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! 

12/3 '18 3 Comments
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 '18
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.

We've been at my folks' place since Sunday. Dad had carpal-tunnel surgery on his wrench-turnin' hand on Monday, and he was very worried about how it was gonna go. If he can't use his right hand, he might as well check himself into the rest home, since fixing cars and building stuff (and caring for my mom) is what keeps him alive. 

The good news is that the surgery went smooove like buttah, and 10 minutes after he got home he made himself an omelet with his bionic hand... so he's fine. Now that he's a few days out his fingers are a little black and blue, but it's really all good.  Today at 2:45 we take him for his post-op follow-up, and then we'll head back home. 

We have this rhythm here at my folks' place where my parents get up early (around 7) and fix themselves some coffee and a small bite. It wakes me up, but I stay in bed snoozing. I They are so sweet and kind to each other in the mornings, and it makes me happy.  Then my mom goes back to bed, and my dad goes out to get coffee and bullshit with the guys at Steve's Transmissions for a few hours, and he gets home around 11. By then Matt gets up and brings me a cup of coffee in bed because he is the best, and then he hangs with my folks a bit while I build up the courage/strength to put on pants and go out to the kitchen with everyone. By this time my folks' morning sweetness has worn off and they're both back to interrupting and my dad answering for my mom and then my mom getting defensive and my dad not understanding why she's suddenly pissy and then I explain Communication 101 and then a lightbulb goes off for a moment until they both find it easier to deem me too preachy than it is to try changing how they talk to each other.  

So I'm still in bed at 11:58am. I need to get out there and I don't wanna. 


I have been go-go-go since the end of October, as companies are rushing to spend their training budgets so they don't lose them for next year. I've had classes in TX, Denver, Philly, and then I took a class in DC, then we went to CT for Thanksgiving, then we had a gig in West Chester on Saturday, and then we left for NJ (here) the next day.  I haven't had a day off in a while, and I need one.  The emails are piling up (work emails and friendly emails) and I haven't had much time to even read them let alone reply. If I owe you an email, I promise I'm working on it. 

Next week (Dec 3-6) I teach a class at UPenn again, and the following week (Dec 10-13) is another class that I just don't feel like teaching since it's the week before our big Christmas Show (which is on the 15th), so I'm having my pal Joyce teach it. We're gonna be building sets and rehearsing and panicking that week, so there was no way I could be away for the week. With Joyce teaching the class, I'm not making as much on the class as I normally would since I have to pay for her airfare, hotel, and instructor fee, but I'll still make something, and something is better than if I had just turned the work away and gotten nothing.

I have a ton of other work to do and no desire to do it... I'm not sure if this is some low-level depression, the start of the winter blues, or just general laziness. Probably some combo thereof.

In other news entirely, a few weeks ago I was taking a class in Washington DC and I took the train down. DC's Union Station has a bunch of mall-esque stores in it, and I was worried I was gonna be cold as I walked to/from class, so I popped in a store I'd never heard of and bought a warm undershirt for $19.00. And now, I have a new fucking addiction... these HeatTech bra-top undershirts by Uniqlo. Most bra-top undershirts have a totally useless shelf-bra, but these things have this kinda combo shelf-cup configuration that HOLY BALLS actually handles my mutant titties better than any other actual bra I have ever worn.  Going from a 40DD to a 32-Pfffft is impossible to fit, and these things work (they actually work!!), praise jeeeesus!  I bought a bunch more, so I pretty much haven't taken one off since November 13th... and ta-daaa. I am comfortable and warm (and perky!) for the first time in well over a decade. 

Perhaps that is TMI. Perhaps I don't care.

It's my blog, and I'll TMI if I want to. :)

Ok, time to get motivated. Bleh.

11/29 '18 8 Comments
Winter blahs, I prescribe a full spectrum light in your work space. At the minimum a daylight spectrum light. It makes a huge difference in my mid-winter demeanor.

I was up in central Massachusetts for the holiday and holy balls, a couple hundred miles northeast and you notice how much earlier the sun goes down up there as opposed to in Philadel.

And yes, TMI. But you be you. I now know more about the state of your chest than I ever did before, or am comfortable knowing. #nerdworldproblems

And if you haven't taken off a shirt since November 13th, perhaps it's time to give it a rest and maybe launder it.
Ray Conrad 11/29 '18
I've been meaning to get a full-spectrum light for a looong time, but just... haven't. Perhaps I shall Amazon One-click one into existence. :)

And dooood, I shower with this undershirt/bra on, so IT'S CLEAN, OKAY? (I kid.)
(googles "heat tech bra top undershirt uniqlo")
I have the opposite of your boobs. My bra size is 40 A.72 or something. I buy 40 Bs with push-up padding, so there's extra mass inside the cup, so the bra will fit. I would buy 40 As. They don't exist. I will buy damn near anything that has padded cups. Did you get the one with camisole straps or wider straps?

So this one time I was at a Barenaked Ladies concert at the Spectrum (RIP), and people were throwing their bras onstage. It was New Year's, so Steve and Ed would take the bras and put them on the Christmas tree upstage. It was a very polite crowd, so bras were being passed via the crowd to the stage. Every time a bra made it to the front, Steve or Ed would bow in thanks, and add it to the tree. I happened to be wearing a leopard print bra that I didn't hate, but wouldn't have shed tears if I never saw it again, and I was considering trying to get it passed up to the stage. Then a huge burly bearded guy in the front row passed a bra to the stage, and Steve did a double take and asked, "is this yours, sir?" Then Ed said, "What size is it, a 40 A?"

I decided not to participate.

Digression is the better part of valor.

Glad you're taking good care of your folks. Fist bump of solidarity.
Ahhhhh yes, boob-shame. I know it well.

Remind me to tell you about The Summer I Went Crazy and had a one-night stand with a guy in Philly and the boobs of shame. Let's just say my Victoria's Secret push-up bra did a wholllllllle lotta false advertising, and the let-down was SO AWKWARD and AWFUL. (Oh. Looks like I just told you.)
OMG I now have to email you. I remember ALL boob conversations we have ever had.
I'll have to check out the bra-top undershirts. My man boobs are getting out of control with your run of the mill bra.

(Thrilled beyond words to hear that Dad's bionic wrench turnin' hand is fully function.)
Hahaha! It's a "Bro" or a "Manssiere." (Thanks, Seinfeld!)
Great news about your Dad!
Also I love that you get the chance to hear your parents being lovely to each other.


The thing I teach is this thing called "ITIL" which is basically a set of books that give you ideas on how to make your IT department suck less.  When I teach what's known as an "ITIL Foundation" class, I'm basically giving a 3-day lecture on the highlights of these books (kinda like a live-action Cliffs Notes), and then I proctor the official Certification Exam that "proves" that people remember the highlights and major plot points of these books. 

When these books first came out in 1989-ish, they were a set of 31 books. They were revised in 1999 and they shrunk down to 8 books (though they added a 9th one later) -- that was called "ITIL v2," and then in 2007 it became 5 books ("ITIL V3"). In 2011, they did a teeny little update to the five ITIL V3 books and there was confusion in the industry as to whether it was still called "ITIL V3" or if it was called "ITIL 2011" or just plain ol' "ITIL." But it stayed five books.

A new version just sorta came out in beta, and only instructors have access to this draft version (called "ITIL 4"). Instructors have to be certified in it before we're allowed to teach it, obviously.  The new version won't be officially released until February-ish, and the new ITIL 4 Foundation exams will go live around then.

I'm heading down to Washington DC today because the ITIL Mothership is holding a  Train the Trainer Class on Thursday and Friday... and then Friday afternoon I'll also take the Foundation Exam.  This new version is soooooooooo fundamentally different than any of its predecessors that I am worried I'm gonna fail this exam on Friday... and boy howdy won't that be embarrassing. 

I know when ITIL V2 moved to ITIL V3 in 2007, I was convinced I'd never ever be comfy or fluent in the V3 material... and hey, look at me, I'm considered a fancy-pants subject matter expert and I haven't had an in-person student flunk the exam on my watch since 2009, and people buy access to my online instructional videos and send me fan-mail thanking me for helping them nail the exam. So maybe I'm not as dumb as I think. 

But this new version... man. I read it, and it means nothing to me... and I channel Matt Lichtenwalner ​​​​​​'s friend Don and kinda giggle because all I see are "worrrrrrrrds..."  O_o

In other news, a few weeks ago I had two root canals and one of them turned to the dark side and got infected (yum) so my face blew up and it hurt... so I jumped on 10 days of antibiotics. Those ended on November 5th.

On Monday of this week they had to do more dental work, and now the *other* root-canaled tooth has turned to the dark side. So I'll be on yet another stupid round of antibiotics starting in an hour or so. Sick of this, you guys.  (I swear I brush and floss! I even have a Sonicare and a WaterPik that I use religiously!)  And my dentist is awesome... so I don't know why my teef rebel like this. It hurts, and I look like an idiot with my face all lopsided yet again.  (Perfect for meeting new people!)

It's supposed to be a wintry mix of blecch from DC to NYC for the next few days, and the hotel I'm staying in is about 1/2 mile from the Sofitel hotel where the training is at. (As much as I wanted to stay at the Sofitel, I couldn't justify $800/night. So it'll be $400/night instead at the Hampton Inn... ouch.) I'm not looking forward to walking 1/2 mile in the icy snow to/from class, but I also know that 1/2 mile is just not far enough to justify calling an Uber/Lyft.  So I will comfort and warm my heart by flipping the bird at The White House as I walk directly past it on the walk to/from class each day. 

I am looking forward to meeting my friend Dan for dinner tonight since he lives in DC. He's been my pal since Kindergarten, and he's fucking awesome. We were in punk band in high school together and he is one of those "touchstone" people in my life. Stoked to see him. 

This will be my first work-trip (or any trip, really) in forever where Matt isn't coming with me. I haz a sad. But honestly, I'm gonna be studying each night, so I wouldn't be that much fun to hang around anyway.

In other news, this Saturday night we are playing in a big-ol' tribute to The Who, and I am pretty excited about it.  Good lordy, the song "Slip Kid" is so much fun to play. Plus I'm getting to play trumpet on "5:15," "Drowned," and "The Real Me," and it's a blast.  I can't remember if I've ever performed on The Grand Opera House stage before... it's a 1200-seat theater. I feel like I would have remembered that. *shrug*

Ok, time to get out of bed. (I've been up since 8, but I just like being in bed.)

11/14 '18 6 Comments
I can't imagine that it's possible that you haven't performed at the Grande. Maybe at the Baby Grande? Dunno.

Anywho - sounds like you're pretty slammed over the next couple of days, but I will be working in DC (or nearby) both days (weather permitting) so ping me if you want to grab coffee.
I gather you’ll have little time, but if you do, pop into the Renwick? (right around the corner from the White House) Also, Air Canada has a pop up Poutine restaurant in DC this season. Also also, Thursday evening Local 16 DC bar has a Broadway singalong. Pop pop pop.
Ursula Sadiq 11/14 '18edited
I’m stressed out for you, just reading this. I have a feeling that once you figure out the pattern, you’ll triumph.
I never have figured out what ITIL is except that "we don't have it" and "we need it."

And you've already taught me something, as now I know it is "ideas on how to make your IT department suck less."
Chris Herdt 11/20 '18
Take a whole bunch of really smart IT managers and come up with a very long list of their best practices for running IT organizations (big and small). Put it through the 'common language' filter so that everyone understands everyone else.

Now distill all that stuff down into something that doesn't take a lifetime to learn.

Voila! ITIL
Matt Lichtenwalner 11/21 '18edited
ETA: ITIL CAN take a lifetime to master, of course - like anything. Ms. Knapp seems to have an uncanny ability in that department. Smart one, she.

The last two years haven't been as travel-intense as prior years, which is great for my laziness and introversion, and crappy for my love of flying and desire to hoard frequent flyer miles. 

Right now we're on a plane to Denver, where I will have to accept that it really is fall and approaching winter; it's been easy to forget that in Delaware.  

We'll be in Denver until Friday, and my days will be packed with teaching a new client, and my nights will be spent recovering.

I first got my travelly job in 2007 and I told myself how exciting it would be to get to see all of these great cities... but the reality is that I know what the airport and the hotel of that city looks like. I can count on one hand the number of times I ventured out after work to explore the city I was in... but most of the time I'm just too exhausted. When I teach, I'm essentially delivering a 7-to-8-hour monologue, and when the day is done I just want to go back to my hotel room, order room service, and be in bed by 8. Not very exciting, I know. 

When I travel to a city where friends of mine live, I don't even bother telling them I'll be there, because I know I won't have enough gas in the ol' tank to hang out. Sad. Lame. All that. 

Tomorrow is the mid-term election day, and Matt and I submitted our absentee ballots a week or two ago, so we're all set there.  I'm kinda curious how the Pennsylvania districts will vote now that they re-drew so many districts because they were gerrymandered for so long. 

I have so much work to do between now and November 17th-- I'm kinda overwhelmed.  I need to learn a ton of music for this tribute to The Who that we're doing on 11/17 (but I have to have the music learned by the 11th so I don't sound like an ass at rehearsal-- I'm singing, percussioning, and playing trumpet); plus I have to read and fully grok a 215-page book for work by 11/14 because I'm headed to DC on the 14th to attend a Train the Trainer class on the 15th and 16th and I'll be taking the exam for it on the 16th, and I MUST pass it. I have to be able to write courseware for it and teach a class based on it by the end of the year, and I can't teach it if I'm not certified in it.  It'll all get done somehow, but right now it just feels impossible. 

OK, gonna make use of this flight time and start working on chipping away at some of this stuff.

In other news, I hate being cold. Denver in November is no place to try to be warm.

Ok bye.

11/5 '18 3 Comments
Safe travels and good health, love.
Sending warm thoughts to fend off the impending frostbite.
Ray Conrad 11/5 '18
what album(s)/song(s) are you doing for the Who thing?
CM Adams 11/7 '18

I've never said or typed "herml-blermbl" before, but it just seems to fit.

I have a buncha half-written drafts here on OPW and I want to finish them and tell y'all what's been happenin' (and also to remind myself later what was happenin'), but I just... don't do it. Herml-blermbl.

So, here's a redux:

-- Beatlefest (July 16-21) was unfathomably satisfying and I really feel like we pulled off a nigh-impossible feat with very high quality... the highest to date. We had top-notch musicians/players who were all incredible readers, which was gonna be the only way we'd ever get to play 215 songs over 6 nights. Reading the charts, listening to each other, and watch Rich or Joe for the ending for the songs that faded out on the actual record. I'm really proud of what we did, and I'm excited it's now officially an annual thing and has caught the attention of all of the Delaware tourism groups and chamber of commerce and politicians and hoteliers and stuff... so they're gonna throw money and marketing behind it next year to make it something that the state celebrates and hotels offer package deals and yadda yadda yadda.  They're also trying to move it to the 1200-seat Grand Opera House, which is pretty amazing. 

-- I jumped back on Facebook because people were "very upset" they couldn't tag me in BeatleFest photos. #firstworldproblems  It is time to disable that shit nowwwww. 

-- We are derg-sitting Riley The Mutt again; she belongs to Nick and Nancy D'Argenio. They actually spell her name "Rylee" but when this derg is here she is MY derg and that's how I spell it, so there. I love having a doggo in the house. She is such a good, good, good, and pretty girl. JD was such a guy-dog, but Rhieleighe is so dainty and girlie, even though she's a mutt and not any kind of fancy foo-foo breed. She's still very much a doggo, though. 

-- I give the WeRateDogs guy sole credit for inventing the little dog-lingo the entire internetz now uses have when talking about dogs. The whole "heckin' good doggo 12/10 would pet" sentence structure amuses and delights me (and I didn't even do it right).

-- I've had a co-worker for the last 6-ish years that I've only ever worked with remotely... I'd never met him before in person. But this week he was teaching in Philly so we invited him down for dinner and for a jam session, because he's about to retire and do music full-time. I'm so happy for him! We had a great time. He said that he's the only democrat/non-Trump guy in his entire neighborhood... ugh, poor guy. I let him drink from our ITMFA mug and he was delighted!

-- Andrew Durkin (my musical collaborator since 1986) flew to the east coast today, and he'll be here for a week. From this-coming Monday to Thursday we're gonna get together and work on Sunnyvale material... Sunnyvale is the band that is me, Matt, Andrew, and Leo. (In the '90s I was in a regionally-successful band called The Evelyn Situation with both Andrew and Leo (and some other folks)... so getting to make music with them plus Matt is a musical dream come true for me.  We're gonna rehearse and record at my folks' place in north Jersey. 

-- My parents' 51st anniversary is this coming week, so we're taking them out to dinner on Sunday night. I asked my brother how many folks from his clan were coming, and he said "Just me and Mindy" (his wife).  I said, "No kids?" He said, "One kid is at camp and the other one has something else going on, and the oldest lives near college now. So yeah, just me and Mindy."  Call me weird, but whether I was 14, 17, or 22 (the ages of their 3 kids), I never had a choice about whether or not I'd attend a grandparent-related event... it was expected I'd go.  It feels weird to me that it's just kinda optional for them.  My folks are gonna be really disappointed, but hey, it's not my call. 

-- Matt and I are going to Burning Man this year... the last time we went was 2011, which was Matt's first time, and we left before the man even burned.  This year we are determined to stay for the man burning (Saturday before Labor Day) as well as the temple burn (Labor Day eve), but I'm not sure if it'll be do-able given his near-daily anxiety attacks.  He is hoping for some mystical, magical, cosmic ass-kicking. Perhaps some, um, molecular encouragement will help... or it'll kill him when his brain separates from his body permanently. We'll see. Or we won't.  But either way, this is the 10th Anniversary of Patty and Mike's Burning Man wedding that I officiated, so they wanna have a Vow Renewal Ceremony with me at the helm again. It won't be nearly as elaborate, but just a little something to commemorate a decade of awesome. 

-- We had our 8th Hot Breakfast Summer Blowout at Bellefonte Cafe on Friday the 27th and it was sold out since the Wednesday before. That was nice to hear. 

-- My music schedule is super-busy between now and the end of November. This is cool.

-- There's a new edition of ITIL (the thing I teach) coming out in Q1 2019, and the ITIL Mothership has chosen me (me!) and my videos to be the one they wanna help be first to market.  This pleases and flatters me greatly. It's nice to be recognized by the creator of the thing I'm a specialist in that yep, they agree I don't suck.  Woot! 

-- Food has been getting stuck in my dumb esophagus for years, which means I only eat a few bites per meal... which means I'm down to 111 pounds which is TOO DAMN SCRAWNY​​​​​​.  So my GP finally prescribed a thing I can take before I eat that will loosen things up and allow me to eat a full meal without having to pause after two bites and sit awkwardly and uncomfortably.  I'm so excited!! Hopefully I'll get some friggin' meat back on my bones. I look like Skeletor. 

-- I sleep on a towel every night and soak through it every night. Very sexy. I wish someone would yank out my girl parts... I DON'T NEED THEM.

--Matt's MiniCooper (Janice) doesn't have too much life left in her, unfortunately. So we need to decide: New Mini? Or Chevy Cruze which we fell in love with unexpectedly on a business trip when I was randomly assigned one by the rental car place?

-- I paid for the NYTimes digital edition as well as for access to the digital versions of their crosswords. I loooove their mini-crosswords (they take me anywhere from 40 seconds to 2-3 mins). But their full-size crosswords start easy on Monday and get harder through the week. I can only do their Monday and Tuesday ones, and then they get too hard for me because I'm dummm. But I love doing them. 

-- I'm sorry I haven't been posting or commenting here much... but I have been reading everything.  I love you all very much. 

-- I'm forgetting stuff but I need to sleep. 

(In fact I just nodded off and dreamt that Nik Everett is Matt's cousin Amy's grandfather and he was giving a speech on a baseballfield about having to give her away at her wedding. But she wasn't there to hear the speech so I was recording it with my phone and then a muslim hardcore/speedmetal band started setting up around him and just started playing playing in full burqas... but they turned out to be guys just trying to push the envelope... but they were really good! My brain is weird.)


Congratulations on many things and best wishes on the test. I miss you.
Thank you, m'dear! Miss you right back. Lots.
I'd describe this as "too much on my plate".

Speaking of dogs and Burning Man. My dog and I have an appointment on Monday at the vet to get her reassessed for her cancer. I'm really hoping I don't have to send you to the burn with something for the temple.

See my next post about dogs, re: my latest foster dog.

You are not twenty any longer. Time to suck it up and drink some ensure. And follow up with your doctor. Get the medicine. Take the medicine. BE the medicine. Ohm.

For what it's worth, get rid of the baby factory but keep the playpen.

The mini cooper news reminds me that I saw a VW Scirocco on the highway this morning. I beeped the horn and gave the guy a thumbs up. I always wanted one back when.

Get a motor home for the trip to the playa. That way Matt can have a rest spot that he can retreat to. And lock the door. Plus, air conditioning.

Sorry I missed the Beatles Fest and the summer show. Too damn busy with the house.
Ray Conrad 8/3 '18
Oh no... please keep me posted on your dog's appointment. I hope everything is fine and you have many long years of belly rubs ahead of you. And if you want me to bring general good wishes to the temple, say the word! It doesn't have to be all sad. I can even post some gratitude for your roof!

The good news is that we have already rented a foo-foo trailer for Burning Man (I always rent a trailer or RV because I am a princess... but this one is extra-nice) so we will have an extra-comfy refuge for when we need to hermit. Plus we'll have air conditioning if things get extreeeeme (though really, opening the windows and getting a cross-breeze really is lovely and often plenty adequate). And we'll have a fridge and a shower... and best of all, the Home Toilet Advantage. PortaJohns be damned. :-)

Oh-- I didn't realize I stopped typing in the middle of my medical bit above (gonna fix that now)... but I just took this new med today and HOLY LORD I ate a full meal today and it is miraculous. If ClassicJill ever knew there would be a future day I wished I could gain 15 pounds, she would laugh me the hell out of the room.
I’m always amazed that you can be in a state where you have too much on your plate, yet reading your posts makes me feel more pragmatic and positive. You have an ability to embrace the notion that happiness takes work and that makes me feel like doing happy work.
Lindsay Harris-Friel 8/3 '18edited
Here we go - in order. (Sorta.)

*inhales deeply*

-"herml-blermbl" are EXACTLY the right words there.

-Beatlefest - I'm really sorry that I missed it, but I'm overjoyed that it went so well, that you enjoyed it so thoroughly, and (perhaps most especially) to hear about the marketing push you guys will have next year! That sounds super rad. Do kids say rad these days? I doubt it. Maybe it's retro again? I'm old - what I'm saying here is that I'm old.

-"Rylee" - Why is there no doggo pic for this post?! I feel terribly let down by you Miss Knapp. Also, I genuinely burst out laughing when I read "Rhieleighe"

-"heckin" - this lingo absolutely slays me. Watch this video ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCY3xsz-6zI )if you haven't seen it already - but really, just the first dog (giant poodle) because they're the 80/20 in just a few seconds of video.

- Durkin's visit - Well shit. Of COURSE it's the week that I'm headed to Maine with my family to see my grandfather. Please give Durkin my unending respect and lerv. Very sorry I'm going to miss the guy.

- "51st anniversary" - Please give them my lerv and congratulations!

- "Burning Man" - I wish like Hell I could make it this year for Patty and Mike's anniversary. I've been thinking about the Burn a lot over the last couple of years, and I kinda have the itch to go again - even if it wasn't for such a good 'excuse', but it's just not in the cards. I may have to send something with you for them if that wouldn't be too much of a PITA? I hope the RV helps soothe Matt's experience. Still renting from the same lady?

- Bellefonte Cafe - Sorry I didn't make it. Went to Slackerbot, and you woulda dug it. You guys get me for the next one. Promise. ;)

- ITIL - This is SO good to hear, even if it's not terribly shocking. You're amazing at what you do. You think things through and prepare. You actually work at that annoying little thing called 'quality'. You f***ing _get it_. I know my opinion doesn't amount to a hill of beans here given my vast influence in the industry which is why I'm so psyched to hear that the people whose opinions DO matter are paying attention. Endlessly and eternally proud of you despite my having no influence on your work whatsoever. ;)

-I wanna new drug, so I can actually swallow - okay, so after my inner Beavis shuts up for a minute... glad to hear this. Pretty sure I speak for the whole clan when I say that we like our Jill healthy. :)

- New Car - I legitimately have no advice here. I drove a Cruze once - in much the same circumstances that you did, but mine was not cleaned properly after a smoker had it and it was just... gross, so no real love there for Yours Truly.

That about covers that for now.
Last time we met I was wondering if you weren't maybe starting to approach scrawny ... though it's not my business I'm glad your doc found something that will help you stay healthy!

An annual BeatleFest with city/state arts funding support sounds AWESOME. I fear that Joe may have taken himself to the cleaners putting it together, so hopefully some real and steady funding will come through for next year.
Thank you for not mentioning my scrawniness in person (though if you had, I would have known it was out of love).

People (mostly acquaintances) either say "OMG YOU'RE SO SKINNY GAAAH EAT A SANDWICH JEEZ" to which I want to reply "I would actually give anything to eat a sandwich," or they say "Wow girl, you look soooooo great and skinny!" to which I want to reply, "Thank you that's lovely, but I have pretty serious health issues because I'm so undernourished. But hey, I'm glad my illness pleases your sense of female aesthetics." :-D

Hopefully neither of these will be a thing soon. Yay!
I haven't seen you for a while (sorry) but I always thought of you as Jill shaped and birdlike.
Well, this is the thing, right? As to any "you look great because you're skinny," fuck that shit and the horse that those commenters ride in on and smash the patriarchy.

As to health, I can say, "Oh, hey, Jill, you're lookin' a little on the slim side lately," and, you know, I'm guessing that YOU ALREADY KNOW THAT. You already know if, say, your pants are a little looser than they used to be and whether your favorite top is starting to look a little baggy. Also, you're an adult, and so I figure you're taking care of it or you're trying to, and I'm not your mom. And also I'm not going to embarrass both of us by bringing it up in public -- there's no comfortable response to "you're skinny" -- or risk maybe throwing you off your performance game by saying something just before you get on stage.

Not saying anything ever will possibly make me look like I don't care, but it's a hard needle to thread, figuring out what to say and when to say it about someone's appearance. I try to hit the MYOB eye of that needle.

In conclusion, I'm really happy you're getting some medical help with it. Here's to sandwiches.
Michele Grant 8/5 '18edited
Yep! You get it entirely.

I know what I look like and how my pants fit, and I know that it's noticeable. And I also I know you love me, and I know you know I love you, and I know you're polite and awesome enough not to say anything about my potentially unhealthy appearance unless I bring it up. This is the way the universe should be. (But again, if you did bring it up randomly, I wouldn't have been offended or mad, because I would know it was coming from a place of love and concern. It would take a HELL of a lot to make me mad at you.

The best kinds of friends are ones where you never have to question the friendship... you just know it's good good good.

Sing it! "Thank you for being a frieeeeend!"
You never cease to amaze me.
SFM 8/5 '18
Hey! It's great to see you here! Welcome!!
My parents do the NYT crosswords all week and solve them "together" (one takes a crack then the other then I think they work together). Good stuff!

Also: AWESOME about all the music. Keep me posted on dates for next year.

Lastly, we're hoping do see the Dead Milkmen at the Ardmore Music Hall on 9/21 if we can (it's sold out, we're on a ticket waiting list) and then have GA tickets for Paul Simon's LAST CONCERT EVER in NY the next night. Just in case you're doing any of those things...
Avocado Tom 8/9 '18
How many tix do you need for the Milkmen show on 9/21? I miiiiight be able to getcha on the list. Lemme see what I can do!
Two would be AMAZEballs.
Avocado Tom 8/15 '18

I like watching SNL via YouTube clip a day or two after the show.  I have been loving SNL super-hard since last year (along with the rest of the universe), but last night's Larry David /Miley Cyrus episode left me wanting. Weekend Update was great as usual, though.

I've never seen Curb Your Enthusiasm so I have no feelings either way about Larry David, but I felt like he didn't have much to work with this week.

I heard Miley Cyrus interviewed on Howard Stern and respected her-- she seems to have a good head on her shoulders and a healthy understanding about who she is and where her place is in the universe. I also think she has a powerful voice, and an accurate voice, too-- but the musician in me wishes her songs weren't so contrived and dumb, and I wish she didn't rely so heavily on "faux R-and-B melisma thinly veiled as passion and soul." Just fucking sing the song. (Then again, I wish someone would give her something better to sing... but then again, she is in her early 20s and maybe that's all she has to sing about right now.). 

Everyone's a critic, apparently.

My UPenn consulting gig is going well, though I really don't feel like they need me very much, though they use me a lot. I think they just use me as a sanity check/training wheels, but their own instincts are great and they don't really need my guidance. I'm happy to give them the extra assurance if it makes them feel better, though. 

Hot Breakfast is back in the studio and we've got two songs done; "Giants are Sleeping" which is a dream Matt had, and "Taking Care of Bobby" which is about someone who is taking care of a person ("Bobby") with a mental illness. Bobby was once a famous musician and now decades later he's become unwieldy and unstable and relies on the kindness of others until he wears out his welcome and is foisted on some other unsuspecting fan.  We're about to start recording our Meatloaf-esque epic song "Open Mic Night," which is an 8-minute monstrosity with skits and everything. I'm ridiculously excited about it.

I've been doing a lot of voiceover work lately. My latest project is that I'm the voice of New Mexico's health insurance exchanges (e.g., "don't forget to choose a healthcare plan under Obamacare" since open enrollment is HELLA SHORT this year and ends December 15th and the healthcare.gov website is closed Sundays I shit you not. (Fuck you, Trump.))   I'm also the voice of St. Francis Healthcare, which is a hospital in Wilmington.  It's fun to hear my voice in commercials when I'm listening to the radio in the shower. 

Yesterday Matt and I played in a memorial softball game for our friend Joel who died two years ago. Joel loved softball, so our friend Kevin Regan organized a game so we could do something fun on what would normally be a sad day. It was a gorgeous, crisp fall day, and we had fun.  I played catcher which means I did 73,000 squats, which means I can barely walk today.  But I did hit both righty and lefty which was fun.  Matt pitched really well, and also hit really well, too. A fine day out.

Allrighty, I'm gonna sign off-- got stuff to do.

11/5 '17 17 Comments
When Weekend Update comes on, I chant "Che! Che! Che" and Houser says, "Johhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhst!"
Yeah, those guys have really nailed it. I really look forward to that segment, and I love how they react to each other.
H loves it when they crack each other up. I love the Michael Che eyeroll that ends up as laughter.

We ended up fast-forwarding Larry David's monologue. Holocaust jokes are in poor taste, but maybe salvageable if the comedian is Jewish ... maybe. But why, why waste the audience's time and emotional energy with Holocaust jokes that are not at all funny, not to the Jews and not to the goyim? UGH.
Shelle Klein Houser 11/5 '17edited
I didn't even get to watch the monologue yet... and now I won't. Thanks for saving me a click!
I've been pretty underwhelmed by SNL for a long time, but I'm with you both - Weekend Update is fantastic and pretty much always makes me lol.
Ooh I'd love to hear those ads! I just started copying all my old voiceover tapes to digital and would love to share (OMG my little baby voice back then!), but have no idea how to share them on FB or here...
Jenn A 11/6 '17
Soundcloud is your friend... or even just save 'em to Dropbox and share the public links. Nuthin' to it! I'd love to hear yours, too!
Didn't know I could use Dropbox, thanks!!! Just posted one to FB, here's the link because I know you're never on there. :) https://www.dropbox.com/s/0r5wwosn8x2b507/Jenn%20Del%20Val%20College%20spot.wav?dl=0
Jenn A 11/7 '17
DOOOOOD! I finally had a chance to listen to this! (I couldn't play it on my phone because crappy phone.) This is awesome!! Is the whole thing your voice-- even at the end with the phone numbers? It sounds like two totally different people! I can't tell either way... on one hand I think it's you, and then I listen again and I'm like "mmmmaybe it is?" Eeeeeeeeeeee!

If you want, I'd be happy to toss your name into the pool if/when my guy needs another female voice, because I absolutely can't do that awesome character you did there. You rocketh mightily!
I would love that!!!! Thanks! It's actually 2 different voices -- the one at the end is Lucy St. James, who was the ad production person at the time (I forget what station she's at now). She did most of the radio spots that the station recorded for clients... but if the client wanted a "character" (like in that one) she'd poke her head into my office and be like, "can I steal you for 15 minutes?" :)
Jenn A 11/9 '17
Holy crap - I wanna hear those too! Any chance we can convince you to share with the rest of the class?
I posted one on FB (same as the link above)... I'll put the others up this weekend. :)
Jenn A 11/9 '17
Excellent! I will be checking these out ASAP.
Can I ask how you got started doing the voiceover stuff? I have to confess to being a little curious about that myself. Not that I think I have a great voice or anything, but I'm thinking a LOT about side gigs right now, and pretty much any kind of creative work seems like it would be really good.
It really was just a case of being in the right place at the right time, and knowing the right people. I hate to say it, but it's true.

I got that Cream of Wheat voiceover in 7th grade because Nabisco's headquarters was in my town, and they wanted cheap labor, so they sent a guy to the middle school and asked the Broadcasting Club advisor (Mr. Ginsberg!) if he had any club members that had good voices, and Ginsberg recommended me. So I recorded the spot, not really knowing what I was doing, but I guess I came across like I wasn't a total idiot. But that was the first thing on the resume that made me appear "legit."

In high school and college I recorded music in studios with various bands, so I got really comfortable with hearing the sound of my own voice (granted, my singing voice), but I also got comfy with studio equipment, so I looked like I knew what I was doing and sounded like I knew what I was talking about.

Then I had my college radio show for 4 years and earned my FCC radio license and had to do newscasts and commercials for the station, so that also built up my resume. Moving to Arizona helped because it really neutralized my NJ accent.

Then I was working as the head of IT for a huge radiology group in Arizona when Bell was morphing to Lucent, and my company was shopping for a new phone system. So the Bell sales droid said that we could save money on our phone system by recording the phone prompts ourselves, so I said I'd do it. So I first recorded the voice prompts just for our own company's phone system, and when the guy heard that it sounded good, he suggested his bosses dial into our phone system to hear my voice because they were looking for the voice for Lucent's new phone systems to sell to people who didn't want to record their own voice prompts. I honestly think I got that gig because I was... there... and not totally incompetent. Saying I had an FCC Radio License gave me some kind of faux-credibility -- it sounded important to people who didn't know any better. (Fun fact: The year after I got my radio license the FCC decided you didn't need a license anymore to be on the radio... so my license means absolutely nothing. But it sure sounds important!)

Anyway, I got the recent voiceover gigs because we hired George Murphy from Planet Ten to do our CD design/layout of our first CD (39 Summers), and instead of paying him, he asked if I would just barter some free voiceover work... somehow he knew that I had done voiceovers before. And then going forward, whenever he needed a voice he called me... and those turned into paying gigs.

This is more information than you wanted, I'm sure... but the upshot is, I was in the right place at the right time, and I spoke up about what I could offer people. *shrug*
Jill "xtingu" Knapp 11/9 '17edited
You crack me up. “I was just lucky“ and then proceed to list a long set of ways in which you created that ‘luck’.


Very cool though. I don’t think I knew about most of those gigs. I knew about the college radio, but I think that’s about it!
Matt Lichtenwalner 11/13 '17edited
Now I have “George Murphy” by Tom Lehrer in my head. Listen to it. It’s a great song, on “That Was The Year that Was.”

Hi, all!

July 4th, seeing the folks; parental update

Spent July 4th up at my folks' place. I sometimes feel guilty that they don't have any friends who invite them to hang out on holidays, so late on the 3rd Matt and I decided to head up to their place. Was happy to see them.

My dad has been battling this mystery ailment where food tastes BAD (like decidedly awful), and it's been like this for about 6-8 weeks. Because of this, he doesn't really like to eat anymore, so his energy is crap now. I'm worried about him. Not sure what the fix is, but his doctors ordered him labwork and everything came back OK, except for low sodium. (Which is funny, considering he always would eat salty snacks and put a crap-ton of salt on his food. But he doesn't eat the salty snacks anymore because of how awful everything tastes... hence his now-too-low sodium. I find it so fascinating that the body craves what it knows it needs.)


In other news, I have no work lined up and it is scary. We also have no Hot Breakfast gigs scheduled.  We must remedy these things.

My book royalty checks have been keeping me afloat in these non-workin' times... but last month's book royalty check was $105. For the record, $105 does not pay the mortgage.  (The reason the book royalty check was so small was because my book is sold by two different companies: Pearson (my publisher) and SafariBooksOnline.com (a reseller). 99% of my book sales come from Safari, and Safari didn't get their monthly sales numbers to Pearson in time for the May royalty check (which I receive in June) because of Memorial Day.  No biggie... my July royalty check will have both May and June's royalties in there. But I can't tell my mortgage company to just wait a month.

What else can I update you on...


I dunno if y'all remember, but I was asked to audition for and got cast in Lizzie, which is a four-woman hard-rock musical based on Lizzie Borden. I play Emma, Lizzie's very pissed off and much-older sister.  The show was supposed to go up in April, but the theater was having trouble securing the space (they lease space from Opera Delaware) for rehearsals and the show dates. So the show got pushed back and pushed back, and got pushed back so far that we lost our Lizzie because she had plans to move to California in July, which she just did.  So anyhoo, things have solidified, and rehearsals officially start next week for a September run.  The girl we got to replace our original Lizzie is wonderful, so I'm excited about that. I am 20-ish years older than the other cast members... curious how we'll interact. Also curious what the costumers are thinking about dressing us in. I've seen some photos from some productions where the cast is in lingerie and/or BSDM gear. I've seen others where they are dressed all emo/goth. And then there are others where the girls are wearing period-appropriate clothes. So I dunno.  All I know is I desperately need a haircut and dye job, but I don't know if they'll want my nutty Jill Hair, or if they're gonna stick a wig on me.  I'll know more in 2 weeks, I guess!

Golden Anniversary 

This weekend is Matt's parents' 50th Anniversary party (their actual anniversary is tomorrow). Tonight (Friday) we're having a small family get-together, and then tomorrow (Saturday) is the big soirée at a restaurant. They planned it themselves and also said "No gifts, we mean it!" which essentially makes us look like jerks. My mom used to do that all the time... she'd book her own party and then would make everyone feel like a shitbird* for not throwing a party for her.

Allrighty-- gonna try to catch a 40-minute nap before we head to Matt's folks' for Anniversary Dinner Round 1.

Hope all is well.


* "Shitbird." Thanks, Gas-Man!

First up, I read "parental update" as "prenatal update" and was seriously surprised for a second.

That taste thing with your dad, sounds rough! My first thought is maybe a low grade sinus infection, which can affect taste. My hypochondriac panic response is brain tumor, which would also explain the low sodium levels and his energy levels. (Well, lots of tumors can cause that actually.) Sorry, I shouldn't share my medical anxieties so freely! I'll stop now. I hope it gets figured out and your dad feels better soon. Not wanting to eat sucks.

Can you talk with your mortgage lender? Is it a local lender or just Big Bank?

When will Lizzie happen? Where? Can I come see it somehow? I'm good with sleeping on couches...

For the record, I've been taking a LOT of 20-minute naps lately. I'm surprised to find that they actually help.
Anne Mollo 7/7 '17edited
Nonono, please don't ever hold back with the medical expertise, even if your thoughts are considered kinda ooky. I wanna know. Because my first thought was "mini stroke." So hearing you say "brain tumor" certainly isn't comforting, but it makes me think if they don't find anything with this next round of bloodwork it might be time for a CT.

Lizzie is happening in September! We have a comfy guest room with a nice, new bed and its own bathroom, and we love guests. I also have a zillion hotel points if you'd rather stay in the Doubletree. I'm not the best hostess when in "gotta get ready for a show"-mode, but I also know you get that. :-) So come on down! But lemme get some rehearsals in first just to make sure it doesn't suck first. (This theater does excellent, excellent work. It's considered our city's "edgy theater." So the only way the show will suck is if I suck, which is possible, because an actor I ain't.

As for the mortgage stuff, we're actually OK... Matt (godblesshim) has things comfortably under control. I just hate asking, and he hates that I hate asking. :-)
Do please keep me updated! I will be in NYC the weekend of Sept 16 for my BURFday. I decided my present this year should be a visit to the botanical gardens at night, to see Chihully glassworks lit up and glowing. So we're all going down and staying with James (eldest daughter's dad; former husband) at his newish house in New Jersey, so we call all six of us visit the gardens together.
Anne Mollo 7/14 '17
That's closing weekend. Yay!

We have shows that week(end) on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and we close on that Saturday the 16th. The theater is a few steps from the Wilmington Amtrak station.

They are renovating the NYPenn train station which impacts service between Wilmington and NYP now through September 1st. Assuming they finish on time, then all should be happy. But if the repairs run late, then Acela service will be your only bet, and that's spendy (assuming you wanna take a train).

Where in Jersey will you be? (I'm originally from Jersey, but I don't know the gardens.)

But let's make sure the show is good first. :-) The music director in me wishes they tested everyone's harmony-singing abilities at auditions, but they didn't. I don't know any of the actors, but tomorrow is our first rehearsal/sing-thru, so I'll know more soon.

If you wanna spend a day in my neck of the woods, a day-trip to Longwood Gardens is pretty amazing, and is about 20 minutes away.

Damn, Lizzie sounds awesome! I bet you're gonna have a blast and I know it will be fantastic.

Sorry to hear about your dad... that's scary, especially because they don't know why. I hope you guys get some answers about that soon.

I hope your work/gig life fleshes out again soon too. As a fellow freelance worker, I know how crappy those slow times are (like right now, so you're in good company).

Enjoy your nap!
Leela 7/7 '17
The nap was most excellent. :-)

Thanks for the kind words, too... I'm sure things will straighten out soon. :)
That "everything tastes bad" thing sure sounds like pregnancy. Maybe you should give your dad The Talk.

I've got a birthday present squirreled away for someone. I'm crossing my fingers they don't freekin buy themselves one before their birthday.

Thou shalt not drop hints and then self-gratify before your birthday! It's, like, a rule. I just made it.
I agree with this rule!

My mom would also just buy what she wanted for herself, so when we'd say "what do you want for x holiday?" She'd say "Give me $28 to cover the cost of the thing I bought myself." Grrr.

I mean, on one hand, I get that sometimes you don't wanna wait until your birthday or Christmas to get what you need. But come ON.
Please let me know when Lizzie tickets are on sale. I wanted to see that show when I first heard about it, and now that you are in it, I REALLY want to see it.

Also, I know that when you complain about money, you are not asking for help, but if you need help with anything, please reach out. Or get Matt to do it, because you suck at asking for help, even when you need it. xoxoxoxo
Awww, thanks babycakes. We're actually in (blessedly) good shape financially, as a couple. I just hate asking Matt for money, and he really hates that I hate asking. He's very much "what's mine is ours" and I'm very much "I MUST HANDLE ALL THE THINGS ALONE! The house is in MY name, and is therefore MY problem!" So it's a thing. But also totally not. I just need a foot up my ass. (What else is new?)

I'll keep you posted re: Lizzie! I'm really itchy to get rehearsing.

Gmail now has Exchange integration.

Not that this matters directly to my life, but it got me thinkin':

I use GMail for my personal email and my Hot Breakfast email. My Hot Breakfast email is provided by GoDaddy, but instead of reading it separately via GoDaddy's webmail, I just pull it into GMail and have it labeled "Hot Breakfast!" so I can see it easier and also filter for it.

My work (knapp-it.com) email is also hosted by GoDaddy, but the only way I read my KnappIT email is either by firing up a browser and using GoDaddy's interface, or by using a totally separate email app (K-9 Mail) on my phone. KnappIT and Gmail never touch. 

But now I'm wondering if I should re-examine that.

So... people who have both a personal email address and a work email address... what are some pros and cons to keeping them separate, or reading them all through Gmail?

One pro I can see is that Gmail lets me use a rich text editor on my phone that would come in handy for work-- right now if I need rich text for work I have to be sitting at a PC.  But a con would be that I wouldn't be able to easily say "I will not be at work after hours" if I have work emails coming into gmail after my US business hours. (I have lots of overseas students who use my videos. I don't always want to answer them at 9:30PM.) 


8/3 '16 8 Comments
I think your cons outweigh your pros.
I think you're right.
I still keep them separate - but with a quirk:

I used OWA's settings to forward both a text to my phone and a copy of the email to my Gmail for Really Important Folks at the office.

It's a bit overkill for many folks, but I like knowing that there's no chance Ill miss that important message from Da Boss.
Matt Lichtenwalner 8/3 '16edited
Hmmm. My KnappIT email isn't Exchange, but I wonder if my GoDaddy email has some functionality like that... if not, I wonder if IFTTT can do some magic without handing over the keys to the castle. Lemme think on this, but you're giving me ideas.
Thanks, yo!
No problemo! Hope it helps. :)
Your work hours are not determined by technology, they are determined by you, the business owner. If you set the expectation that you are available between X and Y EST, that's when you're available, no matter when you get your email.

Hope that helps.
Love you!
I'm really good about not dealing with work emails after hours, but that's because I let the technology act as a sliiiiiight barrier. If I don't wanna work after hours, I don't click on my phone's KnappIT email icon... or if I'm actually sitting at my comput0r, I simply don't go to my webmail page. But I have the sinking feeling that if I tell my KnappIT email to get sucked in via Gmail, I'm not gonna be able to resist. I'm gonna fall into that dumb ol' trap of "Aw, I can just knock this out real quick..." and the next thing I know I'm now working dumb hours.

I have shit for discipline, especially when it comes to helping people... and especially especially when it comes to overseas students who want to give me money overnight if I'd just send them an invoice (which I do not want to do at 10:30pm).

This just made me think about Gmail's capabilities and I might have a solution.

In Gmail's labeling/filtering capabilities, there is an option to bypass the Inbox during labeling. If you did this, then you would have your work emails within Gmail but not visible without clicking on the "Work Email" label, and hopefully avoiding the urge to work during off hours.

Let me know if I'm not being clear here. It is early, I haven't had any coffee yet, and my eyes are still half shut with sleep. :)