Wednesday, January 31, 2007

take a picture, it'll last longer

Behold: a (temporarily, virtually) hairless, dirtless floor.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The (Average) 5: by M

1. I use words that I can't define, but most always use them accurately. For instance on this camping trip I was mercilessly questioned on two words: untoward exuberance and intrepid explorer... in my head i must know what they mean, but when it comes to saying, well it means... i draw a blank space... it's like trying to explain what the and and means... or I... somewhat obvious yet ethereal. So I came home like the elephant I am and looked them up just to validate my ego. Naturally.

2 . I may have talked about this one before but I drop H's at the beginnings of words like "human" and "herb" and i guuuueeessss a few others... I 'ad no idea until June of 2004. I was on a plane bound for NewYork from Istanbul and Peki glances over at me and says- "Say the word "human" again. 'uman. Following 2 years later, my merciless friends Joanna, Danica and Steve feel they can mock me whenever they want about it... though i'm usually quite oblivious, only until after when they all laugh about it. Perhaps I'm english at 'eart. Though bcs I'm an obsessive self-analyzer I think it would be cool to go to a speech historian or something and figure out where i got all my wild colloquialisms. H's or not.

3. I have size 13 feet. I'm sure I've complained about it before and how much it sucks and how I can't find shoes my size unless they're made for drag queens or wisped giants who need no arch support... yes, it indeed blows.

4. I need to own the books I read. I am still scarred by not being able to locate or remember or possess books that I remember from when I was in Junior High... certain fragments and images and nothing to fix them. It's horrible. I look at titles on my shelves and I smile or ponder each one... and it makes me happy to know they're mine and that I can look at them anytime i want.

5. Also I'm bossy and a bit of a whiner, but besides that my most famous reoccuring dreams usually involved alligator enclosures and it is dark and murky and i do not know where they are and the walls are very high and there does not seem to be a way out. . . thank god i haven't had that one in a while... lately it involves escaping a mansion that's on fire and escaping over a maze of hedges bcs someone is chasing me....

i love talking about me... mmm. kurt, q? could you? tag... you're... it? oh and danica... if you're up for it. (mwah.) and sarah and kara.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Five (Obviously Weird) Facts About Pen

Thanks, megs, for the tag. So here goes:

1. I used to get really inspired ideas for writing in the shower. Now whenever I take a shower, all I can think about is how much I hate our shower caddy for rusting, and how I hate shower caddies in general. Metal rusts; plastic mildews. It seems there is no good solution for shower product storage. And it's such an eyesore. The last time I purchased a shower caddy, I actually applied white rustoleum to the rod prior to installation, which worked--but I failed to spray the baskets. I'm wondering if I could keep up with mildew, and/or if a plastic caddy would be aesthetically pleasing enough? Or maybe I should just buy yet another (though final??) metal caddy, rustoleum the whole thing five times over, and call it a day.

2. Whenever I pull down the attic door, I get really scared and kind of wince because I'm afraid it's going to hit me in the face a la Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Even though attic doors typically aren't on rollers like Clark's in the movie. Ours isn't. (I can't, by the way, remember if I've blogged about this before, but there it is.)

3. When I cut things with scissors, my jaw opens and closes in time to the cutting. I didn't realize this until last night when J.Lo kindly mocked me for it. So I tried to cut with my jaw sealed shut, and it was really hard. I wonder if this is similar to the Mouth Open While Applying Mascara phenomena, as detailed by Bridget Jones.

4. I mispronounce words on a regular basis, which only compounds my Fear of Talking. Most often, it's a word that I've previously pronounced correctly, but there's some sort of synapse misfiring that happens (which I watch in my brain like an unstoppable traffic accident), and it just comes out all wrong. Sometimes it's a word I've read but have never spoken, or heard spoken out loud, so I give it a whirl and fall right on my verbal ass. It's particularly embarassing considering that my degrees relate to language. Also, this is something that has been on my List of Things to Blog About for over a week now, so coming soon: Vocab Lessons by Pen. It will be a treat.

5. Even though I'm socially retarded and parties and hosting make me super-anxious, I love throwing them (parties), anyway. I've already started decorating for K.Lo's birthday bashes later this week, and it's totally off the hook. Out of control. It's like we're living day to day in a kid's birthday party, and I love it. It is a madness I embrace. Everyone's birthday, regardless of age, should be a week-long celebration.

Back to hosting, though--I love the prep, I love planning and list-making. I love shopping for all the food and putting it out in bowls and on little plates. And I love seeing people have a good time, it's like I'm giving a gift on a mass scale. The downside and nervousness creeps in, though, because as always it's a risk: they may not like it. And then it's like you're a Party Pariah. But it's worth it all, I think.


Once you start thinking about personal facts and weirdnesses, it's difficult to stop.

6. Yesterday I found a DVD 2-pack of Chasing Liberty and Raise Your Voice for $9.49 at Costco, and squealed at the sight of it. I feel no guilt (monetary) or embarassment (dork factor) whatsoever that I made the purchase. It was a true bargain and I intensely love most movies starring Mandy Moore and Hilary Duff.

7. I am not a Phone Person. Have I blogged about this before? Probably. I have exactly 2 phone friends that I will regularly pick up for, and I do speak with J.Lo just about every day. I also talk to my dad once a week on Sundays, for between 5 and 10 minutes, because he's not a Phone Person either. It's quite genetic. Everyone else, it's so not that I don't love you. But I will screen all calls and if I'm feeling at all awkward, grumpy, busy, or unorginal, I won't pick up. I only feel slightly remorseful--a touch more if I am unable, within approximately 2 days, to shed said awkwardness, grumpiness, business, or unoriginality and muster up the nerve to call you back. I'm an emailer. I like email. Email me.

8. I could eat pasta every day of the week and be more than okay with that.

9. I've been trying to cut out extraneous snacking lately, and through a ginormous show of inner strength, have not purchased new chocolate for the house in a few weeks. I'm worried, however, because there is currently only 1 chocolate peanut butter Hershey's kiss left, and I don't know what I'll do tomorrow after I eat it and still feel like I haven't met my Chocolate Quota for the day. I have a Chocolate Quota, and physically cannot make it if I do not have at least a few pieces within a 24-hour period. I think I should probably go out and buy some more, and just try not to devour it by the giant handful. For society's sake.

10. I watch shows on Noggin, or as it's called after 8 PM, The N, and I'm sad that no one else seems to. I watch Degrassi: The Next Generation and Beyond the Break, and sometimes they make me cry.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

flip the page

hey i'm back from joshua tree... i know you missed me.

things gained: striped hoodie thing from outlet mall for $10.
things thought: i have unique friends... and mostly, they're pretty funny.
things got: sunburned cheeks, scuffed up wrist.
things dreamed: a really nasty mean baby pig kept trying to get into my tent. so not cool.
things observed: stars, but i couldn't say for sure which direction i was headed.
things climbed: rocks, crev'aces, paths, sand, conversation
things tempered: 11 degrees, 28 degrees, 60 degrees...

a really friendly bunny, quail (a pack of them), 1 coyote, 2 hot dogs, 0 tacos : ( , 5 poloroids, 2 120's, too much complaining, 1 bossy boss, 1 tea nazi, a mom, and a couple... 1 lizard, 4 crows, and a gaggle of photographers standing constantly around, and northanger abby ch.1-12.

1 sunrise, 1 frost, 1 starbucks, 1 last piece of log... and lots of chatter.

photos to come...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

the sound of... whatever's on mtv

"Until more research is done about the effects of TV on very young children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend television for children age 2 or younger."

For more on this, and other reasons to feel bad about yourself, please see here.

As K.Lo becomes more aware, I have tried (I have) to cut back on my TV viewing. I've taken audiobooks out of the library, I've started listening to more music, I read. But I have to say... after weeks and months of this, I still feel like something's missing. It's like, too quiet around here. Even when I read, I kind of like the TV on in the background, just because. And the audiobook thing is cool and all, particularly when it comes to Harry Potter, and it's great for escaping into a story while accomplishing something. A craft, or cleaning, or whatever. But for the most part, if the TV's not in the background, even if I'm in another room, I kind of feel like... depressed.

This all started in college. I watched TV when growing up, sure. I watched The Cosby's and Seinfeld, and 90210, and way before all that I watched Electric Company, Sesame Street, and 3-2-1 Contact. I watched Pee-Wee's Playhouse and Saturday morning cartoons. (After these messages...We'll be right back.) Whenever I could get away with it, I watched Nickelodeon and the show with the slime--You Can't Do That On Television. But I also did lots of other things. I checked out stacks of books from the library and plowed through them all. I played kickball and pickle and caught frogs in the pond. I think I was your pretty average kid, and I don't feel like TV took away from the "enriching" experience that childhood is supposedly supposed to be. If anything, it added to it.
My first two years of college, I had about the weirdest fucking roommates I could have been paired with. The first girl owned tight Lee jeans in every color of the rainbow, called me THe Yankee, and changed her voicemail all the time to different versions of, "I'm out huntin' men." The second girl was a Bible Beater (I mean like, the bad kind) who sang opera and wore old lady perfume. It was lose-lose until I met my third roommate, who actually became a good friend and stayed as my roommate through senior year.

But I'd still get lonely. My college was huge, and I've always had trouble connecting with people, being socially retarded and all of that. That's just me. So the TV is like, there. I don't know why, just having it on kind of soothes that gnawing edge of silence, the edge that makes you think just a little too much. The part of silence that makes you feel sorry for yourself. When I lived in Chicago, I ate dinner every night with The Golden Girls. When I was in grad school, Felicity got me through, man.

At this point, keeping the TV on is just habit, but a habit that, quite frankly, makes me feel better. Better than I have been, listening to the sound of refrigerator hum. It makes me feel more like me, just doing how I do, which puts me in a better mood for, guess who? K.Lo.

I think it's whatever makes you happy, whatever's you. It's just, me being naturally inclined toward guilt, I tend to internalize nasty little warnings like those above, issued by the freaking AAP, for cripes sake, and they eat at me. Like my kid's going to turn into a zoned out, unthinking couch potato if this continues. Sorry, but no. I think she'll be quite well-rounded, thank you. With a little luck, anyway. Now if only she'd eat her green beans.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Coach Says, SWIM!

Place: Bed. Nestling into my new feather pillow and a still presistent voice chanted: swim, swim, swim. I gave a long side long glance at my gym bag. Really? Hmm. Swim.Swim.Swim.

I've been avoiding it for quite a few months. the gym i joined finally had their pool filled after what has to be like 2 years. i came back from my uh... hiatus ... of 2 months and saw the glimmering blue aqua and a exclamation mark binged over my head. i took it from over my head and folded it in my pocket- and over the ensuing last couple months i've gazed at the pool longingly like you would an icecream shop you couldn't go in bcs you were on a diet. and well the pool is also right there as you come in- so it's like, fishbowl meets hollywood fishbowl and suddenly it takes all the resilience you can muster to conceive of being on display. but i don't like being ruled by fear or mortification, which is why i still swim in the pacific ocean and pick hair out of the drain, so i opted to go in.

my first attempt was on a friday at 6am... walking late to the N.BS and i dismayed when i glanced down at my jeans and xray vision told me i'd completely neglected a few key things. so you know i have a problem brushing my teeth... and well the 6.25 precent of Bohemian i have in me goes full tilt european, especially during winter... which overall is better for my skin because i used to have a huge ingrown hair problem but TMI. right! right.

and to my lowered head, charlie brown posture, told me i was not brave enough to go the hollywood gym looking like helga from ancestories of yore. i was not going to be working out that day. but as it goes try once, try again- today was the day. everything was planned. the bag was stashed. shorts were worn. a towel was brought... and nothing throughout the day brought me as much joy as my head saying, swim, swim, swim... like it was too good to be true.

and quite anti-climactically all went really well. i sat in the hot spa, waited for the young couple to get out of my way like i was in fried green tomatos- i'd make a good kathy bates- and though i mocked my own form and made excuses to an imaginary person critiquing my preformance a good time was had by all, though i eyed everyone suspiciously and watched the time... and nothing is so good as my oh so heavy earthbound person will tell you- to feel the water rush over the skin.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Crying in the Aisles

we're doing a massive RPL at work- which means we're combing the sections for books to send to purgatory. a lot of the books i'm like, oh yah, that needed to go back where it came from, but some i'm like, aw i never got to read you. and then suddenly i'm sad that all the books are being sent away, and wonder where they go or if they're burned up in a conflagration. one in particular was a picture book called angelo. i stood there and read it unabashadly in the quiet of the morning, about a man and his care and nurturing of a pigeon and how he was this craftsman accomplishing his lifes work and by the end of the very short book i was crying, and thinking oh my god, what is WRONG with me, as i glanced around for any witnesses- i never used to act like such a girl... and lately a few friends and i have all had these peculiar girl moments... i ponder it like a disease that i've been stricken with- as i quickly mopped up the rivlets and sniffed and tried not to think how sad and beautiful angelo was. sniff, mop, mop. why is it i find myself crying? just put the book down and walk away. possibly i've become a healthier person, or at least that's what i used to tell myself... more expressive, vulnerable, compassionate... except for that overwhelming- I'M A FREAK- feeling... though i know we all do it. maybe? and why? but in general i'm against tender moments... sometimes i wonder why everyone feels the need to cry at funerals but i guess we all generally get caught up in a feeling sometimes- whatever those are.

today i read sisterhood of the tp.2. most all of it elicitly caught up and neglecting my work, but it stopped the internal monologue- which went something like, please i have to go. let me go. why can't i go. god? why can't i go? is my replacement here? this is what i will be telling my replacement... . i can best describe it as a storm in the summer- humid- hot in chicago. and the pressure is building and the thunder is cracking and you're just praying that it'll break and the rain will come with that wippet of fresh air as everything is getting drenched. but why won't it come? as everything just builds and builds... the context of all the tennesse williams plays become clear and i find myself in the deep south waiting for something better and possibly crying over all the cruel tender moments of life and death and time ticking by, and a book right then in there is like stepping out of the storm and into a quiet place, with just the hum of central air kicking in.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

they make me happy, 2

Although grainy, here is a pic of K.Lo checking out The Office Valentines box. If you look closely, you may be able to make out Michael Scott holding a big red heart.

Also, why was I at Target again so early in the morning, and so soon after my last trip? Because clearly I have a problem, yes. But also because hello, the new SHINS CD, Wincing the Night Away, is out! And available for purchase this week at Target for $9.98. It's playing right now on my little stereo, and yes it's a good one.

Did anyone know, by the way, that Elyse from ANTM Cycle 1 dates Marty from The Shins? Huh.

happy, 3

Dear hopelessly tacky mini-lemon topiary that I purchased at Home Goods last week,

I like you. I like you a lot.

You're tacky, and everyone knows it. Even me. And I bought you anyway, because truly, you fit in perfect with my grand scheme. I felt tragically compelled in the New Year to decorate with a) bright yellow and b) fake fruit. And there you were on the shelf at the store, a veritable ball of sunshine, and for a price so cheap. You're fabulous. Don't let anyone give you shit.

Besides, you can't be any tackier than those cone-shaped topiary-thingies Martha Stewart was making last week with a hot glue gun and some mini candy bars.

Penelope, your biggest fan

happy, 4

A better recent picture of K.Lo, aka The Bug.

Monday, January 22, 2007

they make me happy

I can't find a picture of them, but in the Valentine's aisle at Target yesterday, I saw 3 box sets of Valentine's Day cards, for friends and office mates. They feature Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, and The Office. How utterly fantastic. The packaging, the presentation, everything. I have no one to give them to, no reason to buy, but just seeing them there on the shelf added a little bit of sunshine to my day.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Oh shit, Yah.

Hey somewhere, somehow we made it to 20,000 HITS. Thanks to the FBI, kurt, Q, all of the subversive and non-subversive talent, and to the random people that feed our ego and keep our dreams alive even when our blogs suck and even when they're brilliant and even though we do/don't know you, we thank you for taking the time to look in at our lives...

Live Hard, BLOG LONG.

xoxo, Mendacious.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

loser baby

I've noticed lately that I don't pay as much attention to my own appearance, i.e. clothes, hair, etc, these days. I just don't think about it as much--not like I was ever a hot sexy and well-dressed bitch, but I used to, I don't know, check myself in the mirror more often, shop for new clothes on a regular basis, It can't be a good thing that I don't think about it much anymore.

I don't know if this is part of being a new parent, i.e. my persistent state of distraction, or if it's that I've been officially out of paying work for a year now and don't need to dress up regularly, or maybe it's my age, like I've self-actualized out of caring so much? (Ha.) Or is it my state of mind. It seems like I've finally crept out of that post-grad school purgatory where you want to slit your wrists all the time because the real world is like, low-paying and no fun. Maybe the low budget and lack of me-earned paychecks has finally hit home and thus inspired my lack of interest in the clothes racks at Old Navy and Target. It's just not even an option anymore, really, unless there's something I really "need," and I certainly have enough clothes crammed into my closet and drawers to get through and not feel like a total frump.

There is a line, a Frump Line, that I do refuse in most instances to cross. That's got to be a positive. And I still hate when my hair needs to be cut; for instance the past week or so I've noticed these dumb sticky-uppies in certainly places along my hairline, and I'm like, where the eff did those come from, and why can't they be tamed by product. (And I do still use product--cheap product, but product nonetheless.) But then--whereas Before I might not have settled until the sticky-uppies learned their proper place on my head--I now just try for a second to smoosh them down onto my head and then when it doesn't work, I'm like, whatever, Igottamoveon.

I have another theory that even if I could buy new clothes as often as I used to, I wouldn't know what the hell to buy. Because a) why--where am I going that's so special? and b) my body's still recovering from the baby, or something. It's not that I'm still a size-up--I am, on some things, and not on others. I'm working on it... It's just that nothing seems to fit quite "right," even if it's the correct size. Nothing lays right--shirts are too short, too tight, not tight enough; jeans are too baggy and too tight in all the wrong places. I just kind of go with the Best of the Ugly and try not to think about it too much.

And then there's rediscovery of old items previously shoved to the side for Another Day. Another Day has apparently arrived, and again--good, bad? Frugal, smart, or totally checked out of society in the manner of George Costanza and his sweatpants. Either these old sweaters and shirts and pants and things have gained new life from being unworn for so long, or I'm just so pleased that something sorta fits. Or I'm too oblivious or preoccupied to care.

I guess I'm just kind of worried I'm going to hit that age or stage where you wear what you've got in your closet Right Now, what's popular/trendy/acceptable at this point in time--but then never progress. Like that subset of women and men who still wear mullets? And stonewashed denim, oversized eyeglasses, and really poofy scrunchies? It's like they took up permanent residence in 1986 and didn't notice that the world continued to evolve around them. And you know these people go out shopping, they're inundated with the media just like the rest of us. It's not like we all have to be cutting edge, but for pete's sake--they know that stuff is out of style. Hair, clothes, everything. And some serious effort has to be put into finding more of it.

And you know, you also have to dress your age. At a certain point, even if they're in, short-short skirts and shorts on a girl=not cool. Don't do that. And I'm sure someday when I'm a grandma, I'll be putting on comfy track suits with the rest of them. But in the meantime--What to Wear, What Not to Wear. Paging Stacy and Clinton... except not really, because how mortifying. I just don't want to ever qualify for one of their hidden camera sting operations. Although, the ginormous shopping spree and trip to NYC, that'd be nice...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

suicide by ribbon

this morning i woke with chagrin and a bitter thought about why it was so hard to wake up and drag myself to work. it was 52 in my room and that probably didn't help. for the first hour it's like night and the store has that deserted feeling- so i brought my manicure kit, sat in a blind spot and made my nails pretty. it's all about finding ways to steal time- you'd be surprised how dirty my hands get though i bravely lotion and buff and scrub... and then of course there was this:
i think this plush toy had second thoughts. in fact he was the saddest of them all really. the rest all have these stupid grins on their faces. the inv.manager came over to me and said go see what happened to your plush toys... and then i saw them all, dangling, hanging still and quiet in their perfectly formed nooses, over the information desk with a suicide note pinned to big bird that went something like: bcs so and so is leaving and it's his last day at work we've decided this is the only solution... big bird and co. out. i don't know what sort of relationship he had with them or why they felt so compelled, but i guess there's this whole other life going on after i leave at 2. and this guy, whoever he was, made an impression on them. now he's gone forever into the eather but he left us with this as a testament to his passing, and i guess his existence, while he was here, he wanted us to know...

(we got them all down before the customers came.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


hi. hello. ditched work yesterday after an internal meltdown. things like putting away laundry, sweeping, organizing cd collection, prepping canvases, seemed worth the money i was missing. though when i realized they didn't get my message and i became MIA and thus on their "radar" i was plagued by that guilty feeling, though appreciated that i was missed if not saught after for various reasons. today i read 'wrinkle in time' and it was quiet and nice. then i went on a hike and it was so clear i could see the pacific. that's the beauty of LA in the winter. clear-as-a-bell. anyway now my knees are suffering and i'm tired... damn nature hike up a hill. and tomorrow is work and nothing seems so bad as it had before. but i'm too sleepy to actually post a post but i'm going to post this anyway bcs why not. futurama is distracting me.

Monday, January 15, 2007


so the frost came and in order to help your poor plants who up till now have been luxuriating in a mild fall to winter... okay most of the time in LA... mom watered them before the frost hit... and thru burlap sacks over our smaller citrus trees... well then the water froze giving us a temporary winter wonderland... which we are not afforded often, though i can say, well you know back in the 80's... and have an actual frame of reference for making frostballs before school in the morning... so anyway there was some plant carnage (which didnot survive the frost)-- some that look black and liqued looking and my beautiful baby nasturtiums didn't make it nor did a few sunflowers and the canna lilies and well other plants i don't want to talk about dying... but anyway the crunchy iced grass and other things were fun and i got to wear a hat and warm sweater and scarf and everything.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

but does it squish.

K.Lo's latest phase is that she won't eat much of anything, other than the old familiars: formula, oatmeal (sometimes), yogurt (sometimes), crackers (maybe), and Cheerios. There are no fruits, no vegetables going into this child, no peas are ever given a chance. Calcium isn't so much a problem, as she has recently become an almost angry fan of Polly-o string cheese. Just don't keep her waiting too long for it, is all I'm saying.

It's not that she won't try anything new, it's just that anything she's feeding herself must pass The Squish Test. If in any way the food can be squished with one tiny baby finger and smeared across the tray, then forget it. It's to the dogs with that mess. Bender and Bailey, by the way, are loving this special time in the life of the Bug.

I've given up trying to force the kid into any of it, as the last thing I want to do is turn her off from new things altogether. She'll get it, eventually. Until then, though, there is this:

Step 1:

Small amount of food, in this case scrambled eggs cooked up special by J.Lo (aka Da-da-da) placed on tray of subject, whom we shall call K.Lo. K.Lo delicately applies index finger to food, and slowly (but with noted force) pushes down.

(Closeup, Step 1.)

Step 2: Subject looks quite pleased with self as she rejects the texture in question. Charms audience.

Step 3: To test validity of The Squish Test, a tiny piece of bacon is placed on tray, Step 1 is repeated.

Step 4: Food in question passes The Squish Test, and item is picked up by tiny baby hand.

And we have success. Item shortly thereafter makes it to subject's mouth and is taste-tested, swallowed. Again she looks quite pleased with herself, having won this round of the War on Squish.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Thursday night lingo

J.Lo and I are plowing through the DVR'd shows from Thursday, and for some reason they're striking me as especially fantastic episodes. My Name is Earl/My Name is Randy/My Name is Joy/My Name is Crabman was pieced together so well and was freaking hilarious. The part with Joy smoking a cigarette and singing along in her car to Faith Hill? Man. The Office and 30 Rock were also hilarious, and from these two shows are two new words/phrases I feel everyone should incorporate into their vocabulary immediately:

1) "Schruted": botched with the flair of Dwight K. Schrute, as in "Boy, I really Schruted that up." Andy made up this term in his hint-dropping to Michael that Dwight needs to go, but how can we not love a verb dedicated to Dwight K. Schrute.

2) "Cheese and crackers!": exclamatory phrase similar to "Damn it all to hell!" or, "Motherf%cker!" but softer, more creative, and dorky-chic. As in, "Cheese and crackers, that really hurt!" Used by Kenneth the page when grease-burned by Tracy Jordan's malfunctioning Meat Machines.

And how about Dwight forlornly leaving the office holding only his bobblehead? Seriously, it just gets better and better.

Friday, January 12, 2007


so, we were hosing down the peach tree with our trick power washer (bcs of evil leaf curl fungus) and i decided to wash off the dusty grapefruit tree- the spectacularness of a rainforest covered in mist- as the dark and light intersected ensued... good times.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

2 Month Mark

It doesn't seem i've been at the National Bookstore chain that long. But alas. So it goes.

Lately I've found myself muttering as I organize my perfect kingdom. Which by the way i've totally gotten compliments about- like: I've never seen it so organized. It's so beautiful. You're wonderful... so it's not that I don't feel validated. I mean even though the NB/C is only raising our wages bcs then they can say they pay "more" than minimum wage. Though they spin it in the grandest most benevolent of ways... like for instance I will find out on friday what sort of raise i got. Like I get the "max now" of $8.00 and starting was $7.50. So technically they can sort of underhandly undercut my base rate by saying, well you make that now, so we don't have to give you anymore... or maybe they might give me a quarter. I stir at the injustice of the employees all across the country getting undercut like this and internally a little synapse is well all snappy and twitchy about it.

Anyway back to the muttering: I finally dialed into my internal monologue and it seems that I am obsessively making a check list about "what to tell the newbie"... such as where i hide the extra books, how to organize things, what gets messy first, how to maintain order bcs that's what people respect, and why do people bring/leave the sex books in my section and that one klepto must have stolen all the southpark seasons by now, and am i being watched? assume yes, which book should i read next.... I find it incomprably hard to change the channel: tell them, do that, change that, it's time. And in this litany of mental word-waste I halt occassionally with the realization that the end is not in sight, that I do not have a replacement and that 2wks worth of pay is only $450. And how am i going to nicaragua or oxford on that? And when am I going to make time to paint and write... and and... so then when this whole week I'm sick and can't convince myself to just go home and i have too much cough syrup before i go to bed and it's late and my heart is beatinng too fast i think this is the real expression of how i feel- like it's boiled to the surface. For one moment I can see a true reflection beyond the calm exterior I've somehow developed... this unflapable, unshakable, calm mendacity- utterly mistaken about how patient she seems or calm she's been about waiting. It's hard to shake until I find something else to fill my mind with. Today I read JunieB.Jones, which left me with a craving for cookies, hoagies and a fond reminesce about my own lunch lady in 1st grade, read MagicTreeHouse#19, found myself completely envious that they got to go to India on an adventure, then spiraled into the psychological ramifications of going on continual journeys for a mystery woman and facing near death circumstances at 10, constantly... and then i finished the Handmaid's Tale- which for as much as people think it's great I think it totally sucks to read a book about a stupid woman who frets her way thru slavery and half heartedly contemplates suicide but not revolution.

Having survived the week, I know 2 days will not nearly be enough. I think Monday I'll start Sisterhood#2 and possibly another JunieB.Jones or maybe read about RocketShips... but anyway at the end of the day at 1:56pm an author came in to sign her books. The book is called Erec Rex: The Dragon's Eye. But we only had one copy and it seemed sad to have only one. She's from Cincinnati, and though we disparaged her a bit before we met her I understood why she came to leave her mark here in the section bcs she happened by, and I thought: here is a book she wrote, out in the world, and I'm going to respect that... and she brought a book for the kids section lead to read (which is me) and she signed it "Enjoy this Book from Me! Never Stop Dreaming! I never did~" and so whether good or bad I'm going to carry it with me.

that's all I'm sayin'.

So I just Netflixed A Lot Like Love, which was that romantic comedy with Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet. Remember the trailer? I have to say, the trailer is the reason I didn't see this movie sooner, which is unfortunate. I mean, I kind of love both Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet, I'm a sucker for a formulaic romantic comedy, and I'm always (unlike with music) looking for a new one to indulge. I waited so long to see A Lot Like Love because, frankly, I thought it looked pretty stupid. I mean, even more stupid than is normally acceptable. I have a pretty high threshold for stupid when it comes to my chick flicks. But the trailer, or maybe it was just pregnancy hormones talking at the time back in '05, seemed to highlight the more slapstick elements of the movie, such as Amanda Peet taunting Ashton with two straws stuck up her nose. Or Amanda Peet walking full-on into a glass door. Et cetera. Slapstick has its own place in my...heart? I do like slapstick, every now and then. But in a romantic comedy, not so much. A brief and well-timed moment such as the kid throwing the paper--and slinging himself off the bike as well--in While You Were Sleeping is golden. Or if the whole movie is deliberately and thoughtfully filled with slapstick moments, like Drop Dead Gorgeous, that's something different. That's smart. It's not meant to attract 10-year-old boys to the flick.

Aside from the too-high stupid-to-engaging ratio, the A Lot Like Love trailer also did what I suspected: it told the whole freaking story. I mean, seriously, the trailer is the movie, in a very tiny nutshell. It goes through the entire thing, except for the kiss in the end. They kiss in the end! They get together! That's the only thing you're missing, which obviously--not a big shocker. But still. I realize it's a challenge to convey the basic bones of a movie in a tempting way, in order to "tease" the moviegoer into saying, I so want to see that, particularly when the movie covers a 7-year time span and a lot of character evolution. But to include everything up until the last five minutes? Retardo. I don't want to be told the movie is something it's not, but I also don't want to know everything that happened, either. What's the point?

In the end, A Lot Like Love was mindlessly enjoyable in the way a chick flick should be, and if it ever plays all day on TBS, I'm very sure that I will tune in. It was worth the rental. But I should have rented it months ago, and I would have, had it not been for the crappy ad campaign.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

new grooves

I think it was in a college class where I learned that music makes a little map in your brain when you hear it. So the songs you've heard and loved before have already made their grooves in your mind, and when you hear them, they fall in instantly. Whereas new songs, songs you aren't familiar with, have to cut an entirely new path, which might explain why it's harder to accept them right away.

I'm the kind of girl who likes to listen to a song or CD over and over and over (and over and over and over) again before changing it out. It drives J.Lo, who regularly brings tall stacks of different CDs to and from work, crazy. If I pick him up from somewhere, sometimes I'll change over to the radio before he gets in, out of embarassment. Because seriously, I must average about one CD a month in the car.

My mom gave us her "old" (i.e. a year old) ipod last year, and I immediately handed it over to J.Lo. I knew he would get way, way, way more use out of it than me. He could create a massive song list on the computer and change it out whenever, and he did--still does. He uses it in the car, at the office. And I was just as happy for him to have that.

I asked for an ipod for Christmas because while the desire wasn't as pressing, I thought I could get some use out of it. On walks, or while vacuuming, gardening, or whatever. It'd be way more manageable than the Discman, and way less primitive than the pocket radio. So J.Lo hooked me up with the nano, and I have to say... I love it so.

I listen while I'm reading, mainly, and while taking care of some of the chores around here, and it totally transforms the world. It's like your life literally set to a movie soundtrack, as I've heard Kim discuss. How fantastic is it to dust to the songs you love--as many times as you want in a row, without assailing the ears of those around you?

I notice, though, that as ever, I'm falling into the same old habits. My playlist is pretty long, and because the ipod is convenient to use, I purposely included some new stuff on there so that I could, I don't know, actually listen to it? Like the new Amos Lee, Sarah Harmer, Donovan Frankreiter, and Madeleine Peyroux CDs we received for Christmas. All on there, and yes, I've listened to them each one time apiece. Then there's OKGO, which I've been curious about since the VMA awards because they seriously look like fun. Made it through a track or two, one time only. And the Little Willies--I love Norah Jones, why haven't I listened to the Little Willies yet? Most of the time I scroll through the Artist list and I'm like, totally I should listen to... hmmm, yeah nevermind. Maybe later. And it's always The Beatles, and Simon & Garfunkel, and John Mayer, and Amos Lee (the old album), that I'm drawn to. It boggles the mind that I'm so in love with all of these--how and when did my ever-resistant brain allow those old grooves to form? And am I going to do the same thing to The Shins on January 23rd, dissing Wincing the Night Away for the known comfort of Oh, Inverted World? I should hope not. Talk about missing out.

Monday, January 8, 2007

An Epiphany's Tale

Epiphany: 1 capitalized : January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ : an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being (1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure b : a revealing scene or moment ...

On the day of Epiphany the light in my room went out. Or rather when i came in, the flick of the switch produced a loud pop and short from the lightbulb and i stood in the dark wondering why today of all days, let alone ever, must my light periodically and probably dangerously cease to be. I have auxillary lights but they don't satisfy, and by what happened to me later i took it as a significant harbinger of what was to come- not unlike poor tess of the d'ubervilles when a crow kaws and a flagarant air of doom possesses the entire novel, and poor tess walks on oblivious. As did i, but so far i have a much happier and redemptive end then homicide.

The next day went on as Sundays should. Late, fashion crisis, reluctantly tread I to church. I sit and listen to the service in the lobby. He's talking about the problems we have adjusting to being 'adopted' into God's family- but people are coming and going, and at one point i'm pretty sure my director/slash/pastor is crying or 'choked up' bcs he's talking about his beautiful adopted daughter and her serious trust and control issues and how in his struggle with this he feels God working. Fairly heart breaking the destructive tests we put people thru in order for us to prove they don't really care, or will when tested, abandon us... I glazed over the rest and it was over, and after some tasty el pollo loco, and a redeux of the mango/aloe dessert of '06, I went to a celebration of Epiphany. Reluctantly.

But sometimes I like to be made to do things. My twisted form of peer pressure. If they say, M, go. Just come. I more than likely will bcs I recognize in most instances I'm completely anti-social. And also now that I have to be in bed by 830 I have an excuse to disappear from most events. But this one, accompanied not only with tea in china cups, and a random assortment of women, and artists at that- stood a woman looking a lot like the blonde bette midler who has a passion for the younger generation- is so intent on being a mentor to us and wanting us to be christ-minded and celebratory all year long (so that it's not about the days endlessly ticking by from monday to friday, thank god for saturday, but that there's more satisfaction in exploring outside the self and your continum boredom with life or days like wed-nes-days) inspired a sentiment in me with words like sharing my abundance and building my community and expressing awkward emotions like affection and love... she passed around a bottle of port and we toasted: 'to the revolution'. O Captian My Captain!! I will kiss your feet and follow you anywhere.

Perhaps warmed by the port and slumping frightfully into the winged back chair of this modern day victorian drawing room my friends and i departed. Feeling blessed by friendship and in communion with all my fellow man, driving over over the hill, the crisp sparkling lights contrasted with night, saying that the other day I looked left and could see the ocean, so clear was the day... I dropped off my friend D to her husbands care, pulling up to her apartment and in the redzone, took an abandoned plant of hers and hopped back in my car to speed tardily home and on my way- so past was I on my appointed slumber hour...

When: the danger chord struck and the key would not do it's work. It stuck sadly out. I jiggled the wheel, checked the gear, flipped the key, shook, shimmyed, hammered... and nothing. I called my mom and dad for idiot proof advice to no avail and then with chagrin trudged back up to my friends apartment, moped in to use the bathroom and told them my car was broken.

I came back out and as true friends do they were also jiggling the wheel, checking the gear, flipping the key, shaking, shimmying, hammering... and nothing. We checked the manual, googled the situation and found quite possibly that my ignition switch was dead and that it was a wide spread ford focus problem, which if you've had this happen you should lodge a complaint immediately. We contemplated getting it out of the redzone but alas no. Or leaving it, but no.

One of the best presents my mom ever gave me was my AAA card. And having utilized it for numerous LA related freeway issues or like when I was 21 and freaking out and late to class how i locked my keys in my car with the engine running... but i digress. They said that, gee, wasn't i lucky to have a $60 free assessment service... sure. okay. The guy shows up pretty frickin quick and within a munite I'm informed that the switch has to be replaced and that it'll be $265. Yes. $265. I have $50 in my bank for the next 2 wks. $3o is for gas. My discovercard is approaching max and I give out a bit of a whine and then a frowny grumbly sound and a big sad pouty face. S says that he will charge it to his card and that I can pay him back. I grumble mainly bcs I hate to impose in such a manner and like most good daughters do, blame their mothers for getting the car in the first place. I call mom and we work out the options, as there is none, and she says she'll write S a check- as the pressure of being indebted to my mom is a much less ominous feeling. It's not my fault she bore me!

I gave S/D a group hug, hopefully thanked them for the cherries and tea and the moral support and the being there part and wended my way home in the now AM hours. SO unbelievably grateful for friends and family and twinging with regret at people who don't have such wonderous things... and overwhelmingly grateful to have made it home, the time, malfunction, and the lack of sleep and the money seemed not to anger me at all.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Day by Day

The perfect crystalization of thought and time are not coalescing... hence the long absence. There are things to tell you about like my absolute irritation of working all last week. And the perfect week after Christmas- If I were going by the tradtional calendar, Christmas started the day of and just ended yesterday on the day of Epiphany- crossing the new year. It was 2 wks of opposites.

I will recount it in shorthand for you now, but maybe just pick a few days you're interested in bcs my obsessive need to recount each day should not interfere with your need to not be here all day:

Dec. 24th- dad asleep on the couch: my aunt, mom and i do a whirlwind marathon game of pictionary. they are most impressed with my ability to draw upside down. the world begins to look a little brighter.

Dec.25th- (partridges) fresh squeezed oj: a day of full-tilt excess, heaps of fudge and 4 hours of television. a true day of celebration. except for my aunt apparently, who upon learning her car was dented, quarreled, told my other aunt to shut up, threw her presents on the ground, explained that "her christmas had been ruined!", and stormed out of the house. and all before dinner. the world is clarified.

Dec. 26th- (turtle doves) i'm at work: there is nothing to be said about this except we thought anyone out shopping was 'sick' and we looked forward to not being there. but there was enough fudge in my system that the world was still holding steady.

Dec. 27th- (french hens) kidnapped: my friend from his house. we had breakfast and he came back and we had dinner. his mom called at one point and said that she missed him, and that he should come back to the house... but we didn't relent and we hiked to the bronson caves, and tried see the lake in hollywood, but it was closed, and the sun set and the sausage i ate was turning against me. rapidly. and he went home. the world is perilous and full of adventure.

Dec. 28th- (calling birds) today and after: i took my cousin sean out for his birthday. we talked about that side of the family being sheeple. a word i am endlessly amused by. i am glad i am friends with my cousin. i went to my director's house for his birthday... it was strange. he said, he was glad i came. i told them about a dream i had where i was heading down a mountain on a bus with people i went to k-12 with- i said, if i have to die i'm glad it's with you guys. later after we'd escaped, a man i know, was going to give a sermon in the embassy. he said, you can escape your captors but you can't escape the mountains maw... i had to look up the word maw. the world is a curious place.

Dec. 29th- (golden rings) visits continue: i watched shadow of a doubt, talked to a friend i hadn't seen in nearly 8 months. the world is pleasant by a warm fire around a hearth, around the dogs around the living room, around the house, which is around the dark.

Dec. 30th- (geese a'layin') perfect vacation: a japanese soup involving wheat noodles, fried tofu, fishcakes, carrtos, and mushrooms. a dessert involving actual real chunks of aloe soaked in leeche nut juice, mangos and a generous squeeze of lime. Followed by Edward Scissorhands the BALLET... sure it's drawing the teen crowds. But as I slouched down in our balcony seats I thought- 2 hours without talking. OH GOD. The dancing was great sure, I knew what was going to happen but I think I'd rather have seen a musical- i mean if choices had to be made, or a play but then you know it's by the same guy who did the all male version of swan lake and that was HOT! anyway after watching a hip and jazzy edward scissorhands with the leading lady dressed in jeans and unflattering plaid top- makes me wonder if it has anything to do with the director being gay that the lady was so unflattering fitted which i know is an UnPC thing to say but you had to be there along with the hot all male version of swan lake which in his more controversial days he said stanislovsky would've done bcs he was gay- so apparently we're both making similar judgements. anyway after that my friend bought a couple pieces of my art. the world is an artistic and surprising place.

Dec. 31st- (swans a'swim'in) among company: i went to church and spent the day among my new friends- it was perfect. though we were hunched over and freezing outside. it was like family. that night i went to my friend's house who i kidnapped a few days before. his sister is all grown up, the food was delicious though just needing a little dash of seasoning... i then strained a vocal chord and was in bed by 12:30. It was a fun time but I'm sure the strained vocal chord might be a warning for excess in the new year but I can't help but hope that though tempered the year will be beautiful. the world is full.

Jan.1- (maids a'milkin) working: a feeling of being slightly hungover... and thinking anyone shopping today is sick and i looked forward to not bein g there.

Jan.2- (ladies dancing) working: even more pissed off that i'm at work.
Jan.3- (lords a leaping) working: the first half went fine, it then became a chore to count the hours by. the first half went fine, it then became a chore to count the hours by.
Jan.4- (pipers piping) ... working: the first half went fine, it then became a chore to count the hours by. the first half went fine, it then became a chore to count the hours by.
Jan.5- (drummers drumming) working: a friend came by, so glad to see, went out went up and over, to eat, to buy socks... and possibly some hairdye. by then the world was brighter again...
Jan.6- (EPIPHANY)- it was great to be with family and friends again- working in the garden, having tea and all the little things that make life worth living.

the END.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Friday, January 5, 2007

I do not like them apples.

This morning at Target, I purchased a box of Cinnamon Apple Fruit Crisps, new from Nature Valley. They're basically seasoned and baked apples, tiny, crunchy and in a bag. I've been wanting to try them for awhile, as what could be better than crispy little pieces of apple, and they do actually fulfill 1 daily serving of fruit. That's difficult to achieve in the snack aisle. They were on sale, and I had a coupon--score.

Maybe it's just me, but the second the apple pieces hit my tongue, I was reminded of... SpaghettiOs. I tried them again, and then a third time. SpaghettiOs! Which, actually, I happened to love as a child, so much so that I was able to order a SpaghettiOs spoon engraved with my name, a spoon I still own. But first of all, anything cooler than piping hot SpaghettiO's=big no. Ew, yuck, ew. And also, SpaghettiOs is a food that has a very specific little niche in a person's palette. You have to be in the mood for what is essentially canned pasta with tomato soup as a sauce. The flavor does not belong anywhere else, at any other time. It especially does not belong in one's mid-morning snack, in a shiny green crinkly bag that is allegedly filled with apples.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

scissor sister

Do you ever find yourself doing something that you know is a stupid idea, and take time in your mind to recognize that fact, yet keep going just because you're on a roll? This morning I was rifling through a bunch of bags trying to find suitable wrapping paper for a 1-year-old, and a pair of sharp-ass scissors dangled from my teeth. I thought, hmmm, probably not the best idea--but then thought about the effort it would require to take the scissors and put them somewhere else, when my hands were already busy, and vetoed the idea. How stupid. Which is exactly what the people hovering over my casket would say when they discussed the accident where I tripped and fell, impaled my own throat somehow and consequently bled to death. Why the hell did she have scissors dangling from her teeth?

Wednesday, January 3, 2007


It occurs to me that I mentally measure myself against other people in terms of "good" and "bad." Like, this person is markedly more frugal than I am, and therefore they are more "good." Because I should be more frugal, even more than I already am. Or, this person gave birth naturally, i.e. without the assistance of pain meds, and they too are more "good." They wouldn't even consider the meds as an option; I on the other hand, was like okayyeahdopemeupa.s.a.p., please. And I knew it would be that way all along. To these "good" people, whether or not we are friends, I feel like they see me as "bad."

Then there are comparitively "bad" people--not saying whether or not I approve of the badness. In some cases, I wish I could be more bad. To these people, I feel like I'm seen as "good," sometimes too good. Like goody-two-shoes, or worse, like high-and-mighty. Like I'm not enough of a rule-breaker, and I floss every day, and I like to clean and cook, and I clip coupons. And somehow a "bad" person who sees me as too "good" might think that I think they are bad for not doing the same, or that I'm above them, when really I don't think that, at all.

It seems like I make the best connections with those I see as closest to me on the good/bad perception scale. Like I see myself as a person who is for the most part "good," in that I try to treat others nicely (while retaining snark!), and generally try to "do the right thing," but I also have certain vices and quirks and other "badnesses," which I do try to own. Everyone has vices and quirks and badnesses, but not everyone owns them--which isn't a matter of "good" and "bad" but something else entirely... And some "badnesses," quite frankly, I'm proud of. Although in the presence of "good" people, I don't know that I have the confidence to convey it.

Of course it's all a matter of perception, and maybe the "good" people don't see me as "bad," and the "bad" don't see me as "good." You can't crawl into another's brain and find out, all you can do is speculate. (Or better, not worry about it.) And I suppose it doesn't really matter except for the way you feel around others, and how that in turn affects the way you act. Like, around a "good" person, do I bend too much to what I think is also "good" in their eyes, so as to make myself sound better or try and relate to them more somehow, and/or am I compelled to say and do "bad" things more often in their presence, because the person is so "good?" Like what must they think of me? And around a relatively "badder" person, do I act marginally prissier, or does it just seem that way in my own head... are my silences speaking louder than I mean them to? I think about it so hard, I probably I just seem wishy-washy.

Ultimately, isn't all this good/bad perceiving judgmental? Judgmental="bad" for sure. But not in a "good" way. Judgmental could seemingly fall into the "good," i.e. "high-and-mighty" category, which is so not desired. On the other hand maybe it's just as bad/pointless/etc to be judging oneself the same or harsher as everyone else. Maybe when it comes to me being relatively "good" or "bad," it's just me I hear talking after all.

Around those that I connect with best, I don't think I'm thinking about whether I'm being seen as "good" or "bad." Around those people, I suppose I'm just me, just pen, and all that other analytical crap falls away. Although, in being "me," I can't help but be analytical... Hmmm. Time for a cookie.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

i'm living vicariously through anyone....

...who takes up this sick BOGO offer from amazon. Imagine purchasing the first 3 seasons of Seinfeld for like, $35, total. Or the first 2 seasons of Dawson's Creek for $40. Or Party of Five for $36. Or...

Damn you, evil credit card balance and goody-goody resolution to spend less, damn you both!

Monday, January 1, 2007

m's rez

  1. stop being so all or nothing
  2. keep working out
  3. fly kites
  4. keep camping
  5. keep adventuring
  6. leave the county, the boundary, the state, the continent
  7. pray for a better job so i can pay down my debt faster
  8. read, study, pray, know, see, wonder
  9. laugh
  10. plant
  11. write
  12. foster
  13. live
  14. be kind, gentle, patient
  15. do.
  16. spend-wise.
  17. forget
  18. go
  19. be.

pen's resolutions, more or less

1. eat healthy stuff
2. read
3. retain snark
4. blog
5. organize
6. go to beach

1. eating crap stuff
2. buying
3. residing in bitchland
4. stockpiling
5. denial
6. annoyance at dogs

The First Day

The word of the day was fatidic: of or relating to prophecy... I felt it appropriate to begin '07 on such a note. I got in my car with a faint malaise, at working but not at the new year. The last song on my cd made a merry end as if i'd turned off my radio moment too soon. I clicked it to FM and a death cab for cutie song came on- and before i looked for a prophetic meaning the song had ended and i couldn't remember the name or any of the lyrics. I burned oil @ 80 all the way into hollywood, drove thru my first hard yellow of the year and saw someone being arrested as a homeless guy was slumped on a bench near by.

I wasn't quite sure if Mc'ds was a good way to start the new year but i reasoned that i hadn't given up breakfast there, and a full and stable me made it worth it, considering i had to work, which even as i sit here among my books and a small notepad, i can only muster a tempered annoyance, but i know it's brewing. The teller wished that i would have a nice day, and departing from the scripted interchange i said, Happy New Year, and I felt it break like a spell at dawn. Ah, yes, there it is I thought, as I looked for parking, saw two women happily hugging each other, still dressed in heels and glitz- and walking, past strewn silver and black cups and an occassional streamer and the row of the homeless up and stirring behind, there it is. The new year. I don't know if it means anything but gives my heart and mind a chance to set itself toward something new even if the same story still exists.

things i don't ever see myself doing

Just because I'm a wuss:

1) opening a bottle of champagne
2) same principle: opening a can of Pillsbury rolls
3) driving a stick-shift car

As far as I can tell, avoiding these activities my whole life through won't leave me feeling like "something's missing," or whatever, or otherwise prevent me from self-actualization. I guess they're all good skills to have. Best leave them to braver souls, though.