Jill "xtingu" Knapp

Traveling musician. Singer. Road warrior in bursts. Dork. Easy to spot. Gauche eyeshadow fan. Unreasonably happy.

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I'm writing this with my eyes half closed; I apologize for any typos or half-finished sentences.


Sunday mornings are usually spent getting brunch with Matt's folks. I really like Matt's folks so I genuinely look forward to it each week. Matt's dad (Steve) will never let us pay, which I find amusing. We keep telling him that he doesn't have to bribe us with food, and that we'd come out anyway... but he still pays. He won't even let us get the tip. 

This recent Sunday Matt went to a Giants game with his bro Nick. Nick has season tickets and really goes all in-- he leaves Delaware at 7:30am to arrive for a 1pm game by 9:30am so he can tailgate for a few hours. Matt went with him and I admit I was worried he'd have a panic attack at the game and wouldn't have any safe, private place to melt down for a few hours... but thankfully(??) the day before he had two AWFUL panic attacks, and he often has a good day after an especially awful day. So I'm happy that worked out. 

Matt's folks asked me if we were gonna do brunch and I told them Matt wouldn't be home so I figured they'd cancel, but instead they said "Let's go anyway, just the three of us!"  We had a really lovely, easy, relaxed time since this was the first time I've ever spent time with them sans Matt (not that I was worried-- we get along really well). After brunch they asked me to come back to their house to help Steve fix his computer, which I did in 5 minutes, and they were thrilled. (Not only am I vaguely personable, I'm useful, too! Wow! What a catch!)

I don't know why, but I always get super-happy when my boyfriend's parents like me. 

Anyhoo, Matt got home from the game around 6:45pm and we hopped in the car and headed to Philly, where I'm teaching at UPenn all week.  Class is from 8:30-4:30, and I arrive to my classroom around 8, and I try to get people outta there by 4:05 at the latest, mostly because I can tell by 2:45pm I could be talking about elephant spackle* and they'd be writing it down... the lunch coma is a very real thing.  (*I do not know what elephant spackle is or why my brain just typed it.)

My hotel is quite literally directly across the street from my classroom building, which is AWESOME.  No commute, just a few steps... so I can roll outta bed at 7:30am and be there at 8:00 with no problem. I love that.  

Matt is with me in the hotel, so I usually go back to the hotel for lunch just to relax a bit. After ll the class ends, I make my way back to the hotel by 4:45 or so by the time I straighten the classroom up... and then I immediately change into my PJs and flop into bed.  I'm usually sleepy by 8pm because I'm 90. But tonight I had a big ol' project that's due for my colleague in the Netherlands, so I had to knock that out because he's 6 hours ahead of me. It took me a few hours to finish and I just finished it up now... and right now it's almost 10pm and my body is like "HEY STUPID! WHY AREN'T YOU ASLEEP?"  

I keep falling asleep while I'm writing this and then waking up 15-20 minutes later.

 Other news, and I'll be quick here because it's super-late now... I forget if I told you that my mom lost 25 pounds on the NutriSystem plan we bought her so she could get her blood-sugar under control.  I'm SOOOOO damn proud of her. She said the food is meh and just basically TV dinners, but that's kinda what she normally eats anyway.

Ok, I'm going to sleep. Love you all ok bye.

Happy Hanukkah to those tho celebrate! 


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Yay for solo brunch with the SO's rents! Always awesome when the bf's parents like you, I agree and hope for this too. Who wouldn't? :) Sleep tight, bae. *tuck in with a teddy* (I'm half brain dead right now.)
Karen 12/4
WHAAAAAAAAAT 25 LBS? Which NutriSystem plan? I have to look this up so I can read all the ingredients and obsess about it but never do it. That's amazing!

I'm a dumbass, I stayed up too late too.
Good job, Mom! That's fantastic.
 

I was in Wisconsin for 24 hours on Sunday into Monday-- Racine, to be exact.  My hotel was right on the bank of Lake Michigan, which is surprisingly blue... like Caribbean blue. 

Racine is like Wilmington in that it was probably a sad, falling-down place for decades until someone decided to throw a ton of money at it, and now it has a super-cute main drag, similar in vibe to Market Street in Wilmington, or maybe more specifically the Riverfront. Lots of shops, eateries, businesses, parking, people walking around, all that. And it's CUTE. 

Even th Milwaukee airport is adorable, mostly because of the people in it. Everyone is soooo friendly, inclusive, soft-spoken, quick to smile and say hello. Where the Philly airport (and every other airport) is LOUD with announcements, machinery, moving walkways, beeping carts, cops on Segways, yelling kids, and families whose default vocal conversation volume is SCREAMING, it's easy to get numb to the noise.  But Milwaukee is quiet. 


Always Get a Shoe Shine

I forget where I read it, but someone said in their list of life tips to "Always get a shoe shine by the old guy in the airport."

I may have only gotten two or three shoe shines in my life, and they were awesome, and my shoes appreciated it.   Two weeks ago I wanted to wear my ancient Doc Martens to work and Matt offered to shine them up, and I took him up on it. They look great! What a difference!  I bought those 10-eye black Doc boots from Buffalo Exchange (used!) in 1996 or so... so they're at least 21 years old. (My boots can drink!) After Matt got done shining them up, they look like new damn boots! I can't believe it!  I really need new soles though-- they are worn flat to the point where they are slippery and absolutely unwearable in the wintertime. 

ANYWAY, this post is not about my Doc Martens though, but instead about me getting a shoe shine in the Milwaukee airport right after I landed, shining a totally different pair of boots. My flight landed around 1pm, and it was gonna be about a 30 minute drive to Racine and I figured there was a good chance my hotel room wouldn't be ready for me by the time I showed up at 1:30, so I tried to take my time. As I wandered through the almost empty airport, I saw a shoeshine guy on the out-side of security... which seemed strange, but OK.  The shoeshine guy had a TV in his booth and he was watching the game, and I felt bad for interrupting him, but he invited me in.  As soon as he invited me in, I could tell something was slightly off... but I didn't care. He cheerfully and eagerly invited me in, and I was gonna stay. 

The old guy, probably in his 60s, looked much older. He was very shaky, couldn't speak clearly... but he managed to say that he had just had a stroke and was just coming back to work. In a moment, his son appeared and took over the reins, somewhat embarrassed for his dad. Once I assured the son that I was comfy with Dad and was happy to be there, the three of us had a great time. We talked about the stroke a little bit, and how Dad couldn't bear to stay cooped up in the nursing home with "people with no purpose no more."  He was a shoe-shiner, and he took his craft seriously... it was his life's work. Even though he couldn't wield the tools as adeptly anymore, his son helped out when he needed to, and they managed to give me a great freakin' shoe-shine in 30 minutes... and a great chat. We talked about traveling, weather, the 24-hours news cycle and how it's killing the country, and food that is unique to this side of Wisconsin. 

After 30 minutes of intensive work, they charged me $12 for the shoe-shine, and I gave them $40. 

My boots look damn fiiiiine, and my heart feels good, too. 


Swingin'...

In other news entirely, my favorite lunch spot in Philly is 30th Street Station, outside on the swings.  I get a cup of coffee and a bagel and/or a sammich/salad from one of the many shoppes inside, and plop my arse on a swing and all is right with the world.

They have two different types of swings-- one where your feet can touch the ground, and ones that are more like giant recliners where your legs are totally off the ground. So today there were people sitting on the big recliner swings, but their swing had stopped swinging... and since their feet can't touch the ground, they have no way to swing again. So as I walked by them, I gave them each a push and they both smiled and laughed. It made my day. :-)

Shut up and post this, Jill

Anyway, I think I'm just gonna post this, otherwise I'll just drag it out, adding letters but saying nothing. So... post!

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11/2 '17 4 Comments
Shoe shining/repair is something of a rare art these days. If you have a good shoe repair shop around you, it is always an awesome thing to have soles replaced. Between that and a shine, it's like insta-new-shoe! Poof! Plus, then your footwear lasts foreeeeeever. I have a pair of boots over 30 years old and a pair of dress heels over 25. My shoes aren't *quite* old enough to be your Doc's mom, but I bet they babysat 'em on Friday nights.
Anne Mollo 11/2 '17
There are two "shoe guys" in town, and one is in the mall of all places, and they are craaaaazy-busy. I've brought boots to them that had broken zippers and stuff, and they replaced 'em as good as new. But I've never had soles replaced.

Doc Martens have such specific soles, and I don't know if they have Doc Marten soles. But then again, I'm not sure how mega-important genuine Doc Martens soles are. As long as they look and feel right, I suppose that's what's important. Besides, I've been walking around on worn-down soles for so long, so I don't know if if I'd know the difference. Maybe I'll bring them over.
Okay, yes, I might be a bit biased, but I swear to Christ, Lucifer, and everyone in between that I would read the shit out of a book of collected blog posts by you chica. Just something about the way I feel the life moments in your posts. It's really fine stuff.

And now I'm having a mental image of you, talking about you, and saying "She just... Gets It. You know? She's our people."
Awwwww, thanks! I love writing. I know my writing needs a lot of work, but it's good for my soul. It makes me really happy that you like reading my brain pickinz. ;)
 

This entry has been copied/pasted from xtingu.dreamwidth.org/1034861.html .
I was happy to see that rone replied there.

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Wow, I've been writing a lot. I take this as a good sign, and maybe the first sign that maybe my hermitty ways may be ever-so-slightly starting to lift. 

I wanted to jot some things down so I don't forget them, in no particular order.

1) My company, Knapp I.T., Inc. is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this year. Coincidentally, my brother's company, Jephens Tech is celebrating 20 years this year. I feel like we should get the employees of Boutell.com and Moskowitz-Inc and go spend some pre-tax dollars on an employee appreciation dinner. :-)

2) If my company is 10 years old, that means I've been living in my house for 10 years come this November. Jeeeezus. So much for only moving to Delaware for six months until I figured out where I wanted to wind up. :-)

3) Matt and I have tickets to a Phillies game tomorrow. The weather should be perfect. This will be my first time at the "new" stadium. 

4) Our home wifi dies once a week or so, and one of us has to go reset the router in the basement when that happens. So this afternoon the wifi died, but it turns out my entire FiOS box is dead dead dead... it's not getting power at all. The outlet works, and the battery backup seems to be charging, but no power is getting to the main unit. Not sure what's happening, but the nice Verizon man will come out on Saturday to fix it. Until then, we have no land line, and only Internet on our phones. Hmmmm. Suboptimal. 

5) This past Friday we went to Hummingbird to Mars, which is a cute speakeasy sorta place in Wilmington. It's not as swanky as Please Don't Tell in NYC or the Franklin Mortgage and Investment in Philly, but it's fine for Wilmington. We went with our pal Brian and also with Kevin and Lee. We all agreed it was very civilized. And no matter how foo-foo and well-prepared a cocktail is, I just don't give a crap about drinking. Gimme a ginger ale and I'm happy. 

5a) I went for a quick check-up (more like a check-in) with my regular doctor and he asked me the usual questions. When he asked if I drank, I said no. "Not at all?" "Nope." "Not even a glass of wine?" "Maybe once a year..." "Wow, OK." I found his surprise amusing. :) Anyway, he gave me crap about not having a gone for a recent mammogram or a DEXA bone density scan, so imma go do those, along with my big annual bloodwork and anemia labs.

6) Last week our pal Noelle was releasing her new EP at the Wilmington Art Loop, so we went to grab a copy and to see the gorgeous photo exhibit of images by Joe del Tufo that accompanied the album. We then went to the DCCA to see Lauren at her art studio and seeing all of her paintings made me itchy to paint again. So I started a new piece soon to be called "Hello, Pinball." I love it so far... really proud of it, but the hardest part (the lettering) hasn't begun yet. I can't decide what color to make the letters yet. Hmmmm.

7) Tonight while I was painting, I saw the BIGGEST FUCKING ANT I have ever seen in my life, and I ran screaming as if I were getting axed in the face. Matt saved the day with a slipper... and it took me 10 minutes for my heart to stop leaping out of my chest. I love bugs, spiders, beetles... but ants? NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE. Little ants? If there's only one or two, I'm ok... but if there's a line, or wosre, a pile? AAAAAIIIGGHH!! And big ants (like carpenter ants)? FUCK THAT GET A BAT. This ant that I saw was waaaay bigger than a standard-issue carpenter ant. I don't know what the hell kind of radioactive mutant ant it was, but if I had to guess, it was probably called a OH MY GOD GET IT AWAY FROM ME KILL IT WITH FIRE ant. 

8) When my company was born all those years ago, one of the first things I did was hire an accountant/bookkeeper. Her name is Carol, and I honestly couldn't run my business without her. She's funny, she's brilliant, she talks to me like I'm six, she fixes my QuickBooks stupidity, she handles forms and files my taxes and just takes care of everything and keeps me out of jail. I love her. Welp, she used to be a one-person business, and then she got bought out by a bigger firm, and now that firm is focusing on wealth-management clients and getting rid of their accounting/bookkeeping clients. I am heartbroken. I mean, I totally understand of course. So we're trying to tie up as many loose ends by the end of the month as possible, because she officially goes away on June 30th. It is daunting trying to find a bookkeeper, an accountant, and someone who can run my payroll under one roof, so I figure I'll go back to using Paychex for my payroll at least. No idea about the bookkeeper/accountant yet. Gotta move on that soon, though. 

9) Last but not least: I need to see my folks; it's been too long, and I miss them. I have to figure out a Fathers Day Plan. I'm gonna call my folks tomorrow and see what they're thinkin'. 

Allrighty-- that's all the news that's fit for bloggin'.


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6/15 '17
 

I taught from Monday through Thursday (today) at Wharton Business School (at Penn) this week. It felt good to get back in the saddle.  It's Penn's spring break this week, so we were able to snag one of the really nice classrooms in the basement of Vance Hall, which is on the corner of 38th and Spruce.  There is no cell signal in that there basement, so if you need to send/receive a text you have to go into the stairwell that leads outside so you can pick up just enough signal to send/receive a few characters.  Plus, I'm not on their WiFi/network, so I really am cut off from the world from 7:50am - 4:30pm. (I should add that by the time I get home from teaching all day, I am 100000% out of spoons, so I don't even get online, really. I'll check my work email via my phone, and that's all I got. LJ/OPW/Twitter/Instagram? Nosiree.)

Anyway, the last time I taught at Wharton, I had Delaware Express Shuttle drive me to and from Penn every day... but at $130 EACH WAY (yes, really... $260/day x 4 days, that's over $1000 just to get to and from work each day.  Granted, it also involves the least amount of hassle, and since Wharton is paying a pretty penny for this training, I didn't really feel all that bad about spending that money (crazy as it sounds).  

So, this time around I decided to take SEPTA for the first time in my 18 years of living in Delaware.  So I had Delaware Express drive me TO Penn in the morning, and in the afternoons I would walk to the University City station and ride SEPTA to Claymont for $6.50.  Much better than $130.

Yesterday (Wednesday) the train schedule was such that by the time I ended class, I'd have to wait over an hour before my train would leave, and I wouldn't be home until 5:45pm. We had a Billy Joel tribute band rehearsal last night, and I desperately wanted to take a nap between teaching and rehearsal, but I knew I wouldn't be able to fit a nap in if I took the train.

Anyway, after class yesterday I grabbed my backpack and walked down Spruce St. towards the University City train station, and I'm weighing the pros and cons of taking the train as planned for $6.50 (even though the train didn't leave Philly for a good 75 minutes. I also considered calling an Uber to see if they would just drive me home thanks to the miracle of credit cards... and then I decided, "Screw it. I'll take a cab, then. I wanna get home, I wanna lose this heavy backpack, I wanna take a nap... but most importantly, I wanna see my guy."  As my eyeballs scanned Spruce Street for a cab without passengers, a car beeps next to me... and it's a green Mini Cooper with Matt behind the wheel!  Apparently he had texted me 7238 times asking if I'd like a ride home (messages I never received due to the location of my classroom); and when he didn't receive a response, he decided "Screw it.  I'm gonna go get her."   What makes it nuttier is that Matt doesn't 'normally' drive up South Street / Spruce Street to get to Wharton (the whole ONE other time he's been to Wharton), and instead he'd normally take some weird back streets... but something made him take Spruce, and we like to psychically believe it's because he somehow "knew" that I would be walking down that road at that time.  So I jumped in his car.  We kept saying, "Oh my god! This is so crazy! What are the chances I'd be walking on this street at the same time you decided to drive up it?"  Boom!

As if that wasn't amazing enough, today I finished up my class and a few students wanted to hang out and chat, so I did... all while covertly keeping an eye on the clock because I didn't want to miss my noon train... which I did.  No worries though... after I said goodbye to the students, I gathered my stuff and walked out of the building, and onto Spruce Street... and suddenly Bobbi Block is standing in front of me, fresh off the plane from New Zealand, and we are staring at each other, totally baffled and excited and giggling to be seeing each other so randomly and unexpectedly (not to mention out of context).  We kept saying "Oh my god! This is crazy! What are the chances of us walking this way right now?"

I love when cool stuff like that happens.

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3/9 '17 5 Comments
Look behind you!
That is magic indeed!
Whoa, neat! I love it when cool stuff like that happens, too.

Also like you: I tend to want to go home and veg out after working all day. I love love love my job, but it fully depletes the energy stores in my brainpan!
Sharon Crowley 3/10 '17
Lesson 2: Take NJ Transit to Manhattan from Princeton Junction. Compare and contrast to Amtrak fares and comforts.
Jixel 3/23 '17
Oh yes, how I love that trick. 12 bucks vs. 140 bucks. Kinda ridiculous. And Amtrak wonders why more people don't ride...