Monday, December 31, 2007


And I'm not talking about carpet cleaner, although my mom says we can keep their carpet cleaner, which we borrow periodically to clean our one carpet that is a magnet for dog-hair-and-whatever, since they hardly have any carpets left to clean anymore. (It's all becoming hardwood.) Although, maybe that should be a resolution. All right. Here we go.

In the year 2008, I, pen, resolve to:

1. Make sure we clean the carpet more, using above-referenced carpet cleaner.

2. Loll about in the already-green pasture, i.e. ENJOY what we ALREADY have. I ruminated a bit on this idea previously, and I'm driven to really keep with it. Like, instead of buying any new movies this year, even if they're only $5.50, like at Target, or pre-viewed on Netflix, I should watch we already have. Because we have quite a collection and do not need more. Oh, and kids, we don't need anymore kids right now, for pete's sake. And when shopping, when "needing" anything new, I want to think through carefully and asess whether a) we really need it, b) we need it now or can we wait and ask for it for birthday/Christmas, or c) if we could just plain do without. Or maybe there's something we already have that's similar, or maybe we have the materials needed to make it. Or whatever. That sort of mindset, to back off from excess and waste, and move toward conservation, inventiveness, etc, is what I'm talking. And let's be honest, all this geeky, socially responsible, yawn-inducing talk is really all about:

3. Decreasing the debt. I want to end the year 2008 with LESS DEBT than 2007. I don't want more debt, I don't want the same amount of debt, I want LESS DEBT. Even if it's by a dollar. The high-interest mess gets tackled first. I want to do what it takes, in all the ways that I plausibly can.

4. Have a big yard sale. Not just for the money to go toward Resolution 3, because you can never really expect to make a whole lot--they're a total crapshoot, dependent on so many cosmic factors. But we just have a lot of clothes and VHS tapes and vacuum cleaners and other stuff we're simply done with that is all piling up in a designated Yard Sale Heap. It's in the corner of the guest bedroom, it's becoming quite the mountain, and I can't wait to see it gone. The air will be so much more lovely to breathe after crawling out from under that pile of bricks.

Lastly, I resolve to:
5. Revisit this post at year's end and blog about whether I actually pulled off these resolutions.
Oh, and on that note! Looking back at last year's Eve, where I pondered the notion of how one brings in the New Year: I ended that post imagining/hoping/predicting that 2007 would be "quiet and yet magical, filled with family and low-key good vibes" based on our evening of Harry Potter, one bottle of champagne, chicken parm, and a K.Lo. Did that come true? I don't know that I would call it low-key or quiet. In some ways it was. It was definitely filled with family and many good vibes. So let me not antagonize fate and sloppily approach the Eve of 2008. This year, I am spending New Year's Eve:
showered and flossed (very important)
marathoning Season 3 of The Office
playing Magnetix after K.Lo goes to bed
hoping to hell K.Lo actually goes to bed
drinking just a little rum and Coke
I don't know what to do about dinner. We have no available, non-interest-based fundage sources to purchase a fun, festive holiday dinner, such as Chinese food. Or 7-layer burritos from Costco. We have some materials on hand. And I suppose, looking at Resolutions 2 and 3 that I need to work with it. Or do I save that for tomorrow. Gah. Frozen fish patties it is? Bleh. Must summon creative forces.
Happy New Year, everyone! Good luck with all your own resolutions, and enjoy the day.

retrospective, by pen

2007 'lights

The Highs
-watching K.Lo grow
-had an N.Lo
-deepened love for The Office
-J.Lo makes me laugh every day
-enjoyed the iPod
-discovered Brett Dennen, Josh Rouse
-went to see Waitress twice
-made new friends, got to know existing friends better
-joined writers' group, actually wrote something
-J.Lo's computer resurrected/hijacked by ME
-figured out cookies
-ate lots of cookies
-lots of fun emails
-started a new blog
-sometimes K.Lo slept
-some golden family moments
-no traffic infractions
-the Library Book Sale
-visits from family and friends
-reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
-can say I've been to Connecticut

The Lows
-Being Green, for a little while
-The Death Sick
-the Writers' Strike
-mostly K.Lo didn't sleep
-that time I considered leaving the country/briefly hated life
-haven't seen m for yet another long year
-Ash moved away
-missed Kim's wedding
-those last 3 weeks being pregnant were really vexing
-giant bag of money did not fall from sky

The In-Betweens
-moved on from 2 friendships, still have yet to rumiblog on these matters
-overly eventful travels, on occasion
-debt level, didn't make any headway
-sometimes my house seemed really clean and organized, and sometimes it seemed a mess
-patience level had many valleys and peaks
-my garden grew really well, but we ended up not using a lot of the tomatoes, or the herbs, which sadly fried
-I read a lot of good books, but really need to read more
-the price of gas goes up, but then it goes down
-not sure ethanol is the answer

M's Resolve... and Retrospective.

  1. it's a small goal but going down just a wee inch on my waist is what i really want for '08.
  2. i also want my debt to be lower. it seems with as much as i made this year, i'm trying to figure out why my debt isn't gone... but that's because i have no sense of perspective. so clearly things must have been bought and some things paid down.
  3. organizing my art and writing and getting that shite put togetha'
  4. the first two things seem firmly within my means- the rest that i'd write like leaving the country are on the whims of circumstance... so i'll leave them there and hope for the best.


  • being stuck at borders for 3 months into '07.
  • a couple friends acting like big smelly turds.
  • writers strike
  • running over a steel beam in the highway, getting a ticket for crossing a white line


  • having the longest job run ever.
  • can you say camping! joshua tree, doheny beach, (sequoias.)
  • water-rafting in colorado and the cross country road-trip
  • san francisco and bourbon
  • the mighty dolphins of march
  • getting a new car, winning my white tix defense

Dammit it if it wasn't a good year... it totally rocked.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

a removed telling of a familar tale, by m.

this story is an old one. it is about a father and his daughter. but it never was the way it was suppose to be, and so the names which signify much lay in ruin. and ever since she was very young there arose between them an abyss. as she grew he was never there, could not afford the time and she was not the daughter he needed her to be. she had a contentious mouth. she argued. she did not bow with respect and adoration at his title and revere him but demanded instead he live up to all its implications because he was a man, an adult, a father. and often the weight was too much to comprehend and he could not bear it. father. head of the house. support. spiritual. . . she had lost faith before the time where memory takes hold. and he did not fight for it but let it drop countless times with anger, pride and impotent gestures for control. and yet many times she was assured of his love by her mother but never did the word pass his lips. never did he hug her or she know what it was to feel an affectionate embrace. but people do not think of these things when they think of father and daughter. and yet, this daughter has never known them. her father has always been far away. wounded by her words, any gesture she might make never enough. she could not reach him. many days over the years she yearned for his death, because living with him was like living with an angry and pathetic ghost. and she moved away. but debt and circumstance and her love for her mother drew her back and as much as she forgave them, had compassion for their imperfection his shell still rose her to a rage, at a word, at his arrogance, his ignorance, his inability to breach the way things were with the way things were suppose to be. and no matter how many stories she told of the difficulty, of the spite that rules him even now, people cannot understand how little in his mind he sees her. cannot hear her say his name with no response. dad. and as often she tried his dumb depressed look would snap it all back so no progress was made. and that if i could slip him a pill called therapy and medication i would do it. you will say even now this is a one-sided story. but these facts remain: he has never said he loves me, he has never hugged me. and when on christmas we suggested we find something to watch or listen together as a family he suggested we watch whatever it was in my room. alone. on christmas. because even the signifier of such a holiday and such a time meant very little to a man who is selfish and trapped in a silent desperate scream, as his body edges toward death and he hunches, stoops and shuffles. only the knowledge that i should not wish for his death keeps me from uttering it too sincerely, that instead his redemption, that the better of his humanity would bring him to his knees. that he would see. but i still remain on the cutting edge of hate. waiting with a breath to laugh at the absurdity of the situation. at when mom and i played a geography game over a 30min drive he finally muttered in impatience, yellowstone. jesus-christ. because we had run out of things that began with y. and i want that to be funny. how he does not speak. only talks about himself. plays the victim, how now, he sees his mortality and stares at the wall and will not open his presents because we yelled at him and called him selfish. but no, it's not funny. it's a tragedy of a man's life who will have a eulogy but not love, have everything exactly the way he wants but not a daughter.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

the controversial bathroom post of '07

we all have things about us that we'd rather not let people examine closely, certain areas of our lives if laid bare would show us a dingy and disorganized person. that perhaps if that place were seen people would judge and criticize and sometimes whatever they say, whatever the examination means is possibly true. and is that really something to feel bad about? it's truth. it's the reality of the situation. the truth about our bathroom is that it's half done and in disrepair. and that it's been this way for 20 years. since 1988. since i was 12. that i grew up with a mortification of anyone having to come over and use it. that over time i became less embarrassed, less distressed and uptight about such a thing bcs over so long those feelings wore away to a tiny little bit of fact. normal people would react this way. normal people would feel humiliated. my parents gift and curse is that they can overlook a lot of things so much so that they no longer see things for what they are and only if reminded, if people are coming over, or i point to it does mom realize the way normal people might react. everday this bathroom bothers me. our kitchen bothers me... the floor rotting away bothers me. bcs part of my gift and curse is that my eye always roves for an aesthetic perfection and it never stops. the bathroom became this way because the old plaster doesn't match with the now old new drywall. my parents came against the problem and their pause became a halt which became a stop which became a forgotten. and it had very little to do with the end, after all this time. so after 20years a very old galvanized pipe sprang a leak and as my mom had suspected for sometime there was moisture building- and only confirmed when in the cooler winter months a giant fungus sprung up on the bathroom wall behind the toilet. so my dad knocked into the wall and the leak, no a stream, was present. and with that it became a reality that the pipes needed to be replaced, that the walls because of that, would be redone and since all of that was being redone they would replace the cabinets, and the floor and on into the kitchen. and that whatever excuse, like moving, or building a new house, ceased to exist... of course this is suppose to happen in the new year. and i'm looking forward with a wary eye. possibly glee. of such a thing coming true. with a hope that even after so long, things can change for the better, and that it's okay to show a part of yourself that needs repair in the hopes that with the better part of man it'll be fixed and made new again.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

the day after christmas by m

The SVP ordered us all Pizza the day after Christmas. (It would save me a lot of calories if i remembered it simply doesn't digest well.) Anyway, the President said, oh, do you have a minute, come on in. We both thought that was odd. 5 min later the SVP walks out with a small sigh, shuts his office door, comes out with his bag, inquires how much the pizza was and leaves. Then the man with the very big title tells me condescendingly a day later after the company meeting, you see that's why we were all here. it makes sense now doesn't it. um, it made sense after the sigh. how young and stupid do you think i am. anyway, it's my last day. and apparently we are getting pizza AGAIN. because when people get divorced you get fun unhealthy food twice as often. but my question regardless of all their salaries is don't you have anything better to do than fire people the day after christmas... ? 5 people flew down here from the greatwhitenorth of minnasota and decided they had nothing better to do than fire people, not on friday, but on a wednesday... i'm sure that SVP will be okay and he'll get over it. regardless it seems a pretty shitty thing to do. but on my end despite a bleak entrance of joblessness the two VP's who weren't fired asked for my resume... so hey maybe they'll keep me in mind and i'll be again, one day commuting to LA... until then look forward to non-stop posts about my garden and my to do lists... bcs what else is there to do when you're jobless. but work. and think of work and find things to work at. bcs you're worried about not working.


I am. A bargain shopper. It is in my blood. Probably you know this about me already. I enjoy the commercial hunt and kill. So it is especially difficult for me two days after Christmas to go to a store like, say, TARGET, and resist even looking at all the holiday decor that is currently 50% off. Not so much ornaments, because I so don't need to buy myself those. But wrapping paper, probably that would come in handy. Or maybe a lovely red table runner or whatever. I would use these things. But I don't need these things. The thing is, I have already bought myself these things. I just need to pay for them now.

So, a brief note to self:

Dear pen,

Don't do it. Think of the interest charges. The children. How long it will take that item to rot in the landfill. Whatever you need to think to keep on walking, think it. The time is now.

xoxo and godspeed,

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

pen's haul

GEEKTASTIC, i.e. totally nerdy that I am thrilled with these items:
a large frying pan
3 wooden spoons
medium stainless steel whisk
serving platter, serving bowl, creamer/sugar that matches our plates (v. hard to find!)
badass potato masher
candle snuff, wick trimmer, wax scraper
toaster-oven pan
The NY Times Essential Guide to Knowledge
Canon, by Natalie Angier

lovely bracelet
2 Willow Tree figures
long-sleeved tee
green crochet-type sweater
take-out menu organizer
Bath&Body items in Fig/Brown Sugar and Sweat Pea
Jack Frost candle
ornaments, various
2 stocking holders
assorted holiday tchotchkes

homemade cookies
Ghiradelli chocolate
Ferrero Roche

Pixar Short Film Collection
Little Miss Sunshine
Baby Boom
Center Stage (hee hee hee)
Chicken Run
Shark's Tale
Dead Poets' Society
subscription to Martha Stewart Living!
Julie and Julia, by Julie Powell
World Without End, by Ken Follett

Monk bobblehead
duckie flashlight keychain

news of a new niece or nephew, ETA July 2008

OH, AND DID I MENTION, i.e. I just want to stare at it all day, take in its prettiness, its cleverness, its complete and utter fabulousness:
The Complete Gilmore.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

santa monica recreational... something something.

the highlight of christmas day, besides receiving some awesome jammie pants from mom and eating crepes was going on this hike with sarah. this is a hiking spot i kept saying, oh we should go there one day, i haven't been in 10+ years. which is ridiculous but true. all i remembered was that you could hike up the ravine via the stream. and that my friend and i didn't make it very far and that we got very very wet. but i think it was raining and sometime in april and we were late for theatre rehearsal. so today, by a turn of stay in the sun as long as we can or avoid it, we chose avoid it and into the cold shadows we went, treading over heaps of acorns and their thorny oak leaves, and splashes of golden california sycamore to break up the brown and green palette. we actually had to climb up rocks, narrow ledges, slippery bits were the water was running. i am notorious for accidents when i think i can leap like a gazelle. i am not a gazelle. i am not lithe or graceful. so it is not surprising that once when i thought that i stood up to a foot in muddy peatbog moss, and that another time i stood up to my chest in a siltridden river... this time i flew into a heap of leaves, luckily. and as we progressed it was a mostly fun challenge to figure out where we were going to put our feet. and then we came to the WALL and we saw a rope. sarah tugged at it. i tugged at it. figured it looked new, felt secure... sarah went up first and she made it. then i did. easy peasy. we hiked further in and saw that we'd need more time, supplies and maybe a machete to keep going. but then there was that whole turning back part. she wasn't thrilled at the prospect of going back down the drops. since as we discovered she likes facing challenges head on and going back down vertical rock walls that way proves challenging and garners quite a few butt slides. i myself approach them like ladders, one foot and grip at a time. but down we had to go as we didn't know where the trail intersected us or if it did at all. so in a matter of minutes we were back at the wall and as you know i'm not the spirit of the air but of the earth and instead of trusting the rope and repelling down properly, i went in stages, which might've worked if i had not slipped down on a tricky part and hit my right breast on a jutting rock. as usual i started laughing and shimmied the rest of the way down. it's hard to replay things when you just know if you'd trusted the rope FULLY, hopped down 2ft you would've cleared the rock and saved your breast but you didnt bcs you chose to be a pansy about it and you paid the consequences. so that everytime i put on or adjust my bra, i'm like fuck, why does my breast hurt. the whole adventure is rife with spiritual analogies. but anyway we made it out, went a bit further up on the winding path that was in the sun and then wended our merry way home. fan-tastic.

Monday, December 24, 2007

the decs

Hello and MERRY CHRISTMAS... complaints to follow. but for now MERRY CHRISTMAS...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

things that make me happy, by pen

  • warm woolen mittens
  • weather where one can wear warm woolen mittens
  • the smell of burning wood on a cold day
  • making every green light
  • emails from anyone I like
  • Christmas cards
  • it's a boy/it's a girl surprises revealed
  • the tree
  • Christmas movies and corresponding lists like these
  • hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows
  • York peppermint patties
  • Swiss almond cheese log
  • bubble lights, none of which, sadly, I put out this year
  • blogland
  • the fam
  • wagging dog tails
  • dancing Bug
  • shopping bargains
  • someday the Writer's Strike will end

Saturday, December 22, 2007

things that make me happy, by m

  • swimming pools

  • rain

  • cats purring

  • fuzzy black caterpillars

  • dogs who greet you

  • netflix

  • the black phoebe flycatcher

  • good workout songs

  • the 'bot' vacuum

  • walnut fudge

  • conversations

  • saturday lunch with someone

  • emails from penelope

  • a good book

  • crushed ice

Friday, December 21, 2007

current conditions

winter solstice is just a day away. so go celebrate the beauty of the earth and the official start of winter. it's a high of 63 today in LA, but the sun is warm. you can barely see the hollywood sign in this photo (on the right). i live just beyond that mountain range... and it is one of my favorite places to play (when it's not on fire, preferably when it is green. thanks rain, lets not just dial it in this year but try try try!) i've dyed my hair a darkerbrown which is just really my hair color without highlights and now no more grey. even if i do get constantly mistaken for a 23 yr old. which is fine. reminds me of the discrimination and envy that being young garners. like its okay to still be trying to figure out what you want to do with your job, your life... to live with your parents, to look and be fabulous with no excuses... even if i am working on breaking my fastfood habit.rachel is actually turning 24. she is not 16. she is also aware of the discrimination and envy that being young garners. we both look fabulous (okay she is looking a little goofy but that's okay) in this our bathroom, where all the cool kids hang, smoke cigarettes, gossip and talk about their teachers before class. on this her last day (mine is next friday) we will go get our lunch in the cafeteria and blow off work. maybe scratch our names into the desktop. we're not sure yet.below: is a perfect example of holiday fun from kristen. she made us peanut brittle and told us she's not decorating her house but her cubicle for christmas. i do not think you should ever have to make this choice but it makes me happy to see it. the snowman lights up, and the lights are tres festive...
we went to the lobby to see the warm and golden christmas being thrown away, not because it's like so over and they're already decorating for valentine's day but bcs fresh and natural is apparently a fire hazard even if they're not near the lights or remotely near a hot surface. this is a good example of how we view nature in LA. i am not among them, but there it is. .. i mean don't even get me started about the LA River. anyway, goodbye glisten'ee buildings. till next time. to do: eat peanut brittle, go get lunch, workout, drink water, read shadow of the wind, job search, take stuff to goodwill, think about christmas presents and cards and try and have a merry merry.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

pen's pseudo-shame

I'm a girl, I'm fickle. Subject to whims. And the other day on the way to the grocery store, one such whim overtook me, a whim laced with dread, curiosity, and a touch of hope. Partly the whim stemmed from my lifelong quest to Always Find the Best Deal, to Slay the Dragon of Commerce. Put a sword through his blackened little heart. And partly, that post from the other day was blinking in my brain and suddenly I decided to go to the Wal-Mart.

I haven't shopped, really shopped, at Wal-Mart in years. I have been occasionally to Wal-Mart, mostly with the company of more seasoned and brave and loyal Wal-Mart shoppers who are convinced it is the best store in the world. I, it is well-known, am a Target girl. I used to go to the Wal-Mart, a long time ago, used to love it. I used to go with friends on a Friday night wearing pajama pants and shop for chocolate and crafts. Yeah, I was one of Those Girls. Then Wal-Mart started seeming very ugly to me. The lights, the sheer volume, the people. I became a total Wal-Mart snob. The nails in the coffins were as such: reports of violent crime in the parking lot. A 600-lb, wheelchair-bound man using food stamps to buy ice cream. Waves of screaming children crashing through the aisles at 10PM on a Friday night. The air. The lights. The rising feeling of panic every time I stepped in the store. The inability to breathe properly. Perusing the aisles, realizing on multiple occasions that what I needed to finish up my shopping list was Back There, on the other side of the store, in an aisle I had already been to twice.

Wal-Mart. I know they have deals there, that in particular it is the best place to buy canned goods, and baking goods. Bread goods. Probably all the goods. But I had decided long ago that the emotional cost of shopping there far outweighed the financial rewards.

As I say, though: whims. Suddenly I am navigating the parking lot, trying to find a spot within half a mile of the store entrance, preferably close to a shopping cart dropoff. I find a spot. Load up the kids in the cart and go. I stick to the Grocery Side, block out the RestOfIt. Pick out some produce, make our way over to the meats. Decide to tackle the aisles all in order, because I don't yet know where anything is. Only get lost a few times. Only Have Words with K.Lo a few times. She says the word "bike" a million times, in a little voice like it is a question, and I respond as such: Yup, it's a bike. Say Hi, bikes. Look at the bikes. No, no bikes. We're not going to look at the bikes. We can ride by the bikes. Hi, bikes. Tires and streamers on the bike. Bye, bike. Another day, bike. No, we are not going back to the bikes. We cannot look at the bikes. Sit down, we are not looking at the bikes anymore, bye, bikes. Here, eat some Oreos at 10 in the morning and stop talking about bikes.

Why, in the fucking Dairy Aisle, are there bikes.

An older man, possibly nice, possibly a freak, suggests that K.Lo is weird, can't say any words other than "bike." They talk about it. She gives him A Look. We move on. They don't sell large containers of Scotch Guard as I expected them to; Wal-Mart is falling short. Salsa, though, is uber-cheap. As is sweetened condensed milk, all the cereal, yogurt, and margarine by the tub. Pasta Roni is priced regularly like it is on sale at The Other Grocery Store. The kids are being only marginally whiny, and we're doing this, making our way through. We are still alive and only a tiny bit panicky here in the Wal-Mart. Some fellow shoppers are even friendly, smiley, say hi to my babies. Some are surly, with a level of hostility you just don't find at Target. At least not on a weekday. If you're lucky. Some things are priced the same as all the other stores, not so impressive. The cart fills. We'll get this and this and this and this, too, so we won't have to go Anywhere Else for the next week or two. Since they have it here. Since they seem to have everything (except bulk containers of Scotch Guard) here at the Wal-Mart.

We check out. The cashier is sort of friendly, sort of not. The cashier/bagger on the next aisle is ranting like a Brickyard Preacher, totally for show, except he's complaining about Whatever, not preaching, and I try to ignore him, try to breathe regularly. Kind of hate Wal-Mart. Kind of am impressed by Wal-Mart. Wish the carts were bigger at Wal-Mart. Wish the carts were bigger everywhere, not just at Wal-Mart. But $89 would not have bought me this much at any other store.

We live. We went to Wal-Mart.

I give it 3 stars, out of 5. I might go again. Yeah, I would probably shop there again. But would I tell you, would I brag about it, would I say I am a Wal-Mart shopper. No. No, I couldn't. It seems like that would be going too far.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I realize that as a person, I tend to have very nostalgic tendencies, not wanting to readily throw certain things away. Also having a tendency to feel claustrophobic around too much clutter, I have made a concerted effort to downsize over the past few years, excising a whole lot of essentially worthless crap that I should have gotten rid of years ago so that I won't have to tote it around forever and eventually be buried with it. It's a work in progress, this process, but I feel like I have gotten pretty good at separating the wheat from the chaff.

Every once in awhile though, apparently, I miss something. Maybe I've just looked at it so many times, I don't even realize it's there any more. And it takes my toddler to point out, "Pumpkin?" and show me that yes, indeed, I still have a Halloween pencil in our pencil cup that I must have gotten in 5th grade. Seriously. It's one of those pencils with the stackable leads, where when the lead gets dull, you just take the little piece out and push it into the top of the pencil to get the next lead? And I know I haven't seen those since the 80s. In my mind I picture all of my classmates who must have received the same pencil as a class party favor or whatever, eventually sorting through their pencil supplies as they grew up and throwing the Halloween pencil out. They were probably 12 when they did so. Me, I'm 29. And I still haven't thrown it out because by now I figure it won't be that long before my daughter could play with it.

Anyway, maybe I'm just a very diligent recycler.


i love pencils! lately i've been all with the mechanical pencils but i feel they make too much nice theyre' all like clink, click, squeek, click. and you shopuld totally use. it like why bother with the seasonal exclusions like those people and the snow and all like we're christmas youre not and whatever. when like most of thw orld is all we don't have snow. so today was all tghe end of french calls and then we went to mexaxali. mexacali. and i had a margarita then a pomatini and some quesedillas abnd we talked about how my professor is all gurr we hate germand and mexicans and whatever and it wa s funny. and then like did you know that word? i didn't know that word? what was that word? what did it MEAN? i don't know! no. mmm. what? ANd All i'm confused and you look 24 and i'm all i'm 31 and why does everyone thing i'mn so young or whatever and masters and purpose and jobs and all i'm looking and i don' tknow how does career change find one cuz i'm totally looking or whatecver. and we'l.l do this again so yah. hugs and aw and whatever andnow i'm all eating fudge and celery with my pants off and m ysocks sit;ll on and i'm sure i'll be all yah i'll work out tomorrow and amber to the airport and whatever and i'll be like christmas wont suck even if i ma jobless agian and collecting umpemplyment cuz i'm all with the fudge and the ceelery and the drinks and the scrubs or whatever and tis going to be totally olkay.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

alright whatever, i'm posting

i have to blog about a party and the pipe leak and okay christmas things, to keep it topical... i like daisy's idea of best and worst moments bcs each year becomes more obscure and i tend to repress. but i'm behind. my current obsessions are these: passing french 1. my final is on wednesday and i've registered for french 2. though my professor is glad i've turned my back on my german ancestry he still sort of dislikes me. whatever. i'm crossing my fingers for a C+ and wanting to be pleasantly surprised if i get a B-. and besides that, hello, i'm going to be jobless again. the show's not getting picked up, i didn't get fired, most of the people here like me, i think, unless i'm wrong, which you know, but at least the VP asked if i would be interested in producing and asked for my resume, and she's like, well not that we're hiring right now but... which means, if we fire someone or a position opens up... yah. uh huh. unsureville. anyway i'm still living paycheck to paycheck and the car payment's- yike- which by the way, i've named my car Lolly. This is sort of anti-me but i'm going to go with it. and that's life, who doesn't live this way. i don't know. one day i might have a job that i care about and feel a discerning level of responsibility for. but for now i'm watching absurd fellini films, taking IQ tests (130), checking and waiting for more rain. but it's been a streak. a mad dash of almost solid employ from 6/26/06 to now... with only maybe a month 1/2 off in btw... so maybe. it won't end here, well it really can't. i can't afford it too... but hey, another office to photograph, people to talk about. so it goes. it goes. more interesting things to blog about later- like the price of my monthly planner: $16.99 or my obsession with the 7up series and rockband on xbox. happy tuesday.

and a dustbuster really is on my christmas list

A word to the wise: if the parmesan cheese is kind of stuck in it container, take the top off and use a knife to break it up. Don't be lazy and just shake the container really hard, because the lid might not be shut. And you might fling stinky cheese particles all over your stove, countertop, floor, self, toddler, and sleeping infant. And that would not be good.

Monday, December 17, 2007

the face of depression in america

Or at least in our house, this is what depression looks like. Here is our upcoming DVRroll of shows to be recorded. Two. Two shows, and one of them isn't even mine.

I'm withering away...

On a side note, it was a complete fluke that I happened to catch a Wal-Mart commercial on the camera as well. And I had nothing to do with that Real World descrip. Sometimes brilliance just happens.

but at least you're not a janitor with a mullet

I haven't even been posting about Survivor lately, because I'm pretty sure that everyone but maybe Good Lauren skips them. Lord knows my other Survivor Buddy, Bruckner, hasn't been around these parts in ages. I am absolutely compelled to post about the finale of Survivor: China, however, and I ask that you bear with me even if you don't watch the show. Because this commentary has to do with larger social problems.

One of these problems is mullets. The year is 2007, almost 2008, and people should not wear mullets anymore. Some people do wear mullets, and my research findings indicate that typically these people are involved with the Race Car fan base, or perhaps the 80s Rock fan base. Or maybe they just haven't watched television since 1989. And no one in their family, friend, or hairdresser set has had the heart, courage, or sense of social responsibility to tell them it is wrong to still wear a mullet.

If you do wear an unironic mullet, and are trying to defend said mullet on national television to the surprisingly (but delightfully) snarky reality show host, you should know that the following argument, while superficially valid, does not actually make sense: I am a lunch lady. We are not allowed to wear our hair long, so I keep it short. But I am also a woman and still want to feel feminine for my husband. So I keep it long in the back.

Here is the logical problem with this argument: You just said you were not allowed, as a lunch lady, to keep your hair long. But yet, you do, in fact keep your hair long. In the back. And you wear it in a ponytail. But you could grow all of your hair out, let the mullet die, and then pull all of your hair back into a ponytail. And therefore feel feminine, but not have a mullet.

I don't mean to sound so scathing toward Denise, I really don't. I'm sure she's a nice lady, a hard worker, a good mom, a loving wife. I know she was the proverbial Last Kid Picked on the Playground while growing up, and my Inner Dork identifies. I'm going to sound like a complete and utter snob here as I continue, but again, bear with me.

The way Denise's life was portrayed on last night's episodes of Survivor literally made me want to hold the couch pillow over my face and end it all. Denise is a lunch lady, who reportedly makes $7 an hour. Except that, since her stint on Survivor, she's not even a lunch lady anymore. When she got back to work, the administration informed her that her newfound popularity was a distraction to the kids at her school, and so they were going to have to go ahead and yeah, ask her to be the janitor instead. And in the evening, rather than the daytime, so she no longer can spend time with her family at night, go to her kids' field hockey games, things like that. Denise placed fourth on S:C, therefore having no chance to win the million dollars at the final tribal council, and (understandably, I suppose) looked completely put out by her vote-off. She claimed that if she were in the Final Three with Courtney and Amanda, then she absolutely would have one. That may be true... the point is really moot.

Anyway, Todd was in the Final Three with Courtney and Amanda, gave by far the best, most admirably unapologetic answers to the jury, and won the million dollars. Amanda Doe Eyes bombed her appeal, as far as I'm concerned. And Courtney, of whom I have not been a fan through most of this season, proved to be quite entertaining with her snarky commentary. In the last episode, during a discussion with Todd re: who it would be best for Amanda to take to the finals with her, Courtney snarked that Amanda shouldn't pick Denise just because she feels sorry for her. Because Survivor is not welfare. And one should not win the million dollars just because she sucks at life. Burn! The comment was really pretty mean and it's totally presumptuous to say that Denise sucks at life... and yet.

This all is not to say that one "sucks at life" if she is a lunch lady, or a janitor, or makes $7 an hour. Not at all; that's actually a disgusting suggestion. But, what so, so bothered me about Denise last night was the way she played the Woe is Me Card, and so heavy-handedly. At first it was strategic, in her last-ditch appeal to Amanda to keep her around in the game. That move was somewhat respectable, because hey, if it gets you the mil, then you outwitted the fool who fell for your sad song. But then Denise proceeded to become, in the words of James (LOVE James, totally hope he is in the next season, which will be Survivor's answer to the RW:RR Challenge's Fresh Meat edition), a Bitter Betty. And you should just not become a Bitter Betty in Survivor because it's a game. And you should definitely not take your Bitter Bettyness to the next level and recount with a trembling lip on national television that you've been downgraded from a lunch lady to a janitor, as though you've just lost your house in a hurricane. The whole audience murmured in sympathy; meanwhile, J.Lo and I brought out the bottle of bleach and select mixers for cocktails. Then, Mark Burnett called into the show and Jeff Probst relayed his message that Denise and her fam would be given $50K as a token to get their life on track, just because. (She sucks at life.) Denise smiled gratefully, I died a little inside, and J.Lo said, "My God, she is so living La Vida Lunch Lady."

Not that it wasn't nice thing for Mark Burnett to do, and I genuinely hope that Denise and her family use that money wisely--that she'll feel like she has the freedom now to turn down jobs that apparently belittle her existence. Because, hell... I certainly know that it can be tough to find a job that pays decently and involves work you can live with, much less enjoy. But when you're trying to top a job that pays dirt, that is the wrong shift, that entails cleaning up the vomit of strangers' children with sawdust, AND, above all, is an outright demotion from your former job, which you seemed to enjoy? It seems like that might not be so hard. And that maybe you could have shown yourself the amount of respect it takes to make the choice and say NO, I can do better, thanks. You know, before you threw yourself a gratuitous pity party on national television.

I'm such an asshole. But still. I expected better from Denise and her mullet.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

that's what i said.

Yesterday evening was the annual CSD Holiday/Festivus party, and good times were had by all! We started out at Boca Bay and then made our--seriously--only slightly inebriated way to the Casa de L&H. Highlights included:

Hand-selected pins, reflective of our personalities: Mother Hen (me), Silly Goose (J.Lo), Fruit Cake (Laura), Big Cheese (Howard), Happy Camper (Mike B.), Eager Beaver (Adrienne), Work Horse (Rod), Odd Duck (Justin), Black Sheep (Lindsey), Numb Skull (Jeremy)

Starters: Crab Dip, Thai Chicken Satay, Spring Rolls

Drink: Evolution (a white wine, not bad)

Dinner: Buffalo Mozzarella salad and a Crab Cake

J.Lo's dinner: Spicy Tuna Roll and Filet Mignon Porto

Mike B. ate sushi and I am still not over it.

Tacky joke du jour: "That's what she said," a la Michael Scott. I have no idea who *cough* started saying it, but it seemed to catch on like wildfire.

First game of Beer Pong: played. Lost. Howard cheated.

Snacks eaten: Like, some cookies? That memory in particular is fuzzy.

Rod's shirt color: Not pink, not salmon, not yellow, maybe peach, but I say it was Goldenrod.

Mel: Fabulous!

T.: Lame, didn't come to party.

Door prizes won: Blingy cuff links (J.Lo), this weird little furry Magic Christmas Tree (me).

Ellie: Slept the whole time.

We turned into pumpkins by: Midnight.
Happy Festivus, everyone!

Friday, December 14, 2007

because i really don't know

Do people under the age of 55 wear nylon stockings?
Sure, why not.
Don't your legs look weird and/or pasty without them?
I can't believe you even have to ask this question.
I, too, am a dork who does not know the true and acceptable answer to this question.
Currently speechless with horror and disgust.
Um no, Grandma, no they do not.
Free polls from

Thursday, December 13, 2007


So the other day, I emailed mendacious about my current life status, which inevitably contained a lot of babbling about my children, and I apologized for that, as I always feel inclined to do to my non-parental friends. Because, omg, it's so boring? If Me From a Few Years Ago were talking to Me Now? My eyes would totally be glazing over.

After nearly two years, I feel like I'm still reconciling those sides of myself--The Mom Me, and Just Penelope. I'm realizing, maybe now that I've got two babies, that those sides of me are sort of one in the same, and I shouldn't really deny that? I keep hearing this sentiment from the kinder masses as well.

And then mendacious says, regarding my apology for all the boring mom things relayed in said email, "Well they don’t seem like boring mom things so much as difficult co-workers. I think you should form a mom/blog in that context. It would be hi-larious to me." I still don't even know yet whether she meant just do a post or to actually form a whole new blog in that vein, but the wheels immediately started turning. All night, in between dreams, I'm thinking about this concept. I want to experiment. I want to attempt to de-compartmentalize by compartmentalizing. Would I leave (Mis)Adventures? Um, no. Eegads, no. I couldn't ever, because that would just leave me with the same set of problems, i.e. denying one or more sides of myself, except I wouldn't have mendacious by my side and would therefore be horribly bereft, alone, and so much less cool. But I'm going to try this, for the experiment of it, for the fun of it, and most importantly, for the amusement of mendacious. Because clearly that is the most important thing.

News pertaining to my difficult coworkers will now be found here. For the moment anyway. Please check in and show love by adding me to your sidebars? As K.Lo would say, "Peeeez."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

and a blue-eyed bow-tied crooner in a pear tree

The past few years, despite being full of my usual Christmas Cheer, I haven't really listened to a whole lot of Christmas music. I used to play it in the car, on the stereo, wherever I could, from around Thanksgiving through the new year. It felt weird to listen to anything else. But then all of a sudden I just stopped, keeping Christmas music for visits to my parents' house, shopping in stores, and in the car on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day only. Last year, I did listen to Wintersong quite a bit, courtesy of the jungle, but that was about the extent of it. This year, maybe inspired by the accessibility/ease of the iPod and the iHome, I am back in it. And my obsession du jour, I should be embarassed to say, is The Andy Williams Christmas Album.

I guess it's better than my freshman year of college, when my favorite Christmas CD was A Christmas Together with John Denver and the Muppets. Actually, that's still kind of a favorite. But the one I keep playing over and over is good old Andy Williams. In general, it's totally not my kind of music. He's kind of a crooner. It's almost show-tunesy. It is really the height of dorkitude, listening to these songs as much as I have. But this album more than any other I can think of reminds me of Christmastime when I was growing up. In my mind, I'm back in our family room in upstate New York, sitting on the floor, looking over the red record cover and Andy Williams' face, the blue of his eyes kind of surreal. I'm thinking about people hanging up their "socks" for Santa Claus, picturing them, oddly, as white tube socks with red trim, rather than actual Christmas stockings. I'm picturing people standing out in the cold and roasting chestnuts over... a barrel fire, I think, and the chestnuts are on sticks, like marshmallows for s'mores? My imagination still takes the path that it did when I was small, when the songs first etched their way into my brain, and I assigned certain images to the words, whether or not they made any sense. I don't care so much that it doesn't make any sense... it's kind of fun that it doesn't. Most of all, it is fun to sing these songs to K.Lo, who (as anyone who's spent 5 minutes with her can attest) will dance to anything with a beat. And there is so much energy in them.
I don't know--you can't really pick apart the magic too much to figure out why. But I highly recommend getting in touch with your Inner Dork this holiday season and picking up a copy of this fantastic compilation. It could truly make it The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

M's 7x7

Hmm, clearly am intimidated by pen's fine list of random but i will try...

  1. i like cleaning my nails with drink straws... now that i have them. as an expression of total nervous energy i used to bite and tear at my nails to a hideous and destructive degree. When i was 19 i finally broke myself of the habit and have been looking longingly at my beautiful long nails ever since... straws are gentle to the nail and thorough cleaners. now if i can only do that with my fastfood habit.
  2. i also had a wart on the left inner elbow as a kid. i don't remember blood but only my obsessive need to have it gone and the actual weird and amazing texture of the wart itself, which left me fairly disgusted. i do NOT suggest googling wart and clicking images. it will make you ill. bcs i really had no idea what comprised a wart at all and now i really don't want to know anything about it.
  3. i learned to tie my shoes in kindergarten. it was a specific learning moment in which i remember a couple kids sitting on their desks and on the floor, in half-light- all trying to figure it out. at the time i probably knew there was a difference btw the bunny ear method and the loop method but over time i forgot and it seemed odd that not everyone tied their shoes using the bunny ear method. which i have since cultivated and never swayed from.
  4. i collect matches. or at least i used to: i have like a giant box in the closet full of them. and surprisingly inherited a small box of matches from my grandma too from hotels and restaurants around the world. i figured what with the anti-smoking thing they'll be obsolete soon and thus lends credence to them taking up so much space in my closet... until i make an art installation out of them. one day...
  5. having recently gone thru my yearbooks i can attest to the fact that they leave alot out but also, the things that you forget... for instance i was in a missions prayer club in 9th grade, that i might've not played volleyball in 11th grade? as previously thought. odd. or that i cut my 6th grade picture out of my yearbook? i don't know why. and what that guy wrote is still as dirty as i thought it was. also since we're on the subject i chose theatre over softball bcs of the mass levels of anxiety softball caused me. the anticipation of waiting for the ball to come to you, when to run... it was too much. but being on stage... bah. what was i thinking!?
  6. oddly one of the best gifts my mom ever gave me is my AAA membership. i really like it and it makes me smile when i remember that she bought it.
  7. i like putting potato chips on coldcut sandwiches. specifically roastbeef- my favorite assemblage would be wheat or sourdough, with light mustard/mayo, greenleaf lettuce, red onions, homegrown tomato, white cheese of somekind, salt/pepper, crunchy lays/ruffles... oh with a diet pepsi. i'm totally going to get lunch now...

i tag... todd, tarzaan, grainofsand, tom!!!, nosleeptricia, kara, amyt.

Monday, December 10, 2007

dear penelope,

You're tired. You're reaching the end of your little rope. The last red fish is dying, and the cookies may have come out crumbly. But a word to the wise: now is not the time to break so many bad habits at once. It just makes you feel ickier, not better. Pick and choose a few maybe?
You just can't do all of the following at once:
break the baby of his nighttime/naptime pacifier habit
stop drinking caffeine
cut back/eliminate soda intake
cut back the chocolate habit
stop using the baby swing as a sleep crutch
stop using irritating terms such as "sleep crutch"
recycle more
turn on the lights less
stop using Deal or No Deal as background noise
institute new sleeping regime for K.Lo
teach N.Lo to self-soothe
read through the growing stack of magazines, sort/store/recycle
use Netflix membership more
get rid of all the baby books with inane plots
make sure K.Lo brushes teeth 2x daily
reply to all your long-lost email friends
stop losing/letting good blog ideas go to the wayside
quit MySpace
wear your socks with the right side out

It's just... madness. And not going to happen, at least not all at once, and certainly not in this frame of mind. In short, for the moment, perhaps it would just be better to relax.

some distant voice of peneloreason

it's a really magical time in our lives

Temper: short.

Don't care anymore about things like: matching/right-side-out socks for myself or children. If the weather is acting fall or spring.

On the plus: almost snarfed a big cookie for breakfast, had cereal and apple instead.

Must stop: swearing in front of children in the middle of the night, considering gunplay as a plausible option.

Tomorrow will be a better day? Morning cookie exchange and writers/wine at night.

Making me ill: wastefulness. Of money, of products. I could make a list of things.

My toe: hurts.

Must also stop: picking at toenail.

Friday, December 7, 2007


i had a pretty good night. we went to our useumMay of ontemporayCay rtrAy downtown. where, though rachel offered to pay, i found street parking and made her walk thru sketch sections of little tokyo, after that we drove around, which made me love LA just a little bit more, and then we went to one of the theatres to sneak into a bathroom to change. totally worked! which is why the random tree and fountain pics... i was tempted to just sneak into the play (history boys) at that point but rachel was wearing heels. i took some legalIlay icturesPay of the urakmiMay xhibitEay. which was whimisical, grotesque, cute and threatening. it was awesome. the guards were totally on alert. but i give myself mad props for getting away with as much as i did. since the flashier phoneIay is what caught the guards attention the most. i lost an earring though- totally tragic. we made it to the party and we got there in an arrival gap- which i hate. bcs we're the only ones walking down a faux redcarpet, with photographer, interviewer, paparazzi... no seriously. i wouldve actually worn better makeup and done something with my hair had i known. but luckily rachel was there bcs i threw her right in front of the train, before she knew what hit her and used her as a shield as we waved to the cameras, she got interviewed by someone who was being fed factual info on us, then she dazed and i slightly irked but SMILING- we walked to the otherside. fucking hollywood. i still do NOT want to see those pictures. i'm sure the glamerous don't have to endure a full day of work before the festivities on a fucking thursday. anyway straight to the bar where i had a couple "christmas" cosmos... and you know, i'm driving, it's a work night, i'm driving, i can only drink so much to take advantage of an openbar... and starving, popped various appetizers in my mouth that in other realities and good lighting i would not dared to have eaten. they were not warm, but in other circumstances might have been good... had they not been so cold and ill conceived. the drinks though were strong, and dinner was decent. the music decent and while peoples responses to the party were from a hey, this is great! to.. um, yah, pretty good, mostly, i think... maybe. at one point rachel's vision started blurirng and she had to sit down, but that was only after one sip- i think maybe she's allergic to shrimp. it could've been because some guy walked by and said, these are the shortest tables we have- i don't get it. why is height like the last bastion of discrimination- mystery. fat or tall? you're mean for mentioning it. but somehow short jokes don't get old? she didn't get it. which okay was pretty funny in itself. i left her by the firepit and brought back dessert, bravely mingling with a few co-workers+guest. i asked one girl what she did to flippantly reply "nothing" and then when i said, oh well isn't that fantastic! (insert charming story of my dreams of doing nothing) she replied... uh, pet mortician. look i know as an actor you're a fucking cliche but don't be glib. be funny first, then glib and don't act like i talked too much about the "7up series" by saying at the end of the night "have fun with your 7upseries" as if that's the only thing i talked about. because i think what bothered her most is that i had a story for the fact she did nothing, and how i knew someone who actually used to be a beautician for dead people. so don't even try it! fucking actors. another guy said it was his mission to hit all the christmas parties he could. that was funny and charming. and felt no need to inquire further. and i met a guy named phil who worked in investment and threw out what i knew about international markets and order/chaos theory to at least be interested. yes, at one time i used to be a conversationalist AND some what of a social butterfly... which is why i was almost game to start a dance section with friend roxanne, and talked about my 3rd pyscho roommate and her mannequin (way before lars made it hot and inspirational), and had at least two good outs for being trapped in a conversation: come with me to the bar? and oh my god, is dessert being served?!

i still left thinking how about giving us a bonus check. i just overheard that it cost an additional $1500 to keep the openbar open past 10pm... i can only imagine what the actual budget of the party was- bought out the terrace, catering staff, two bar service areas... the fucking red carpet, free valet. and i'm sitting here making like $12 an hour after taxes.

but anyway i drove home not quite sober and woke up with a text from rachel saying, i totally have your wallet. but thank god you have your phone.