. You did. Deal or No Deal, for Chrissake. This whole “disassociation” phenomenon? Where you see me outside my body driving down the road or sitting on the couch and think you are someone else on the outside looking in? Get.Over.It.

So Brain, the fact of the matter is that you’re not going to crack up. Even when you want to. Eventually, like soon, I will have had enough of this crap. And when I’ve had enough, I’ve had enough. And then, Brain, it won’t matter what colors the wires are.

Bite me.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Dear Literary Agent:

Dear Literary Agent:

Please read my delightfully quirky query letter and be so amused and captivated that you would like to see a synopsis of my very funny and highly entertaining novel.

I will happily provide said synopsis and sample chapters promptly. I promise that you will be equally charmed by the potential oozing from the pages.

I promise to be punctual with deadlines, and provide all requested materials for you to present to publishers. And, if it isn't too much to ask, can you get me a really good deal so I can quit my day job?

Sincerely,

JATC

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tagged, by Patience

Patience, at Patience Please tagged me to post a photo. What she said exactly was:


"I was challenged to publish a photo from my computer by taking the sixth photo in the sixth folder on my computer and below you can see the result." (You'll need to go to Patience's blog to see her fun photo.) She challenged me to do the same.


I take some freakin' weird photos, so I was a little relieved to see what turned up as number six in folder six. My babies! Princess Tara on the left, and the Amazing Nike on the right. Thanks Patience, I needed a pick-me-up today!


All Terrain Brain...

Allloooo Blogland!

I'm writing to you because I'm cleverly avoiding Chapter 3. Chapter 3 is a transitional chapter, and those are the hardest to write. We've arrived at the setting, we've discovered the crime, we've introduced some main characters, so now the weaving begins; plot, backstory, real clues, red herrings, sub-characters. My GPS is now "not on the digitized road".

Time to engage the writer's 4wd.

Cheers!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Interdict

It's my word of the day today. It means:

MEANING:noun: A prohibition, especially a formal one, as by a court, church, etc.verb tr.: To prohibit or stop. (courtesy wordsmith.org)

Use in sentence:

I'm interdicting Stan from going outside with Tara in the morning. It's freakin' freezing out there, and Stan doesn't come when he's called. He runs and hides under the deck and laughs at me in his evil little cat chuckle. Then just when I give up and I'm settled with my coffee, he decides he's cold and he wants back in.

Therefore, Stan is formally interdicted from playing hide and seek with JATC at 6am.


Did everyone learn something? Everyone but Stan, probably.


Cheers

Monday, February 2, 2009

Why Do I Have An Emu?

I'm taking advantage of my unanticipated vacation to work on my book. After reading every publication on the planet regarding how authors should organize their ideas, I finally have been able to put those books to good use.

They're sitting in an intellectually artistic casual assortment on my coffee table.

I'm beginning to suspect that one of the problems my brain has dealing with the world is that it doesn't like being stuffed into rules and structure. I find that confusing, and stressful. My wiring can't process it.

So I sat down to just plain old write yesterday. Start at the beginning and let the stories tell themselves, as they did when I was a child. The first thing that happened was the damn emu showed up. No idea where the damn emu came from or what he's doing there. Why an emu?

I guess I'm going to find out when I do today's installment. Or maybe the answer to the emu won't come until later. I wonder what today will bring - it's fun and exciting to write this way.

Cheers

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Notes on DAFS


My brain should seriously be monitored. Today's chapter of Death At First Sight finds an emu riding shotgun in the front seat of a Cessna while my poor heroine and her dogs are jammed in the back. We hope the weed-wacked pilot gets them home in time for breakfast.

Jello Wrestling - Down and Dirty

So The Blonde One and I were chatting one evening and decided we needed a little more excitement and drama in our lives. So we came up with this great idea for a Blog Jello Wrestling competition. We were even gonna put vodka in some of the jello.



As with most of our great ideas, we found a few flaws with this one right from the get-go.



The greatest of which is, are you ready for this......I.Can't.Make.Jello. Completely incapable. Ask my Momm. It either turns into rubber like goo that will remove coffee stains from dentures, or a half-solidified watery mass that's a bit like walking on thin ice. Never know when you're going to fall through and get trapped underneath.



I do make a mean chicken marsala, Brazilian seafood stew, and chocolate decadence, so it's not a complete cooking failure on my part. Just jello.



So we had to give up on jello wrestling and settle for an advice blog. That's right, advice from a blonde with five kids and a recovering blonde with five pets. The opportunity for entertainment is almost endless.



So stop by and visit us at http://downanddirtyanswers.blogspot.com/ - drop us a note, or leave a question about the world that's been haunting you. But no jello wrestling.




And GO PITTSBURGH

Saturday, January 31, 2009

I Just Don't Get It....Sorry.

Now consider. Just for a moment. I blog, I tweet, I'm on Facebook. I work in an industry that likes to think it's more high tech than it is, in a city that IS more high tech than it should be, thanks to some guys called Bill and Paul. I keep up with the news, and I'm relatively intelligent (except for Sudoku, there you got me).

But there's some stuff out there that I see, sometimes regularly, that I just don't get.

Exhibit A. Christmas wreaths attached to the front of cars. What? You love your Christmas tree SO much you wanted a portable version? Does it come with a deployable Santa air bag in case you have an accident? Nope, don't get that one.

Exhibit B. The rural mailbox shaped and painted like a farm animal. Is it cute that the mailperson shoves the electric bill down the gut of a fiberboard Holstein, or is it more fun that you have to disembowel a bovine to get the Victoria's Secret catalog. Perhaps I lack a craft gene. Thank you God.

Exhibit C. The little caricatures on the back window of your car that represent the members of your family. It began with one for dad, one for mom, and then as many little boy and girl stickers as were appropriate. Then some creative genius made add-ons for cats and dogs. This is kinda cute, but where does it end? What if the cat gets hit by a car? Is there a squished cat sticker? How about if one of the kids catches lice at school? Do you get a million little rice sized stickers for the back window? And then does the defroster still work? Are there options for guinea pigs, boa constrictors? What if there's a divorce? Do you get the half-a-dad sticker option? It just seems to me there's a potential to really mess with people here.

Exhibit D. The completely f@cked up fashion statement of wearing short skirts without hose or tights when it's 28 degrees fahrenheit outside. Guys wearing shorts in the middle of winter took some getting used to, but they're guys. They can't help it. They also have the benefit of leg hair to keep them half-way sheltered from frostbite. Plus shorts don't typically ride up to the point where we can see the color of your thong when the wind blows. (If you happen to be a guy who wears a thong, no offense intended). Honey, I have tights, I'll give them to you. (I suppose most men reading this post won't actually get the point, but pretend I'm talking about your daughter...)

Exhibit E. Why is it that my boyfriend and step-son, who wouldn't be caught DEAD buying feminine products for me, or their sister, or girlfriend, or whomever, think absolutely nothing about popping down to the local to get a package of panti-liners for our in-season whippet bitch? I didn't even have to ask, they just did it cuz they couldn't find the extra package. Nor did I have to answer any questions about design, brand, scent, or absorbency. Men all over have just been outted - you really CAN do this if you want to.

Exhibit F. I'm starting a grass-roots movement to remove the cc: field from email in the workplace. I'm starting by refusing to read anything that isn't addressed to me. Remember back in the good old days when all we had was paper, and a typewriter, and snail-mail? (Sigh. Maybe you don't. Trust me on this one) You didn't cc the world. You cc'd someone only when absolutely necessary because you had remember to do another envelope and make an extra copy and buy an extra stamp to get the cc out. Now, approximately 995 of my 1000 emails a day at work are cc'd to me. The hell with it. You want to send me something, send it to me. Otherwise the happy key in the upper right corner is going to do its job. God made delete keys for a reason.

I wonder if I can delete my neighbor's pig shaped mailbox?

Cheers!

Friday, January 30, 2009

An Invitation to Play Croquet

Well, now here's an odd position to be in. (Nothing to do with Downward Dog or a Cat Stretch).

I've been beatching for months about not having time to write my Fabulous book (Called "Death at First Sight") for anyone who cares. I have a job, a family, two dogs, two cats, a goldfish, two floods, two subsequent remodels, two dead bats, a deck to build, a hot tub, a motorhome and car that seem prone to breaking, a vacation to plan, an exercise routine, a house that wants cleaning, a dog that wants showing, and hair to dry. Periodically, I wander through the motions of a blog. On top of all that, my brain decided it was a good time to have panic attacks, along with some little disassociative moments that are as yet inexplicable.

So, today, I find myself with time. Medically imposed time by a doctor who decided I could either take a break or "else". I didn't inquire about the "else". "Else" doesn't sound like somewhere you can bring your dogs or your laptop. "Walk your dogs" she said. "Get some fresh air and exercise that way". "Do one house project a day". "Learn how to relax."

Hahahahahahahaha. You gotta be freakin' kiddin me? Relax? I can't even find the word in the dictionary. However. Here I sit, with my driving privileges essentially revoked and strictly prohibited from going to work. I walked the dogs, scooped poop, did some laundry, and the dishes. So now I'm going to indulge myself and write. I have all afternoon, and a goal of 2000 words.

Cheer me on! DAFS, Chap. 1

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I'm Blaming Linda....

Epiphany!

A happy moment where the stars align and my health issues all fall into place.

  1. Mood swings
  2. Depression
  3. Anxiety
  4. mid-body pain
  5. panic
  6. cries easily
  7. inability to focus

All concurrent with Tara's heat cycle. My dog is on the rag, therefore I have all the symptoms of PCMS (Pre-Canine Menstrual Syndrome). All I need is a little Midol, and I'll be good as gold. You whippet people were supposed to WARN me about this part. NOT funny.

I'm blaming Linda.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wasted Wednesday

6am: Anyone seen the spare pair of bitches britches?



8am: Call in comatose to work. At least "comatose" isn't "suicidally panicked". On the other hand, comatose isn't really a lifestyle either. Definitely need meds adjusted.



10am: Contemplate doing laundry



11am: Write totally off the wall blog. Avoided Alice in Wonderland references.



12pm: Nappy time



3pm: Ugh. Brush teeth.



4pm: Do laundry. Discover bitch in season generates more laundry than paintballing teenager.



4:30pm: Cell phone rings. Not mine. Phone display indicates that call coming in is from "piss poor cell". I'm not sure which friend of Rob or Nick that is. Refrain from answering "Hiya, Piss Poor!"



5pm: Take next dose of Stepford Jenn med. Watch Curious George on t.v.

Good thing I go to the specialist tomorrow.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

You know that exercise wherein you think of everyone throughout history and pick a list of just whom you'd invite to dinner if you could? I've been thinking a lot about that lately. Mostly I worry about what the hell I'd serve for hors d'oeuvres. And how we'd serve dinner since there's a treadmill where the table should be. My invite would say "buffet style" and "bring your own lawn chair".

There's some people out there I really want to talk to. I suppose a normal person's list would begin with Jesus Christ, Oprah, Elvis, and maybe Abraham Lincoln. We have a tendency to want to talk to people we think can answer questions of cosmic proportion.

Not me.

1. Agatha Christie. Sister could write, she had a sense of humor, and she vanished for eleven days in 1926 while under stress and anxiety. I can relate. Did you take the dog? Someday I'm going to write an Agatha blog.

2. Amelia Earhart. Yo, babe - what happened to you? You're out there somewhere. I think maybe you suffered from what I'll call Britney syndrome - you were kept so busy keepin' up appearances you didn't get as much time as you needed to actually get really good at what you loved. Did that get you killed?

3. Queen Victoria - For no other reason than she loved food almost as much as I do. Nothing quite like getting to sit down with someone who truly enjoys their Cream of Sorrel soup. We also gotta talk about her choice of dog breeds - Albert at least had the sense to have a greyhound.

4. Coco Chanel - Want a bit of chat about the World War years. Nursing, affairs with Nazi soldiers, and some really awesome hats. That's diversity.

5. Ann Curry - I want to actually talk to these people, and a great conversationalist I am not. She's got my back at this party.

That's just off the cuff. I'm sure I could come up with a more meaningful list, but this how I felt about life this morning.

Cheers!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Muse in a 12 Step Program

Must write something. Must write something. Must write something. No brain waves. Brain is tired. Brain is burned out on the new drugs. Now I no longer panic, I sit in a catatonic lump unable to motivate beyond the couch and the "What Not To Wear" re-runs. Oh yes, I get up to change Tara's panties every so often. Owning a dog is so therapeutic.

Somewhere there is a happy medium - there must be.

Maybe I'll start by changing to "As The World Turns".

Ooohhh. Even better, I could take the dogs for a walk. Healthy, stimulating, motivated. Efffing COLD! You been outside around here lately?

I think I'm actually almost there. Tomorrow I go into the office with the grand service dog in his official vest. By then I shall have adjusted a bit more to the meds. I will wear a cute skirt and fabulous boots. Stacy London will be SO happy. I will probably slide down Madison Avenue on my a$$ when the grand service dog spots a pigeon. Library patrons can wave as I go by.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's story - it ought to be a good one.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Things You Don't Want to Hear at The Office

As you know, Nike attended a fun-filled day at work with me yesterday. Due to her current, er, condition, Tara remained home in a crate. Nick gets home from school around 2ish, and about 2:05 my phone rang.

Now remember, I work in cubie-land. Everyone around me for about a 30 mile radius can hear my end of the conversation. Also remember Nick is a 16 year old male child.

Me: "Yes, Nike's with me"

Me "You can let Tara out of her crate, but she's, uh, started her, uh, girl thing. After you put her outside you'll have to clean her, uh, "hoo-haa" and put her panties on her. Otherwise she'll get blood on the furniture.

Heads start to pop up all over cubie-land, like gophers emerging from their holes.

Me: There's a hole where the tail goes, and you put a panty-liner thing in the panties right under the tail hole.

Me (begging for trouble): Call if you have trouble.

I look around at my audience and realize an explanation is in order. By the time I'm done, the aisles are full of tearful laughing co-workers. Great, a peanut gallery.



Riiinnnnnnnggggggg



More laughter from the aisles.



Me: What's up? Oh, yeah, they're normal panti-liner things, in a pink plastic package. I think I left them in the laundry room. Or maybe on top of the stereo. The panties should be on top of her crate. You probably have to take the old pad out and put the new one one - I was in a hurry this morning.



Frantic waving as I try to get the peanut gallery to quit laughing so I can hear what poor Nick is trying to say.



There are no dry eyes in the aisles near my cubie.



Riiiiiinnnnnnnngggggggg



Medics are going to be needed for hyperventilating co-workers.



Me: She won't let you put them on? Dude, at some point you gotta learn about girls and panties. (Much grumbling at what is considered my poor effort at humor).



Peanut Gallery: Tell him to buy her a nice dinner and take her to a movie first.



Me: He's trying to get them on not off, you dopes.



Me: Sigh. Just put a towel down on the furniture. I'll be home soon.



I work with juveniles. I live with juveniles. On the other hand, you can't really say that's an everyday conversation at the office.....

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Advice from a Caterpillar

Today I must venture from the house and make my way to work. I was feeling pretty good until the reality of that adventure actually hit home. So I made my way to my favorite work of literature, the one that understands me. Today's blog isn't about you, dear Readers, it's going to help me get through the day. Thank you Mr. Carroll.

The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.

`Who are you?' said the Caterpillar.

This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, `I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.'

`What do you mean by that?' said the Caterpillar sternly. `Explain yourself!'

`I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, sir' said Alice, `because I'm not myself, you see.'

`I don't see,' said the Caterpillar.

`I'm afraid I can't put it more clearly,' Alice replied very politely, `for I can't understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.'

`It isn't,' said the Caterpillar.

`Well, perhaps you haven't found it so yet,' said Alice; `but when you have to turn into a chrysalis--you will some day, you know--and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you'll feel it a little queer, won't you?'

`Not a bit,' said the Caterpillar.

`Well, perhaps your feelings may be different,' said Alice; `all I know is, it would feel very queer to me.'

`You!' said the Caterpillar contemptuously. `Who are you?'

Which brought them back again to the beginning of the conversation. Alice felt a little irritated at the Caterpillar's making such very short remarks, and she drew herself up and said, very gravely, `I think, you out to tell me who you are, first.'

`Why?' said the Caterpillar.

Here was another puzzling question; and as Alice could not think of any good reason, and as the Caterpillar seemed to be in a very unpleasant state of mind, she turned away.

`Come back!' the Caterpillar called after her. `I've something important to say!'

This sounded promising, certainly: Alice turned and came back again.

`Keep your temper,' said the Caterpillar.

`Is that all?' said Alice, swallowing down her anger as well as she could.

`No,' said the Caterpillar.

Alice thought she might as well wait, as she had nothing else to do, and perhaps after all it might tell her something worth hearing. For some minutes it puffed away without speaking, but at last it unfolded its arms, took the hookah out of its mouth again, and said, `So you think you're changed, do you?'

`I'm afraid I am, sir,' said Alice; `I can't remember things as I used--and I don't keep the same size for ten minutes together!'

It's a good think Nike's coming to work with me. I will try to stay calm.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Adventures with the er, Red Queen

I'm home today, trying to get my act back together, take it easy, regroup on the how to get out of the rabbit hole. I feel pretty good. Meds are kickin' in. Life is relatively easy.

Except there's blood on my bed. WTF? Can't be me, I had those bits removed. Dogs and cats periodically have a run-in with a branch or each other. I hazily start physical inspection. No cuts or bruises that I can spot.

And then a terrifying, mind-numbing, Murphy-is-out-to-get-me thought. Tara's entered in her first show this weekend. Could she have.....? NO. Not possible. I don't have enough meds to cope with this.

I've done enough lure coursing and racing roll calls to know how to do bum inspection. Oh Dear God. Tara does NOT pass bum inspection. Deep sigh. Oh well, I'm a girl, I can deal with this. I have really cute sock monkey panties (thanks Patience!) and panti-liners, saved just for this purpose.

Tara does not grasp the whole diaper-for-a-cookie trade, but she'll work with it.

Then she promptly heads out the doggie door. Crap, I think. She's gonna take off the panties.

No, no, that's not apparently how this works with teen-agers. The panties are still on, and soaked with pee. Deep Sigh. Lesson One. Block dog door.

Off with sock monkey panties, into the washer. Clean up dog. On with back-up pair of Kooky-Wacky panties (thank you Patience).

Now must wash sheets. Anyone else wanting to offer advice, feel free. Remember I'm already on calming meds. Might need a drink too.

Jenn. First time mom of teen-age girl.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chapter II - The Pool of Tears


Clinique, Estee, MAC, Bobbi Brown, and Max Factor have all failed women miserably with one simple design flaw. There is no brand of mascara on this earth that will Stay Put when a man, particularly your doctor, renders you to tears. With the first prickling of moisture under the lower lids, a dam is opened that sends first a trickle, followed by a mudslide of black goo sliding down your cheeks, dispersing in a sloughy mass across your jawline. If pushed aside, it makes permanent Sharpie-like lines pointing to your ears. Just what I need, big black lines underlining my puffy red eyes, pointing at my ears.

Down the rabbit-hole, Alice got away with the pool of tears by knowing a) how to swim, and b) she was too little to wear make-up.

As opposed to my beloved-Alice, I cannot swim, and I was completely unprepared for my emotional unraveling during my visit to Dr. Canada yesterday. His first clue something was wrong might have been the fact that I was curled up in a little ball in a corner chair when he walked into the room. His first mistake was asking "So, JATC, what's going on?"

Bawwwwwwwwlllllllllllllll, SNIFFF, SOB. The dam broke. Repeating the story as told to Dr. Australian Shepherd at the emergency clinic on Friday was more than I could bear. Soon, Dr. Canada and I were floating in an office full of tears, stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, and tongue depressers. Note: Those nasty crank-em probe thingies they use for "female" examinations? Don't Float.

In true Alice fashion, in order to dry out and re-group, Dr. Canada had me tell stories. Dr. Canada is a sensible sort. He looked at my notes about feeling like I was going to die, he listened to my tales of disassociation, and he carefully read through my friend PN Melissa's email that I printed for him. And then he said I was NORMAL. Say wah? On which planet? Dr. Canada is now Dr. Mars. Oh. I'm normal for someone with severe anxiety. Okay.

He addressed my great fear first. I am not likely to do anything while disassociating that I wouldn't do cognitively. Whew! I was really getting worried about telling one of our VPs at work what I Really Think. Career limiting. I also was a little worried about driving into a tree. Life limiting. He ordered up a thyroid test. (Thank you Melissa). He re-jiggered some of my meds. For the time being until we move on to Chapter 3 (The Caucus Race) I'm going to be somewhat sedated. He ordered me up a psych evaluation just in case he's missing something - he thinks there's a possibility that this might be PTSD related.

And he told me to keep the dog with me. :-) I'm luckier than Alice. Dinah The Cat had to stay home.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Jenn's Adventures in Wonderland - Day 3

News:
My first question about the inauguration festivities? Where they gonna put all those sani-cans? Does Barack & Co. have a special port-a-potty, or do they get a real bathroom? Inquiring minds want to know.

Weather:
Y'all in New England can keep your damn snow. Been there, done that, no thanks.

Sports:
Rob's poor Eagles. Who ever heard of an Eagle getting trounced by a Cardinal. Darwinian confusion here people. But I'm happy for my friend Janet's Steelers. As long as our dishwasher doesn't flood the kitchen during the superbowl this year, I'm happy.

Health:
1mg of Klonipin could stun a rhino. Gotta go see Dr. "I'm from Canada and I listen" and get straightened out today. Pretty sure Dr. Australian Shepherd just wanted to keep me sedated over the weekend. Much less likely to drive into a tree.

Dogs:
Clicker training at its finest - Nike can retrieve my meds from just about anywhere. Good boy.

People:
I'm surprised by the level of support from friends. I am grateful for the kind words and concern. There are some who think I should be able to reach through my now cracked facade and tough it up and suck it out and help myself. I think there's a balance. I can do that, but I still need some help with the glue.

Loves y'all.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Jenn And The City - The White Rabbit Chapters

JATC is turning a page in the blog. It's evolving from cave drawings to Alice's adventures. The tone will be the same, but the content will be a bit different. Let's all take a deep breath and follow the white rabbit down the hole. Following the rabbit won't be a problem for the whippet-types. Eveyone else will have to take it on faith.

The last year of my life has been fabulous. I am well cared for, I have a terrific job, and a lovely family and beautiful dogs. I have time to devote to my writing. In comparison, the prior twenty years were a struggle to survive, to care for those around me and myself. I no longer have that stress.

In spite of the positives, and in spite of my high level of functionality, sometime in the last year a white rabbit with a pocket watch invited me down a very deep hole, to a very strange and scary world. I don't know how I got there, and I don't know how to get home. I'm not quite sure what to do here. Sometimes I watch myself wander through the gardens and tea parties and have no connection with myself. That's called "disassociation". Sometimes I blank out and things don't look the way they should. I know I'm at work, but where does that door lead to? Where is my desk? I'm sure Alice could empathize. Most of the time I just plain ass panic. Calmly, and in my head. I'm too tough to actually lose my mind in front of an audience. So far....

I've tried Alice's solutions. "Drink me" helps, but it isn't exactly a solution I want to get sucked into. It's starting to cause friction at home. Which makes me feel even more disassociated. Integrity is important to JATC, but she's losing her grip on even that. Since the "eat me" pill solutions provided by my fabulous physicians don't help much, it's very easy to turn back to the negative "drink me" therapy. I don't mean to criticize, the fabulous physicians are doing the best they can.

I travelled to Bend this week and barely remained functional for the trip. That will suprise anyone with me there. I held it together. Until yesterday. Yesterday I nearly got wiped out on my way to work by a truck crossing the center line. While I was obviously frightened by the near miss, the more disturbing thought was "well, at least I wouldn't panic anymore" followed rapidly by "Rob wouldn't be disappointed in me anymore". This.Is.A. Messed.Up.Train.Of.Thought. Just in case you're wondering.

So I functionally drove to work, attended my critical meeting, then got in my car and called my doctor. He sent me to the emergency clinic. Emergency clinic doc listened to my story and kept me for observation. ER doc found me a counsellor, (hopefully the White Queen and not the Mad Hatter). He consulted my pharmacy history and found an error in a previous prescription. (Too much pepper in the soup!), and corrected it.

Because of my disassociative disorder, the ER doc (Dr. Australian Shepherd) mentioned a thought I'd previously had - a trained service dog might be of benefit.

So I start today with new tools to cope with the overwhelming and exhausting panic. There will be appropriate meds, a counsellor to teach coping skills, and a trained assistance dog (one of my own) for crises. Hey, Alice had the caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, and a flamingo.

I choose deliberately to tell this story honestly, although I'll feel weak and loser-like for going here. But my narcissistic self thinks that I will get some interesting stories in this experience, and maybe, just maybe there is someone else out their with highly functioning panic disorder that will come to understand that it has to be dealt with.

Genes, they tell me. My wiring isn't like other people's. I'm trying to believe that.

If you find this too-self absorbed for your liking, I won't blame you for not coming back. But I'm willing to bet that in a day or two, I'll find humor in panic. And that should be Very Entertaining.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Red Cactus Margaritas

I'm in the high desert, in Bend, Oregon. I love it here, it is beautiful, and I appreciate that my job periodically demands I travel here. I love even better that I can spend the night in Bend and commute via a rubber-band and chewing gum express airplane, and still get to work faster than I can on the train from home.

Man, that sentence was WAY too long.

Bend has fabulous restaurants and breweries. Tonight we stopped at "Hola" after work. I highly recommend the red cactus margaritas.

Anyway, I'm exhausted, overwhelmed, I've had two days of near constant panic.

I want to go home.

I'm sorry, can't find my funny bone tonight.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dear PetNet

While Jenn And The City is usually an honest, forthright, tell it like it is sort, she is not above pandering and bribery. For example, I'm not above trading chocolate or alcohol for votes, and I can pretend to like cats and arachnids if it makes me more interesting. Of course, what really makes me fun is my predilection to hang windchimes from my ceiling fans, and I speak to my dogs in complete sentences. They understand.

J

Thursday, January 8, 2009

You Tube?

Thanks to "Pam In The Frozen North" for sending today's totally awesome link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42E2fAWM6rA

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sex, Lies, and Duct Tape

The supreme power that is Google represents the superhighway of blog traffic. One has ones friends and followers that visit regularly, via direct cyber roads. It is a well-known concept in blogland that certain key words and phrases will drastically increase the traffic on the Google freeway exit for your page.

Jenn And The City rarely pays attention to this aspect of blog marketing. I write for my own amusement first and foremost, and anyone who wants to tag along in my narcissistic adventure is always welcome to hop on the magic carpet. It’s definitely a “travel at your own risk” sort of trip. You never know when I’m going to turn at the second star on the left and go straight on til morning.

But I was fascinated to see the amount of traffic that the “Surviving the Duct Tape Wars” post generated. One intuitively recognizes that certain words, like “sex” or “Britney” will up your site visitor count, but “duct tape”? That’s.So.Messed.Up. There’s way too many people out there Googling “duct tape”. I know it’s popular in home and vehicle repair, and also an alternative gift wrap option, but really, why would you Google it?

Maybe I should mention that I once managed to Super Glue my finger to the weather stripping on my dog door. Does Super Glue have the universal appeal in the cyber-world that duct tape does? The even better Super Glue story is the tube that Travis-whippet got hold of and started to chew up. Those who know the story of Travis and his teeth probably think I should have let him keep the glue.

What happens to my visitor count if I tell the story of the WD-40 fiasco? Will that cause the counter number to whirl cheerfully skyward? In my experience, locating duct-tape in the hardware store, and inserting the straw into the can of WD-40 require Y-chromosomes. You don’t want to know about the reaction of the Y-chromosome at the hardware store when you try to return the defective uhh, lubricating product because you're having difficulties making the, err, tube delivering the viscous oil fit in the opening provided.

Additional fun fact about WD-40, it can be used to clean crayon and ink from computer monitors. Do Not Ask Me How I Know This. Remember I’m a recovering blonde.


Stay tuned next time when we will explore the Google results for hardware choices such as cordless screwdrivers, channel locks, and needle-nose pliers.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

For Patience-Please

It's come to my attention that my friend Patience at Patience-please might be having a tough day. I think this because her blog today says"Be warned - not my usual post". Patience's posts are often funny and always meaningful. "Poignant" someone described them to me once.

So, loyal follower that I am, I read her blog. Expecting something decidedly un-Patiencey, like mindless drivel or something insensitive about animals and small children. This is not the case.

Patience rewound the video of her life and tried to decide if she's made good choices. She's taking a moment to reflect on missed opportunities. And she's feeling selfish and guilty and unentertaining for blogging about it. Huh? "Selfish" and "unentertaining" aren't even allowed in the same zip code with Patience.

First, she wrote an excellent blog, everyone should take a moment to ponder the lessons of the past. They guide the path of the future. Second, if she hadn't traveled the road of Patience, she wouldn't have been able to write that blog. Or her first and second books. And I'm willing to bet that Patience wouldn't be nearly as entertaining to us all if she kept a cattery, or showed poodles. Nothing against poodles, I'm just sayin'. And heaven help us if she'd learned to knit.

It is, I think, the hallmark of a really good writer to be able to look backward and be able to use that energy and those lessons to push forward. I know it drives me. Drives me crazy and up a wall and bonkers sometimes, but drive it does.

Patience is going back to full-time nursing. She's not exactly thrilled about the occupational adventure, but I am. There are going to be some totally awesome and funny stories. (THAT, my friend, is me being selfish.)

And they will be poignant.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

No Penguins in Asia

I have four "guys" in my kitchen playing "Risk". Aside from the need to describe the situation in quotes, this isn't too bad. Yet.

The tin of Wal-Mart flavored popcorn is nearly gone. The Costco tub of red licorice is half-demolished. Howard Jones blares on my iTouch. Get Smart blares from the living room t.v. where my poor (pause, while JATC determines relationship) b/f's ex-wifes, son from first marriage's wife (otherwise known as Annie) is watching t.v. Annie is delightful, she has Nike and Tara wrapped under blankets watching t.v. with her. Annie is also a vet tech - she "gets" the whippets.

Rob is "out" of the Risk game. Brandon (ex's son), Travis (ex's current hubby) and Nick (their son) are still playing. Everyone but Nick has been drinking Crown and Coke (legally).

I'm interrupted from Twitter and Blogger with the Risk related question "Are there Penguins in Asia?" I'm not sure what that's got to do with the game, but given the Crown, I can work with it.

Rob has overturned his bar-stool, Nick's bodily functions are not fit for company, and Brandon has had about a half/pint of Crown. Just another Saturday Night at JATC.

For anyone wondering, there are NO penguins in Asia...
J
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