Thursday, June 28, 2007


Preperations for my roadtrip underway... things packed: travel connect four, special artfeatured playing cards, $5 in change, and a hat.

Places i'm not going: Yellowstone, GrandCanyon, New Orleans. Expected places we'll stop: Hastings Nebraska- they have a great koolaid and natural history museum. Search for: the biggest ball of stamps. Hope to: go waterrafting in Colorado. Eat at the taste of chicago. Buy high-grade fireworks.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Yes, Just Then I Had Nothing To Blog About, But Now...

So I'm driving home and on the phone (handsfree) with my roadtrip partner in crime to be. It's a sunny warm day and traffic is moving at a good clip, 5 miles from home. Coming home early in fact. The fast lane. Lately avoiding the slower lanes because the trucks crush the pave and make it like a 3rdworld roadhazard from one huge crack and dip to the next.

The fast lane though, the fast lane is smooth sailing. Until suddenly there's some rapid breaking and dodges to the left shoulder. Real fast. In tandem. And me, left with pie on my face. Except the pie is a 3ft long 7in" tall and just as thick, hunk of metal. And i think, well, fuck i'm going to hit it, and oh shit, no, it's not going to clear my car. In one immobile mocking swoop it cracked my bumper, took out my radiator, ripped the coolant line, gashed my oil pan, punctured the transmission pan and sent my OH FUCK! button blinking. But just initially i said, Oh, my gosh, i just hit something. Yes, yes, i am going to pull over- as the impact sent dust into my air vents... I watched it spiral to the side and less harmfully parrelled the oncoming traffic and i saw a truck pulling over to the shoulder and wondered if he'd maybe lost a carthrashingdevice. For a few blissful seconds the car seemed okay. i made it to the 2nd lane when ! "ohshit" light came on and then to the slow lane where the check engine light aka "you're fucked" also signaled my steady decline from okay to not.

I thankfully, speedily made it off the freeway, not interrupted by one car, and had enough time to pull under the overpass as my car began to sputter and die. I remained on the phone with my friend, watching the life of my car ooze down the cement, floods of green and black oily death. She expressed her concern that I'd also just lately gotten a ticket and then i mentioned to her that a car hurtled at her just a few weeks ago as she stood by some guys parked car, and he crashed. I began to immediately worry for our safety on the trip. Then: how am i getting to work? And: Oh, yah, this is my parents car and dad saying, well it's only worth $4,000 and now we've got $2,500 worth of damages and blah blah blah.... I'm not quite ready to buy a car I thought. And shouldn't I call someone about the carthrashingdevice? Has someone already called? Has someone else already hit it? Who lost it? Who for fucksake put it there and left it for me to hit? But I should probably call someone shouldn't I??

In instant replay i continue to hit the object deadon. I think about swerving and if i do it punctures my tire, blowing it, and i spin out and get thrashed by oncoming traffic. In instant replay i swerve and miss it and the next guy hits it. In instant replay the other cars honk and warn me in time, but I still hit it. I still hit it. Still. And my car is still not okay.

she said, "cheeeeese!"

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

dear God,

It's me, penelope. This letter serves as my formal request: please don't ever let me become Angry Mom. You know who I mean. Every mom gets mad, annoyed, and/or frustrated at her kids now and then, or feels just angry in general, about whatever. But some moms walk around as Angry Mom, with perpetual Angry Chips on their perpetually Angry Shoulders, and they are no picnic to be around. They scowl and snarl, they never comb their hair. They snipe at their kids constantly, nothing the little ones ever do is right. They seem to hate their husband, their lot in life, the whole world in general. They complain, they scowl some more, they never ever laugh. And I know, it's true, I don't know their plight, so who am I to judge.

But I do know that these women radiate Deathly Hostility Rays onto the world, out at the store or wherever, particularly drawing a bead on any fellow mother who seems at all less dissatisfied with her own life. Women who enjoy their children, say. Or, let me be more specific: women who are clearly oblivious to how annoying children are or, if they aren't now, surely will be one day. (And you're having another? they ask with their eyes. Huh, good luck with that.)

Then, possibly even more grating, is Angry Mom who feels you couldn't possibly appreciate your children enough. The one who might keep her hair neat, but the smile remains just as pinched. This one says, with an air of sullenness about her, Be grateful for what you have. It's like, in supposedly saying something nice about your child, i.e. You really were blessed with a wonderful little girl, she is also insinuating, but you couldn't possibly understand that, could you. Since you (I) only have one kid and all. And because her own cute, polite, and well-behaved children are clearly so horrible and not up to snuff. She resents you from the start.

This latter Angry Mom then grows into Angry Regret-Projector Mom, and older mom who accosts you, traps you into a corner, and falls just short of grabbing your arm and twisting a little bit. She gets in your face and says, No really, you must enjoy your children now, I insist.


Dear Angry Moms,

I've got it covered, back the eff off. Though, I am sorry for your plight.



Dear God,

Me again. So, do we have a deal? I would be eternally grateful, thanks.


Monday, June 25, 2007


For now i will give you my thoughts on the following:

-Waiting to transfer your CC$ till after a low intro APR offer lapses is a bad idea. It's just going to cost you more money all around.
-Make sure your tank is full and your tires are properly inflated before a roadtrip. It helps to save gas. and keeps you from almost running out 5 miles before the starbucks you're trying to get to so you don't have to call your friend who is ahead of you and ask how many miles before the next gas station.
- Wd-40 can solve almost anything. like that squeak in the back right corner of my car that was driving me crazy. totally gone!
-When trying to fly a kite at the beach make sure there is actually a breeze and that whoever you bring with you isn't allergic to the sun or paranoid about her purse getting stolen.
-Taking magazines from the reception areas IS fun.
- Make friends with the tech guys. They can install wonderful things. Like the "watchnow" feature on netflix. Which by the way, so awesome- recently watched: Who the (#*$@( is Jackson Pollock. Lovely documentary, good commentary on the game of art and why what is worth so $$much.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

drama at the yard sale!

Yard sales are funny. Just like an airport, they're a fabulous place to people-watch. Shoppers will haggle over a quarter, women will tell you to your face that your prices are too high and that the clothes you're selling (and that they're buying) are ratty. Old men look through your old VHS movies and tell perverted, out-of-context jokes that you don't know what to do with. Mexican families who speak about 10 words of English between them show up by the van-load and peruse items with a very specific sort of frugality and intensity. Usually at yard sales, I don't sell a lot. You put in a lot of work the week or two before, compiling items, pricing them out, making and hanging signs, placing an ad, and crossing your fingers that sacrificing a perfectly good Saturday morning typically spent sleeping in and lounging around in your pj pants will be worth it.

Yesterday's sale was actually worth it. I was fortunate this time to do the yard sale at a neighbor's house with a great setup. I didn't even have to go in on the ad (I wasn't allowed), or hang signs. My neighbor had a lot more things to sell and made a boatload more money, but for me, who didn't have one item over $2, I did pretty good, raking in about $60. We had a regular stream of traffic from about 45 minutes before the sale officially started, through til noon. The better part of the morning was also cloudy, which means it wasn't as brutal a heat as it could have been, for a North Carolina morning in June.

Drama pulled up in an SUV midway through the sale in the form a mother (early 30s) and daughter (about 7), with their little chihuahua/Boston-mix puppy. They lived just around the corner. The mom was friendly enough, loquacious with both us and the other yard salers, and seemingly down to earth. She picked out several Brat Pack movies from the VHS box, so you know she had to be all right. The interesting thing about her shopping method, though, was the level of indiscrimination. Yard salers tend to be quite picky; most know what they're looking for, and if it's not there, sayonara. And people want a bargain, yes, but if they're on the fence at all about something, regardless of how cheap, it seems like more often than not, they walk away. This lady did not walk away from much of anything. If she or her daughter liked the item even a little bit, onto the pile it went. Armloads of clothes, kid crafts, videos, my entire stack of CDs. She barely looked at stuff before deciding yes, I totally want that toothbrush holder/tissue box cover/soap dispenser set for my bathroom. She didn't care if it was cracked, or if the clothes had holes. A few items my neighbor even tried to talk her down from, and she dismissed it. Not a problem, she said. Some yard salers, too, are in the resale business, like for flea markets and eBay, but this women acted as though she intended to use each and every item. And no special occasion, either. She didn't seem like a career yard saler, it just seemed like they were out for a random Saturday jaunt to sales around the neighborhood.

Under an hour later, all the lawn chairs we had been sitting on and the surrounding patch of driveway were filled with piles of the To Be Bought. Something in my brain told me not to get too excited about the biggest sale of the day before I actually had cash in hand, but I added up the items anyway, and gave her a loose estimate of $17, which was quite a markdown. My neighbor also intended to give her a break, but while she was deciding the price, the woman sunk down into one of the chairs. All the color drained from her face, neck and shoulders, and her eyes closed. Shopped until she literally dropped. Clearly she was having some sort of moment, and my initial guess was that she became dehydrated and overheated in the now-present sun. She had trouble forming sentences, giving out her husband's phone number so we could call him for help. She couldn't manage to drink any water. The daughter, while helpful, remained interestingly unphased. If the girl was really worried, she didn't show it.

The cynical, skeptical asshole side of me starts to think that either a) this woman realized how much she was about to spend and was embarassed she didn't have the cash with her, b) she is a yard-sale scammer, and would somehow walk away with all this stuff for a ridiculously low price, or c) that this is something she does for attention. The nice, sympathetic, non-asshole side of me also considered that it could be d) a legitimate health issue, which would surely be both scary and embarassing for the woman and her daughter.

Actually, after all was said and done, it was not quite clear what the deal was. I just kind of watched the whole thing unfold without any conclusive judgment or alarm. My neighbor and her mother walked the woman into the house to use the bathroom, which she never made it to. She kind of slumped to the floor instead and drifted in and out of coherency. She managed to relay her mother's phone number, and her mother confirmed that this happens quite a bit to her daughter. Doctors apparently aren't sure what or why it happens, but she's been undergoing tests for some sort of diagnosis. Her husband finally picked up his phone later, after the ambulance crew arrived, and said he would be right over to get their daughter.

Meanwhile, K.Lo and I are out on the lawn, keeping tabs on the sale and trying not to crowd the scene. No one's really there at the moment other than an older Greek woman who is talking our ears off about Scorpio babies and I can't really understand what else. I nod and smile and say "yeah" a lot, and kind of hope she shuts up soon. She knows my neighbor and wants to say hello, and though it's more than obvious that there's a scene happening and that my neighbor's on the phone just behind the glass front door, she walks up and rings the doorbell anyway. It's the oddest thing.

The rescue squad wheels up a stretcher to the house, but the woman doesn't end up using it. She stumbles out of the house, still faint and mumbling that she's all right, while the EMTs walk alongside her, briskly informing her that yes, she's saying she's all right, but in actuality, she's still faint and mumbling. They do one more test on the lawn, and then she loads herself up into the ambulance. Meanwhile, we've got piles of unpaid-for clothes and things all over our lawn chairs, and a now-hopping crowd at the sale. I'm a little ticked because someone else could be buying the stuff, yet I'm also distracted with the ambulance still there. Fascinatingly, not one of the current shoppers seem particularly phased by the ambulance and the hub-bub, no one even asks what's going on and/or if everything's okay. They just want to know if I'll cut them a deal if they buy more than one item. And, distracted, I cave. Maybe it's an elaborate neighborhood plot to shave a few more quarters off our profits, and the fainting lady is at the head of the operation.

Moments after I return heaps of the woman's unbought clothes and CDs and movies to my own piles (she wouldn't remember what she wanted anyway, right?), her husband shows up to take the family home. The puppy has been barking from the car, the daughter is freaked because she misplaced her wallet, and another dog, apparently the puppy's mother, jumps out the window and into the street. It's a total circus. And then the woman suddenly becomes lucid enough to remember that she needs to pay for all her crap. She remembers that I said $17. My neighbor and I quickly start stuffing all the purchases into boxes and trash bags, muttering here and there, Um, did she pay you, yet? It's completely tacky of us, but on the other hand, between the two of us, she owes us almost 50 bucks. Right?

The woman's husband stands by, plainly rattled that whatever issue is going on with his wife has happened again. I feel the most sorry for him, somehow. All the boxes and bags make it to the car, and he pays us without flinching at the cost or the sheer quantity of things they'll be riding away with. I have to wonder, what does their house look like inside?

And so it goes, the most dramatic yard sale I've ever been to. The rest of the morning passes without incident, though the ambulance fiasco brought us nearly to the end of it all, anyway. As K.Lo and I packed up to go home, my neighbor asked, So you're coming again next year, right? Um, yeah... about that.

Friday, June 22, 2007

another week in review

road trips taken: 1, to RDU

baby clothes received, purchased: so many! tres exciting, can't stop sorting through

endured: 3 colds (K.Lo, J.Lo, pen), molar teething, diaper rash

miraculous bout of luck?: overdrew funds just prior to deposit, was not charged

w/ dinner: green beans, all from garden

on porch: tiny eggplant!

in garden: mondo cucumbers, appalling number of little green tomatoes

fav show of summer: Top Chef 3

never gets old: reruns of The Office

what K.Lo's been up to: figuring out the fridge dispensers

health scares: 1, J.Lo, current

pondering of mortality: ongoing

distractions: crochet..., romance movies on Hallmark

baby: kicking, growing

yard sale: all items compiled, priced, organized, ready to go

me: sciatica, craving ice cream, worried..., yet a bit of a space cadet


When I say I have an overactive imagination, I mean that I tend to imagine the very specifics of a hypothetical situation. It's not all bad, not all excessive worrywarting; in many ways it keeps me from trouble, keeps me appreciative of the moment. When my mind really gets into it, though, really goes there, it can be quite arresting. If I were less inclined to think of this worrying as one of those "prayers in advance" we've talked about in Blogland, and more inclined to convince myself that these imaginings will be reality, I might just panic. Like, really panic.

Last night we (J.Lo, me) were up for an hour or two pondering heart palpitations. Instead of beating regularly and unnoticeably like it should, J.Lo's heart was racing for several moments, then coming back down again. He was a little dizzy, but no pain. A knocking sort of arrythmia, very scary and weird. With a family history of heart attacks, this is not an appealing symtpom, and if one thinks about it too much, it could just make your heart behave even wackier.

Then there is me, the wife. My job is to be supportive, helpful the best way I can. Calming. Remaining calm. Not minding a bit that we'll both be more tired tomorrow for the added stress of these moments and the missing sleep time. Not worried when we use the phone to call the ER that K.Lo will wake, because frankly, I wouldn't mind seeing her now. She doesn't wake. The ER phone operator, after running through a list of questions, says to wait it out, see the doctor in the morning. Call again or come in if this XYZ list of symptoms occurs. We both try to put it out of our heads as much as humanly possible, and go back to sleep.

I've talked about choices before, and here again I know I have them. Choices. How to be, how to act, what to think. Except that I don't know what to think. And then there are a lot of thoughts I'm having that I'd very much like to press the "pause/rewind" buttons on, but the buttons are apparently broken. I know we both just need to take one step at a time. Just, heart palpitations: isn't that serious? Worrisome? It feels serious, worrisome.

Later today, he goes to the ER anyway, as the doctor does not have specialized equipment to diagnose heart issues. The end result is that it was just heart palpitations, nothing more, possibly due to: stress, cold medicine, high blood pressure medicine, migraine medicine, caffeine in general, or some random combination of any of these things. I'm skeptical, still, because we're talking about a heart here. And hearts are not supposed to beat like that. But what other choice is there than to accept the diagnosis, forgo the histrionics, and move on. Obviously be vigilant if it happens again (and hope to hell that it doesn't).

I feel like I'm pretty laid-back as a person these days, including as a parent and spouse, and I like being that way. And again, choices--I am cognizant that pretty much the only thing you can control in this world is your own behavior, but that fact is so hard to truly swallow, over and over again. I think we must all struggle with it, on some level, every single day. Is that just a human instinct, to try and control one's environment and make it go our way? Here is what I want: to live a long, healthy life, and for all of my family and friends to live a long and healthy life as well. It's not too much to ask, is it? I think about any slip-up in that perfect little formula, particularly with my husband and children, and it's an easy way to quickly spiral. To start imagining horrible little details about The Way it Would All Go. I don't like visiting that mental space.

So I make the choice not to, at least not very often. I don't think it's healthy to deny its existence, either, but you cannot live there. As magnetic as its pull might be.

...All this is to say that really we're fine. J.Lo, me, Bug. I didn't mean for this post to be overly dramatic, more just reflective on a particularly stressful set of hours. Hearts are a serious business, to me.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Uh, Hmph.

Hello Good Blog readers! I remember a time when I used to be curious about things. Events struck me as funny or tragic, people were intriguing- there were stories to tell, quandaries to puzzle… But now it all seems rather routine. Work while busy is mainly uneventful. No one eccentric to blog about besides the editor, the cute boys in the office and maybe how many different color post-it notes we can get or how much petty cash we can spend on starbucks and pastries before we get cut off. And of course the great aluminum foil incident of June ’07…

I lost my ATM card and it seems no matter how much money I get at the bank to hold me off till the new card comes is never enough. I still need to get mulch, work on my quilt, complete the teardrop stone pathway started 2 years ago and start working out 4/5 times a week. Exercise my foot because my heel aches and go kite flying. Everything seems to be in a “pending stage”… or anything I accomplish just sort of klunks over to the next thing. Am I bored? Is that it? Are pictures of my yard and the new “miss bossy” t-shirt I’m ironon’ing not enough? Where ever I’m going seems to be going at a very slow rate whatever it is. And yet somehow it’s already summer and the solstice will demand I celebrate with beer and cheese and a prayer to dead relatives and then maybe a road trip and a camping trip and hmph…who knows. French and the job and well surely there must be something.

Notes from the office.

On the way back from the 9th floor I happened to get on an elevator filled with 3 business attired extras and one PA, another girl who works in our offices and then suddenly we were crammed to the side and the elevator was heading down to arrive on the 4th floor for a shoot. The PA cranes his head, with a “I’m so sorry”… we started laughing, and said, whatever keeps us from our desks a little longer is not a problem. The extras did their job, and the PA said, you looked great guys. I said, yah, the energy was palpable. Oscar worthy? Said the one extra. Oh, definitely, I said.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The day

(here is rachel marveling at all the shiny wonderous things on her desk...)

Rachel was totally excited and waited till people came in to unwrap her present of a desk. And a few more people came by to take a look at it... hopefully i've inspired a few fellow slavers. Most of it remains unwrapped like a glistening futuristic lake... hooray! Also the chocolate cake we got didn't hurt either.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

things that make me happy: 1

my associate producer rachel had the nerve to trapse across the world to indonesia... i've kept her meticulously updated on all the annoyances, comings and goings of bread and butter, so that during her 2 wk absence she wouldn't feel outof the loop on all the hubbub. yesterday we talked about getting her a cake or maybe welcome back pastries... the boys thought about boxing all her stuff, with a sign that says your fired- i said, um, rachel might cry you guys... and they both paused and said, yah, she would... so then "we" came up with this idea: some inspiration ala 'the office'- ever since i saw that awesome pic a few years ago on the website i have wanted to do just this... surprisingly 75ft goes pretty far. I have some left over. It's the best $3 i've spent in awhile if i do say so myself! and i do! I suranwrapped the chair but next time, if there is one, i'm buying 2 rolls and going for the chair and the drawers... Monday should be one of the best days, i can only imagine. It makes me happy just thinking about it.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

things that make me sad:1

things that make me sad and don't include me are things i don't necessarily like to say out loud or discuss at length- i just internalize it and take it away with me. like politics or the ghetto it gets filed under tragic just like people starving or being brutalized... i slip stuff like this into obscure sentence structures, hints, foreshadowing and closed doors. so to actually say it, makes me feel sort of vile.

for instance: my friend called me last thursday and told me her boyfriend punched her in the face and broke her nose. in front of their kid, over a tapped bumper. my first question: was he on something? yes. did she call the police: yes... reluctantly. does she realize she's in an abusive co-dependent relationship? yes. but all of these things, my analysis, my want for her to escape her situation, and the rest, doesn't address the why. or tell me if it's going to happen again or if she's going to start making better choices... or not or if it's going to get worse or not... or if she's going to call me again in pain, or if she's ever going to call me and sound happy and not be struggling... and hoping the best only goes a little way when you have no control over a story that you've seen develop for 15 years and wonder at the turn its taken.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Thursday, June 14, 2007

things that make me happy: 2

i think the crush of work is getting to me, like it is for most people, but if your spoiled and have spent the last you know blah blah going thru extended periods of whatever the hell i want then every way you react to sucking up 11 hours of your life from commute to lunch to commute goes to befuddling introspection on how to claim your life back- today i spent most my time in this room clicking on a mouse and feeling my fingertips feel numb as i rather hopelessy tried to assemble some clipreels... as one thing after another went wrong and by 530 i had 3 unfinished projects. and they're waiting for me on monday. oh, joy. the edit room is so not my bag.

so amidst the crush i completely forget that my weekends sometimes look as divine as these. and check out my camera phone! it rocks! last friday i was reminded how difficult friends can be what with the communicating and the not communicating and the expectation and the friends hurting and you hurting for them, then on saturday i was reminded at how spectacular things can be- a really lovely lunch with danica (pictured to the left) then on the way to a nursery we swung by joanna's house and she was wonderfully willing and able to hang with us- and not only that but feed us... i marveled at how beautiful spontenaity can be, and usually how unwilling i am to embrace it. but it was nice to take a breath from the checklist. and to be held hostage by a moment and the glorious fact i didn't drive (just this once) made me willing. i went home and had a good time and conversation with friend sarah, who bore the brunt of my consumption with these two, but it was like coming home to a sister and that in itself was awesome, since i dont' have one- and i had not felt so abundantly blessed with friendship in such a long time, it was a rare and gorgeous bloom.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


So far this pregnancy is marginally less stressful than when I was pregnant with K.Lo. The biggest thing is that I'm not working outside of the home; my job consists of the cooking, the cleaning, the shopping, taking care of K.Lo. The usual old-fashioned domestic duties. Which is all good, as I'm perfectly content with these things, and of course, it's not good to be overly stressed while pregnant. If we weren't stressed to some degree, though, we'd probably be pulse-less.

My brain seems to be on hiatus this week, maybe N.Lo is building his own brain cells and is sapping all the power from mine? I don't know... I feel like mainly the past couple of days, I have been *blank*. Which in some ways is good, because I haven't been thinking about certain weightier issues that have a tendency to stress me out, like certifiable family, or why, even if I'm comfortable with being a non-hob-nobber, it still bothers me on some deep, dark, junior-high-insecurities level when I'm excluded. I don't have the go-go gadget brain power to address these things at the moment. So what I do worry on, the little things that are nagging me, particularly when I'm feeling so sapped, is that I'm not doing *enough* so far as the aforementioned domestic duties are concerned. What I want to do in my day is take a nap, watch a little TV, eat a little ice cream, and not think about the eau de dog hair on the carpet, or the mildew overtaking the shower. I eat the ice cream, I watch the TV, if I'm very lucky I take the nap. But it just doesn't work for me to let lurking messes get lurkier. I can't rest. I do what I can, take care of what's most pressing: I buy A&H carpet deodizer and vacuum the house, I scrub down the bathroom, I spot-clean the kitchen. I launder, I iron, I give the baby a bath. I try to do a good job.

I think one of the problems with being home all day, though, as lucky a circumstance as it is, is that you can think too much about whether the job you're doing is good enough. When you're working outside of the home, you do what you have time and strength for inside the home, and you're golden. You're doing the best you can. But inside the home, all day, every day, there's little else you're being judged on. Obviously, no woman in the world will ever live up to the domestic ideal presented by Martha Stewart--and yet I can't shake what she said on her show recently about cleaning her bathroom every day. Is this reasonable, or even humanly possible? Then, another friend I talked to recently cleans her house in two hours every Friday, or thereabouts, and I'm like, wow. The whole house, really?! It takes me two hours to dust just our bedroom. Probably I'm just slow, but I try to be thorough. And I'll never be thorough enough, but at least most of the dust bunnies are gone, and the room looks and smells good for a few days, about once a month. My mind wanders to what other people I know are doing and not doing, and compares their household routines, which in actuality I know nothing about, with my own. Just because a friend's house is well-organized and her kitchen counters sparkle when she has guests doesn't mean that a) it's like that all the time and b) that her room corners don't have a few cobwebs just like mine do.

I can't really judge my own standard of cleanliness by others and what they supposedly do, right? I'm an as-needed chore-doer by nature, I can't stick to a regime. Regime as a word just makes me feel all... regimey. Also, as mentioned many times before, we're a dog household: We're always going to live a little messy, and as not-okay as I am with the constant Battle of the Bender-Hair, I am actually okay with a little messy, a little less than perfection, or at least expected perfection.

So how do I get rid of that little Martha on my shoulder, the one who instills self-doubt and deprecation where it's not welcome or wanted or needed. Is there a cleaner that will eradicate her, a simple household solution? Or how about the tendency to endlessly compare all of what you know about your own habits to all of what you don't know about another's habits. How do we get rid of that.

Anyway, I'm spiraling a little too far down into thoughtfulness... Time for some oreos, some Last Comic Standing, and some sleep.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

nap in sunlight


SO on my list of things to do- apparently a few things are coming up due. Like the iron-ons and in this instance: French. Today is my registration appointment day. And i find myself on the eve of this historic list crossing off occasion, wondering why i'm doing it. Now i start having doubts- doesn't it take a lot of commitment to actually learn and invest in another language- french movies, french cuisine, taxing trips to the south of france or montr'eal, not to mention all the vocabulary words and study sessions. I mean what's the point? Why would i want to challenge myself. I mean you know what happened when you learned german in 10th grade and why you shunned spanish even though you live in LA. . . how far is obstinace and whim really going to get me. We'll see because so far as much as i'm plaguing myself the other part of my bullish brain is continuing as planned, the other half dragging its feet. It's a battle to the death match that might last quite a while. we'll see who wins out ultimately as French II and Visit Montr'eal appear on my to do lists of the future.

UPDATE: Okay, jut thinking about having to buy books is totally exciting!! And now that i've registered and paid it seems like this loco train is movin forward!

Monday, June 11, 2007

can't help myself

Dear Past Penelope,

Though your musings about revealing/not revealing this baby's name were quite charming, it's too bad for you that Current Penelope can longer keep her mouth shut. I wanted to keep the name a surprise for several reasons, one being that it's fun, two being that people tend to be so much more vocal in their mean name opinions before the baby actually arrives, and three, because someone might steal it. But whatev. The name is common enough that if you want to steal it, go ahead. I won't be offended. We're naming our son after my grandfather and my husband, respectively, and you can't really take that away. Also, I feel like girl names are just touchier. Probably they're going to be more flowery or unique in some way that if someone tries to steal it from you, you should, as J.Lo says, have the right to stab them. With a dagger.

Anyway, without further ado, the name is:

Nicholas Scott (L-Beam)

He will probably go by Nicholas or Nick, because that's what I like. Say what you want. To me, it's rather perfect, and feels very right.


pen in the moment

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Fun with Iron on Transfers

In order to illustrate my own well grounded sense of self, i've made t'shirts bearing my name which are worn by myself. and shown to the generally amused populace. i created the masterpieces of uh me, by pulling up different forms from microsoft publisher and putting in the sundry details.

also for an extra dash of elitism i threw in some latin phrasing: ex abundantia enim cordis os loquitur. .. which means "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks". it's sort of like a warning i think or maybe hope. depending on which way my heart seems to be leaning.

good times had by all. it makes me extra cool right? i hope so because that's totally like what i wanted and some stuff. plus i got the shirts at a deal. from an obnoxious $40 to $20.
sometimes it does pay to rove for deals, sure it only took me 4 or 5 years to get around to it but hey, check this one off the 'to do' list!! hurrah!

give me some time pen and you'll totally be sporting one too... hopefully it won't take as long but i can't promise anything.

Friday, June 8, 2007


I'm up earlier than normal. This alone is libel to make anyone angry. I woke up to a tapping in my ear, very persistent and annoying. tap,tap,tap,tap...jack hammer. Beep,beep,beep....heavy thing backing up. Crunch.Grind.Scrape. Remember that earthquake LA had back in '94... So you know, do the math, 13 some years ago. The city decided that now is the time to repair all those damaged sewer lines. I guess. The map, provided by the city, in a sad copy worn letter, is pretty extensive. So i guess for a couple months I could be waking up to such thwackings and hammerings. Not as annoying as say, a blower or edge trimmer next to your open bedroom window, by a gardener instructed to be an asshole by your hateful neighbor before 8am, but still unfamiliar... I'm sure all sorts of people have to put up with such things from time to time. I mean i'm all for them repairing things. Of course we our selves are not hooked up to the sewer. So that's a lot of sewer tax sparred us- about $100 now apparently, as high as the water tax... and about $10,000 to connect to. This of course leaves me wondering about the benefit of sewers though i'm sure they're myriad. And in other places you can afford to not be eco-friendly and let water run run run....and you know i long for that time. Well so anyway this is really an aside to two posts i need to get around to: domestic violence and agism. But for now gosh-dermit, 13 years! Come on! Brings me back to that fond time when i was having a movie party and we had just put in Cliffhanger and all that shifting and rattling made our knees shake and wine bottles come crashing... ah, good times. I got to see the stars. Wander my neighborhood. Eat melting icecream... those were the days. Fricking noisy ass construction!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

on the Bug front

new activity: putting dishtowel over own head, walking around blind w/ arms outstretched a la Frankenstein, knocking into furniture and walls, and giggling like it's the greatest thing ever

new (fantastic!!) nap routine: in the afternoon, sitting on living room floor and reading book to self, then randomly laying on stomach and passing out

new foods: chow mein, black olives, meatballs

Dear Lowes Foods,

I bet you get a lot of letters. I just want to talk for a moment about your fruit. I love your store, the ambience, the wood-floored wine section, the cashier who is endeared to K.Lo, your prices, your bargain meats. And your produce, for the most part is fine, too. But the fruit, man, it's killing me. Off the top of my head I can think of 3 ugly purchases made at your establishment over the past 2 years: peaches, apples, and now blueberries. The fruit looks absolutely wonderful on the outside, great color, no bruises or blemishes, a nice price. In the case of the peaches, you even provided a cute little basket. But I get it home, and I might as well throw it out because it tastes like mush. It's mealy, it's flavorless, it's so disappointing. Talk about deceptive appearances. I don't even know what else to say other than a) you are not helping my chocolate habit, as what else am I supposed to eat if the fruit around the house sucks, and b) I don't think I'll be buying any more fruit from you, ever. Three strikes and you're out, baby.

your pal penelope

P.S. to Wegmans: won't you consider expanding your chain to NC, specifically ILM? Pretty please? Thanks.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

pregnancy, halfway there

1. Perplexing: Getting called "sweetie" all of a sudden and a lot, by men and women of all ages. Do they think I'm 23? Decide just to go with it, as better than being perceived as hag.

2. Yee-ouch: Three finger sticks this morning at OB for blood.

3. Gained: 17 pounds.

4. Trying not to think about: how many more to go.

5. Name: decided on. Having such a hard time keeping mum, only soul who knows is J.Lo. May implode with effort.

6. TV obsession du jour: House Hunters. Have been DVRing all of them, have a feeling will run its course in approximately 2 weeks.

7. Movie du jour: Waitress. Love, love, love, can't stop thinking about. Went w/ Mel and Ash Saturday, going again w/ neighborhood mommies tomorrow night.

8. Effort to save $/Guilty pleasure trade-off: downgraded ISP to Roadrunner Lite--did you know they have this? It's not any slower, I swear I see no difference, but it's $10 less/month. Unless you download lots of movies and music, I highly recommend it. But then, Big Love is staring next week. My cable bill was less for a shining moment, but now it's exactly the same, because clearly I cannot control myself and subscribed to HBO. More for your moolah, so whatev.

9. Mean-o-meter: high. Was especially chilly to woman at Fresh Market today who caught my eye when I was perusing aisles for salad dressing. She chased me down to the next aisle, asked if I need help finding anything because I "just had that look about me." (And I knew she would, it was so weird.) What do you know, overly-helpful fool. Let me look around for my salad dressing in peace.

10. Temperature: hot.

11. Sleeping: a lot.

12. Current food obsessions: chocolate, again. Oreos, still. Cake batter ice cream from Coldstone. Also, trying to bring fruits back in. Too bad they're so darn pricey. Gazed mournfully at $6 tiny box of raspberries today at Fresh Market, decided instead on pears, kiwis, watermelon, and mango. Again, more for moolah.

13. IQ: dropping as usual, but trying to plateau it out with The Canon.

14. Dinner: don't feel like cooking, really.

15. But tonight: pasta salad.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

yah, sure

1. mockingbirds 1 vs. cats 0
2. new favorite word: hag
3. eating: strawberries

Monday, June 4, 2007


At some point in life, it occurred to me that a person has choices in virtually all circumstances. You have choices, you make choices, there are consequences (good or bad), and it's on you. No one else can or should assume responsibility, just you. I don't know whether this occurred to me in a series of steps, or one giant "aha" moment, it doesn't really matter. Once you realize this fact, though, it seems like the world becomes divided between the people who "get it," and the people who don't. And I mean, it's not always the person's fault--most kids, I don't think, understand this, and won't for a very long time. The only thing you can do (if they're yours, anyway) is point the fact out to them at appropriate turns and hope to hell one day the little light bulb pops on.

I'm not meaning to sound at all hoity-toity in this discussion, or superior in that I think I do "get it." It's just so obvious, after awhile, who doesn't get it. They are less enjoyable to hang out with, their tirades less tolerable to bear. The world is against them, nothing they choose to do is a choice, they are not responsible, life is something that happens to them, they are not an active participant but merely a bystander. When something bad happens, they wallow in it, feel persecuted, and let it beat them down forever, rather than picking themselves back up and growing stronger for it. It's so tedious after awhile. I hate to say that, but it's true.

It's especially tedious to witness and endure along with the people who should know better. Everyone learns the fact of ownership at a different age, a different life stage, a different set of circumstances. But some people just never get it. They could be, like, in their seventies, and still not get it. It's like they become permanently arrested in an adolescent way of thinking, for whatever reason--maybe some unfulfilled, long-ago desire for proper attention? and they never move beyond that way of being. I feel like it is the difference between growing up, and not.

And what do you do with the people who haven't grown up yet? Exercise patience, offer your view, yes. Show love, yes, and empathy. Bad things do happen, of course, they affect everyone the world over, but in your response to that badness lies the choice. And no one's perfect, and you might not always and instantly "get it," maybe you'll slip up now again. I feel like I sound so harsh. But damn, there are just some people. After a certain age, a certain batch of life experiences--shouldn't they get it, by now? Shouldn't they move beyond the junior high mentality? Stop playing the victim, stop vying for negative attention? Won't it ever occur to them that if they just stopped acting like an asshole, they might actually get what they want?

And maybe we could even be friends!

Sigh, I'm so mean. I just don't know how to react sometimes, how to deal with Crazy. I think about kudzu's discussion regarding inate personality quirks or flaws that you just want to shake out of a person--or are you just supposed to live and let live, because "that's the way they are." I want to keep the peace, but I want to stand up for myself. I want to be true to who I am, and protect what I have, but for as mean as I sound today, mostly I'm just too nice. My initial reaction to most situations and conversations tends to be pleasant, or simply very measured, because I don't want to be the one who's out of control in my response. Maybe diplomacy is what I need, and more patience, more perspective? What I want is to have a little more instant perspective and diplomacy, so I can respond the way I should/want to at the moment, rather than looking back on the conversation later and feeling all coulda-woulda-shoulda, with a dash of enraged. I want to guard against letting a person rot a hole in my stomach, and driving me as crazy as I see them.

I just want to have the right to eradicate certain negative energy from my life, and I think herein is where I myself am missing the choice: It's not about controlling the other person, shaking from them (until their teeth rattle) all their petulance, manipulativeness, and misguided ploys for attention and guilt tripping, but it's how I myself choose to respond to it.


Saturday, June 2, 2007

a day as any other day.

so i've been a bit lax in blogmatter these days but you know i was hoping for a less annoying event to blog about- i was just short of blogging about 3 of my cats and how they fight for the territorial rights of my room. but you were spared these sorts of musings for a lamer kind- we, all of us, at one time in our life are victims of an inane system and peoples stupidity, ill-judgement or some hapless fate of circumstance. i found myself in such a place today- already late on my trip to newport beach, an hour south of los angeles- the usual preparations: gas, clean windows, check air in tires, breakfast. go.go.go. and annoyed i had not a friend to bring with me. this all found me in the wastelands of the inland empire around 11:30. the environs are bleak and treeless, decked in a mishmash of sporadic buildings and run down brown things. the freeway to emphasize such gasping depletion narrows from 4/5 lanes to 3... there is always traffic in such harrowing spaces and while on the phone with my betterhalf penelope i saw a CHP officer pull into a median and knew i had to get over as the lane i was in was exiting right. the big white dashes soon to be solid white, i signaled and entered the stream of the freeway. the cop had enough time to exit his vehicle and flag me over, so slow moving was traffic. my first instinct was to pretend i didn't see him and even then i gave him a curious look and he motioned again a couple times more so i relented, curiousity unfortunately having gotten the better of me. i said something brilliant to the effect of, "what?" he said, "you failed to obey a sign". i parrotted, "what? what sign?" confused, and being martialed like an idiot to my fate, i gave him my id, proof of insurance, couldn't remember where the registration was and turned to my handsfree and began swearing in confusion to penelope at my idiotic trip off a very expensive cliff. he flagged someone else over in the meantime and then walked past my car where i had enough time to continue a play by play to pen and answer another call and swap back for the CHP to walk back to my car after what had to have been another 5 minutes. he had me sign the ticket and i again said, "are you really giving me a ticket for this? like, really?!" and he said, as if in some remote corner of the earth called la-la land where up was down and right was wrong, "yes. you failed to obey a sign. and be careful entering back into traffic." thefuckyousay! so i drove away possibly saying something to the effect of "for fucksake and god-damn-it , i can't motherfuckingbelievewhatthefuckwasthat, i got a god-damned ticket for what the fuck from that asshole?! LAME!!" so yes... it looked like 2 infractions- no proof of registration, and "right lane must exit." right. LAME. pen bore the brunt of all this bravely and like a true friend. it was good to have her there. i continued rather consternated the rest of my way, befuddled and mystified at my quota-ed ass but could still muster nothing more than a WTF just happened? which made me feel lamer even for all the ill preparedness of my wit. but sometimes being confused is all you have.

i made it to newport and after some mindless circling for parking and some more confused musings i spent 3 more hours still confused about where to go in the world via gap adventures, what was happening in the novel i was reading, why my phone kept dropping calls, why the world wants me to lose faith in god, why the boys playing cricket had to play cricket right in front of me, why the girl excluded the younger sister, why i didn't get my kite to fly it, why i felt slightly dizzy and all of this collapsing under the weight of clouds, sun, ocean and sand.

i trudged up and out and tried a restaurant i'd never been to and ordered something i'd never had before-a greencurry with coconutmilk and then i went and spent $254 (-$100 rebate) on a new phone... got an icecream and was deafened briefly by a mall in search of a bathroom and sadly to return the boots... all pondering the colors and noises and the cars and the road and my unquenchable thirst- i shuffled home.

Friday, June 1, 2007

How about these?

what say you oh sagacious and fashioned friends? and by that i mean i bought them and am wearing them as i type this. . . the boots are still staring at me from the dresser.