Sunday, September 30, 2007

best book sale finds

I went to Day 1 of the Famous Book Sale yesterday, which, being a cheapskate, I have never done before. The price slashes start today, so I'm thinking I will go back Monday or Tuesday just to see what I can find, as per usual. This time around, though, and possibly forevermore, I had to try the first day. Just Because.

I walked away with:
Lisey's Story, Stephen King (for J.Lo)

Nature Girl, Carl Hiaasen (ditto)

three Can't-Help-Myself chick-lit books: Legally Blonde, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue

A Million Little Pieces, Frey, to finally hop on that train and see what all the fuss is about

Bel Canto, Ann Patchett, because I really liked the other two things I read by her...but did you see her latest release and the El Sucko reviews? Yikes.

On Beauty, Zadie Smith--I've been seeing this book everywhere, for some reason, and feel like it's a sign. Don't really know what it's all about.

And lastly, for K.Lo, a few Elmo books, Goodnight Moon (how she gone 20 months without owning this?), another Clifford book about the beach, and this fantastic lift-the-flap ABC book that's giant and pretty and in great condition.

In short, made out like a bandit, and only felt slightly woozy toward the end of the sale, with my big belly and my big ol' box of books.

as they say in show biz,

One day you are een, and the next, you are OUT.

After the first full week of Fall TV premieres, here's what I've got:

Private Practice

May leave the runway for a second chance:
Bionic Woman
Kid Nation
Chuck (hanging by a thread)
Big Bang Theory (ditto)

Gossip Girl (for now, may rent season in future)
Big Shots (yawn)

Parting note to Journeyman: your vision is ambitious, but in the end too complicated and lacking focus, cohesion, a clear set of Universe Rules. Do you time travel for personal love, or the greater good of select humankind? You have potential, but ultimately seem like you just don't know who you are or what you want--not enough to play in the Big Leagues just yet, anyway. In short, The Time Traveler's Wife, you are not.

Upcoming Talent for Screening Process, Week 2:
Aliens in America (will temporarily forgo Big Bang Theory)
Caveman (yikes)
Pushing Daisies (will temporarily forgo Kid Nation)
Dirty Sexy Money (love for Peter Krause wins out)
Brothers & Sisters (will pen overcome her love-lack for Calista Flockhart and hop on board for Season 2?)

Notes to old favs:
to The Office new plotlines: Eeeeeee!

to the Survivor cast: Hope you brought bug spray, hope you're happy keeping Right Said Dave around another week.

to Lexie Grey: Shut up? Except for when you yelled at George, that was great.

to Alex "Guido" Karev: Fix that hair before I come through the screen and muss it up.

to Private Practice writers: Addison does not need to dance around naked in order for women to see her as a fun, hip, potential gal pal we can all relate to. Especially not twice.

to Kid Nation's Taylor: Beauty Queens, in addition to not washing dishes and cooking the cold even when it's their JOB, can also seem like unendearing little a-holes.

to Heroes' Peter/Milo/Jess/Rocky Balboa's grown-up son: Don't be evil! Or at least, just don't die!

Friday, September 28, 2007

c'est aujourd'hui est vendredi

loveless: lacking, longing, away, old, dissused, broken, deserted, cobwebbed, forlorn
newish job, same place nick of time: logging, bills, filler, found, familiar, bear
chores finit: dust, dirt, cotton, clean, sweep, push, scrape, fill, pile, wedge, cram

Thursday, September 27, 2007

ordinary adventures not enough. no one of note. tanking. going down. flaming. dissolving. far flung. words.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

the k.lo fashion show

it's not me, it's totally them!

Mid-week assessment re: Fall TV

So far my DVRroll barely has a chunk taken out of it as it it stacked like, 20 shows deep. Fall TV is hard, people. Your hopes are all high, there's so many new and enticing options, but you know you must be discriminating. You also don't want to be too hasty and chuck something good before it can hit its stride.

Speaking of "chuck," I really want to like the show Chuck. We did watch this one the other night, though Heroes and Journeyman still sit sadly untouched. I found myself getting very antsy during Chuck, and if and only if Journeyman really sucks are we going to give it a second go. I feel like the writing on Chuck is super-smart and the story has a lot of potential. But all the CIA stuff, which is, um, pretty key to that story? Eh. I don't know. I guess I would just rather stay with Chuck at his $11 an hour job and watch him fumble his way through relationships, banter around with his friends and family, etc. I feel like maybe this show is trying very hard to appeal to two different audiences and bring them together for a big viewership, but the end result may be that it only half-hooks each of those audiences, and everyone will be too bored to stick around.

I am also on the fence about Big Bang Theory and Gossip Girl. Big Bang falls right between How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men, both of which we do watch, but the magic of DVR means that we don't have to suffer through the sandwich filling if we don't want to. We could just eat the bread. I don't know if I want to eat just the bread, though; maybe BBT will be as tasty as a Fluffernutter and I have to give it more of a chance. Sitcom pilots especially can be slow... this one was definitely slow. But it did have some great lines, and sticking around could prove worth it. Although, looking back at last season, The Class started about just as slow and got better--but then right as we really got hooked, it was cancelled. And that is the worst possible scenario for your investment.

Gossip Girl is maybe being too hyped up and maybe from that I am expecting too much? Also, I admit I was only half paying attention yesterday afternoon when I had it on, which could be the problem. On the other hand, nothing on the show particularly wrested my attention away from playing on the Internet, sooo... I don't know. I think I'm axing it for now, unless and until I hear that it's a train worth hopping on board.

So I was beginning to think it was just me. I'm into Kid Nation enough to keep going, but all the other hopefuls so far have bombed. Maybe I'm just being a snob about these new shows because I already have my favorites and am rewriting history for when I first viewed their pilots, thinking that I was immediately and irrevocably hooked. It's just not true--The Office, my current absolute favorite show on TV, took me at least 3 episodes to really get into before I could get past the uncomfortable comedy of Michael Scott. And I'm so glad I did wait it out because the show is absolutely brilliant on several levels.

I still might be a snob. But, I am 15 minutes into Reaper, and I already know this one's a keeper. (Okay, I did not mean to make a rhyme there. Sorry.) It's funny, it's smart, it's got an interesting storyline, and it's fun. Directed by Kevin Smith, the show is about a 21-year-old guy in retail whose soul has been sold to the devil by his parents, but he doesn't know it yet. Fantastic. I'm going to finish watching, pronto.

Here's to the remaining hopefuls--may they, too, be worth it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


hands: dry and dirty feeling.
head: feeling itchy
left leg: 1/2" gouged and bruised
nose: sneezy
paint: uneasy
mind: distracted
stomach: not quite satsified
thirst: not quite quenched
canvas: waiting
tv: watching
french: studied
bills: looming
funds: low
job: no where in sight
sun: shining
netflix: arrived
shower: not far off
same complaints: like the hairs on my head
but still.
and still.
i must.

Monday, September 24, 2007

happy equinox

a brief review of the camping trip thru minimal words and pictures:

architecture of the 2nd day:
this is the view from our campsite, on the ominous 3rd day: the duck invasion of the 2nd day: unsuccessful kite flying of the first day:
prayers to st.peregrinus written in the books before the altar of the 2nd day:nature visitations of the 2nd day:
the clearing of the skies on the 4th day:
all the rest were hurricane winds on the 3rd night, 1 book read over the entirity, french studied, good food eaten, waves watched, sunrises, sonorous birds, some shopping and many a languid hour.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


in my hand
holds a pen

in my outsides
it is rain

sparkling fits
of a grey sky

we prayed (like)
old israelites

uplifted you and i
and it poured down

an arch of passion
upon parched land

praised answer and

the green came refreshed
and the wind changed
the character of the clouds
of blue sky new born

and a longing sprung up
trickled, gushed forth
cut its course my heart

for more.

we laugh
join chorus

and wanting
to belong.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

actual lock pictured


The rents have lived in this wee urban farm for at least 35 years. The front door is in awesome shape, heavy old slam ready door from 1940 something. Besides the mantel, it is the only non-heinous thing about the house, okay and the wood floors, and i like the old wood windows even if they are falling apart. But besides that, no offense house- i don't care about you. You're sort of lacking in character and are in serious need of some attention. Poor house. But if the house were demolished the door and the mantel i would take. Anyway the door has this awesome internal lock mechanism where you just punch a button in the jamb of the door and it locks the door. It's completely cool, but we've never had a key for it so we always go around to the back door to get in, and when i don't unlock the front door just to spite them. Because I myself completely resent not being able to come thru the front door, but i'm so used to doing it that i'd forgotten why. I pondered multiple times over my life why there was no key and why we weren't like normal people who had locks to the front door, and door keys on your carkeyring but it was just a tick that you seemed aware of but then it passed, never quite became verbal other than just some mental note of how clearly this is whats wrong with the world. Then suddenly after 50 some years of use the lock finally decided to not click in anymore. And then even more without warning my dad was dismantling the lock and taking it to a locksmith. I guess even he could not bear to leave by the back door, as all these years the insult of having to go thru the back upon returning was enough of an insult but then to have to exit by the back became too much. So after 35 years and 3 locksmiths later- we each have a shiny new key to this old awesome door. I had never thought it possible.

Friday, September 21, 2007

back or a'u jour d'hui c'est vendredi

i was just going to open my post with: and who's been fucking with the sidebars. but it's my better half BF penelope. the best most long standing longdistance relationship ever. though i'm afraid when we one day meet again i will a) no longer recognize her b) she will decide the foundation of our relationship was built on a shallow husk of habitual fondness c) we will fight endlessly about the sidebar and how i talk over shows like Survivor and the late Gilmore Girls.

besides the shock of her mercy, which won't last long now that the iron fist of justice is back, i was going to tell you about camping. highlights which include: ducks, hurricane force winds and good food. but we can wait for that till another post. because things like missing unemployment checks, weeds and 3 chapters in french are gripping me with the iron fist of anxiety and need immediate mental attention. so for now, a' demain.

bawk ba gawk?

Last night on the first episode of Survivor: China, a man named Chicken was voted out. It makes me a little sad, because how could a man named Chicken not be a promising character. On the other hand, Dear Chicken, and this goes for some of your castmates as well: What were you thinking?!

Apparently many of this season's contestants, no matter where they hail from, live in a cardboard box. Have they never watched the show before, really? At the very least, did they not realize they were signing up for a 39-day camping trip? I don't care what the producers told me, if I were on my way to film a season of Survivor, I would not be wearing any of the following clothing items:
a dress
a skirt
high heels
dress shoes of any kind, really
a suit jacket
fishnet stockings
fashion combat boots
an impractical bra

Because you know, based on many past seasons, that there is a good chance they're not going to let you take your gear, and you'll be stuck for however long you're on that island with just the clothes on your back. Interestingly, maybe even suspiciously, China is no Panama in that the contestants don't look all too drab wearing their everyday clothing, particularly in the underwear department. But still. Fishnets? Really?!

Beyond clothes, there just seems to be some ridiculous strategizing, or lack thereof, among this cast. Chicken, I'm sorry, was just dumb in essentially throwing a 3-day-long temper tantrum when no one would listen initially to his advice. Refusing thereafter to give any opinion on any subject, even when pressed: dumb. Drawing too much attention. Annoying everyone. Pasting a ginormous target on your back, making the tribe's decision at the first vote-off EASY.

Although, it wasn't that easy for Zhan Hu, considering that Peih-Gee chose after the tribe's immunity challenge loss to a) cry about it and b) crank up the Whiny-Bossy Meter to an intolerable notch. Oh, P-G, are you that naive? Yes, your tribe is clearly the Slacker Tribe, in a state of shambles, between the lack of shelter and the overall crap work ethic. I understand you're starving, you're drenched, you're beyond frustrated. But focus: Survivor. You made it on the show, let's step up the game, dear. Dave the Former Model/Giant Tool already stepped up as leader, let him. Don't attract more attention than necessary to the grating timbre of your discontented voice. Otherwise, lady, you'll be throwing back bellinis poolside with Chicken before too long at the Tribe Has Spoken Hotel.

Other apparent Survivor Idiots? The aforementioned Former Model Dave, for the sole reason of listing Former Model as his occupation, rather than Bartender, which is what he really is, currently. This one oozes I'm Too Sexy Smarm, and shall henceforth be known on this blog as Right Said Dave. Then there's Courtney, who is going to faint dead away by Day 7 if she doesn't eat something substantial, and would do well to tuck her feelings away under that buff before her excessive eye-rolling and snobby snark re: the non-city folk gets her voted off. And ah, Leslie. The Christian Radio Talk Show Host. Between you and Trish on Real World: Sydney, crying tragically each time your "morals" are called into question? Uggggh. Puh-lease. Don't even get me started on Trish, but Leslie, do you not realize Jeff was practically goading someone, anyone, to respond just as you did to the Buddhist welcome ceremony? To walk out, to refuse to participate, to cite Jesus' lack of approval? It was not a worship ceremony. In fact, it was, seemingly, a super-cool moment that maybe you should have embraced because you'll never do anything like it ever again. But, whatever. You're not cool, and I'm not rooting for you.

I am, so far, rooting for my fellow introvert, James the Gravedigging Superhero. I'm also at least interested in the future antics of Tiny Todd and Poker-Playing Jean-Robert. Don't know how I feel about them just yet, but I think they will at least be good entertainment.

This Survivor has returned to the show's roots a bit, with just the 16 players, no divisions based on ethnicity, gender, age, or privilege. No more Exile Island, thank heavens, no more Hidden Immunity Idols. According to EW, Jeffy himself likes this season more than Fiji, which is promising. And also, the crew stayed on in China to film next season, All-Stars 2, which is kind of exciting.

Finally, one parting note. Denise, you seem sweet enough, and I'm not even going to go there... Just, it shouldn't be allowed. Not in 2007, just... no.

To the potential zaniness of Survivor 15: Cheers!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

pen's picks, fall 2007

Yowwwwza. Fall 2007 TV starts officially, in my mind, tonight. Next week will be marginally more exciting, to be sure, but tonight on the CW is the premiere of America's Next Top Model, a tried and true favorite. Also premiering are a few try-them-out shows, Kid Nation and Gossip Girl. To mark the occasion of this long-anticipated return of The Good Television, here's a list of what I'll be watching, barring any DVR Scheduling Nightmares.

Old Favorites:
The Office
Survivor: China
My Name is Earl
Grey's Anatomy
Friday Night Lights
How I Met Your Mother
Scrubs (late October)
Ugly Betty--maybe
30 Rock

High Hopes for*:

Journeyman: could be like a spin on The Time Traveler's Wife?
Samantha Who? (w/ Sookie from Gilmore Girls)
Aliens in America (w/ Luke from Gilmore Girls)


Kid Nation: part of me is like, ick, this is going to suck, but the buzz is so alluring
Pushing Daisies: please be good
Private Practice: ugh, the pilot was pretty lame, but I love Addison and so therefore must give it a chance
Gossip Girl: I feel like I should be beyond this, but the reviews have not been half bad, and I do enjoy Bee from the Sisterhood of the Pants. Remaining question: would the books be worth reading, too?
Bionic Woman
Life: what is this one about, really, I don't even know. But the commercials seemed intriguing.

There is no room in my heart or on my DVR for anything new on Thursdays, sorry. Oh, except maybe Big Shots. Just because the boys are hot and the show is being touted as a male S&TC doesn't mean it will go anywhere.

Women's Murder Club? I don't know if I have the strength.

Will Watch One Time Only, Just to See How Bad it Is:

Will Watch, Despite Full Awareness of How Bad it Is:
One Tree Hill (early January)

Will Miss Until their Return:
ProRun (November)
Lost (January)

Now I completely realize that there will be some Judging going on amongst readers. Isn't that a lot of shows, pen? Don't you have a toddler to take care of, and a baby on the way? Why yes, yes I do. But bear in mind that at least half of the new shows will simply not live up to expectation, and will immediately be axed from the DVRroll. Second, hello, kids' bedtime? TV watching is what all hours after 8PM are for. As to the remaining skeptics, perhaps you don't have a DVR and remain unaware of just how efficiently shows are watched without commercial interruption. It's the only way to live. Should you still continue to judge, I will assume you also lack skills in multi-tasking, i.e. if asked to watch and entertain a toddler, feed a baby, crochet a blanket, plan dinner, and clip coupons all while watching Fine Fall Television, you would turn pale and begin to cry. In which case, I'm sorry you're so weak.

In the meantime, life of course goes on in all its richness, with family and good friends and amusing children, books to read, creative endeavors to pursue, and ebay deals to scout. But ah, Fall TV, how I missed you, glad you're finally back. Yippee!

*For information on any of the new shows, may I recommend

Monday, September 17, 2007

Gone a Campin'

no sense in not repeating what we did last year when it worked so well last time. variable: 2 months earlier. look forward to more pictures of life at the beach. thrilling i know.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

why you take 52 pictures of the same moment

So you can get that one that blows all the others out of the water.

tra la la. la.

i don't know but this sign has always struck me as ominous. like it's an outpost to a strange and alien world and if we cross it we take our lives into our own hands. we faced things like poison oak, treacherous and spikey... swarms of killer bees feeding on the innocent lichen of a rock. ... and that was about it. despite the temps and the drought-age the creek wasn't dry. and this is one of my favorite walks in southern california... because of the tall tall trees- i'm a sucker for dappled lighting and even though i have to watch for mountain bikers it's a worthy escape from the sub-urban sprawl. and only 25 minutes from my house. glorious. though next time i should probably work up to the 2.5 hour walk... which i think was about 4-6 miles but i can't be sure. at a leisurely pace. i just know my hamstrings were like- what the hell?! did you just do to me!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

it's all in the pose

I speak the truth, both of these pictures were taken today, in the thick of Week 35.

This first picture just makes me laugh for how deceiving it is. Clearly, black truly can be a slimming color.

And the second, taken simultaneously to prove the first one wrong and to appease mendacious and andria. Here you go! I'm feeling (eeek) brave, very brave. Please disregard slovenly pj outfit.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


There are approximately 6 weeks left until this baby, Baby N.Lo, arrives. Could be more, could be less, but thereabouts. Am I ready? Mmm, yeah, sure why not. I have to buy diapers, still, the little teeny-tiny ones that are at the same time adorable and incomprehensible. I've got plenty of clothes, a year or more's worth, really, thanks to a gracious friend of mine who loaned me everything for a boy. The room's painted, the crib's got a fresh sheet on it, even, and of course has been evacuated; Bug will have nothing to do with it ever again. Bug herself is about as aware as a 19-month-old can be that she's going to have a baby brother soon. She knows there's a baby in her mommy's belly, though frankly, she thinks there's also a baby in her belly, in J.Lo's belly, and occasionally in my boobs. Ah, Bug.

As far as mental preparations, I'm getting there. My biggest hangup at the moment is labor, because though I've been through it once and it wasn't as horrifying as anticipated, you just never know. Whenever I thought about it in the moments leading up to it, the first time, I thought I might end up dead. But then when I actually went through it, I kept waiting for the contractions to feel more painful than putting in your contact lenses the morning after cutting up jalapeno peppers? And they never did. Although I did have an epidural, which helped immensely, despite it also being the freakiest part of the whole ordeal. Supposedly, labor and delivery for subsequent pregnancies is easier than the first time around, but I feel a healthy amount of fear is just that: healthy. And being prepared for complications, or whatever. Or even having one of the doctors you don't like being on call that day, that would suck, too.

So I've got to start reading, just to refresh. Although nothing in a book can truly prepare you for the actual experience, it does at least help to know the different phases of labor, which I have, as a defense mechanism, completely blocked out. And I have to pack, although at this point I'm running out of clothes that fit, so it seems to me that whatever I'd want to wear at the hospital, I'm going to need beforehand, right? I'm still puzzling over this one. Especially the underwear: I am totally running out of underwear that fits, and I am too cheap, too lazy, too stuck in the principle of the thing to go out and buy more.

In the meantime, it would be lovely if someone could paint my toes. And I can't wait to be able to roll all the way over, or even just side to side without feeling like the bottom half of my body is going to crumble away from the top. Oh, and the Tums, I won't miss popping those like Pez out of my giant Costco bottle all day and all night long.

All in all, I feel pretty ready for this baby to be here now, though I know in truth that it's trading in one set of problems for another. Heartburn for sleep deprivation, agility for patience and sanity, etc. A Bug who's frustrated because she can't have 12 popsicles a day versus a Bug who's frustrated because she can't have undivided parental attention all day. Hmmm. It's going to be interesting, that is the only given.

Mango Oracles

I methodically cut into my mango slice by slice, balanced on a wad of napkins, licking sticky fingers and making sure all the orange peach colored meat is taken from the mysteriously tough fiberious pit. i consume it quickly. enjoying the sound of the knife cutting the fruit and scraping the pit. a contradiction: i find myself dispassionate lately about a lot of things. A friend not speaking to me is a buzzing gnat that i can't even muster outrage over. Just a sigh. Well if that's how it is then... well... (the tail goes swish, swat, swat) maybe i'm depressed over the job ending. am i? i don't seem thrilled over the freetime either... As i eat and enjoy slice after slice, contemplating the taste and texture of each bite, juice down my chin, sucking on each piece and gripping them with my teeth and running them clean. and yet, I feel mangoless, though lately i've been enjoying all the wonderful deliciousness they possess. I've bit by bit begun to paint again and write and reawaken whatever creative impulses have been wasted in time taking activities. and yet still it's like i slumber. rolling my neck side to side. de ja vu in french class jolting me to other realities but just barely a beat rising. what was that, what was breaking thru like a pulse and gone. dreams of myself, my mother- dying quietly, sleepily in the garden, peacefully passing while sitting in a pose of sitting on haunches, hands in lap, eyes closed and straight forward- shocked awake, sad and heartache, vowed to remember but fighting thru thick webs of hour after hour of nothing. pondering the uncut mango. smooth. is it ripe. too ripe? unripe. cut into it. i talk to jesus in sighs and murmurs, snatches of conversation distracted and lifted up in tired gazes. i do not ponder what he may be teaching me but am waiting for resuscitation of color to breathe new life into the canvas. have i fallen asleep? am i waiting to be wakened. bring it to me. i ache. the music says it better than i do. the still air. the cat across my path. and everyone else speaking from a far off place. i am left with the pit and dirty hands. but do not remember.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Parelz vous francais?


(ne pas bien.)

besides the somewhat exciting thought of one day knowing french- which looking back was a goal i made myself in 1994- is another almost equally exciting fact that you can enter the seats from either the left or right- egad brilliant!

otherwise the usual struggles surface. i positively zone out by the 2nd hour. which is why most language classes are everyday for only an hour. i have momentary panic that i will be unable to understand what he's saying, but i find myself reaching for clarity better then when i was young and possibly much too hostile and preoccupied. and this time i really am intrigued, having waited and wanted so long. the usual, what ifs, still hover. and i find the professors still inaccessible. they might as well be on television. though i was brave enough to ask a question once and had to break the news that i'd be missing the entirity of next week. only to be met with the usual frustration of teachers who find absences as the bain of their existence. well i guess we'll have to give you a make-up exam. n'est pas. oui. i'm sorry i really wouldn'tve if i'd... c'est la vie.... after the clammy guilt had coated my fibrous being i sat down and tried to strip it off. bcs all through college, strategic absences excepted, i never missed class if the teacher cared if i was there. i felt i was inevitably betraying our unspoken symbiotic relationship if i missed even though i viewed them as behind 6ft of protective glass... but the beach, no can-not-be-missed.

i don't really have an out here. except that if i were writing an aunt and uncle who weren't my own and in an entirely different age and set of circumstances i'd say:

Dear A/U....
I am simply LOVING french! i can-not! wait to go to whereever it is french people speak french. Like OMG- africa, paris (of course?!!), montreal, belgium, the WHOLE of france!... *sigh*. thank you so much for the round-trip ticket. you ARE the best. and most like supportive awesome people in the world! je vous intelligiante, sup'air, bestest greatest in the whole solar system.

au revoir!
a demain.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

a few days past

greetings from the land of those that have done their civic duty. i know, you never thought you'd hear from me again, and if you did it would be to inform you that my whole life had been shifted in one defining moment and i was now going to do what those in my youth had suggested for people who are argumentative and articulate... go into law. yes. you say it's not too late? career change at 31? sure. why not. except for the interminable boredom and the inherent slavish insistence that we follow the law, the codes, the idiotic defense attorneys, the stuffy suits, the metal detector and the utter lack of snacks. also judges don't even like colloquial language that steps outside the bounds of succinct description... for instance the defense said: "If something smells funny, you'd have a possible reason to doubt"... judge: "for the record the jury will not be instructed to identify any smells." (scathing i assure you.)

the first day a cute boy named dimitri helped me assemble a puzzle in the jury waiting room. and a jewish girl mumbled her hebrew prayers. tres annoying. the other girl eating her doritos loudly, left and dimitri and i were allowed to make snarky comments about the protestors below, and ponder about the missing pieces. after lunch he was called to service and i weeped for my lost dimitri, with his sparkling almond eyes, sweet grin and swarthy black hair. a duller boy sat down after he left and offered to help but just then i was called to the 13th floor. room 124 of the los angeles superior court criminal justice bldg.

the key trick of getting out of jury duty is to ask for a sidebar when questioned and start crying. plead bias, emotional agony, impossible ability to focus. this worked for at least 3 women. my number was thankfully never called because had i been questioned it would've been discovered that i lead a rather protected and ordinary life but that given enough digging i know a few scandalous people, drug user/runners and psychotics- but nothing that has happned to me personally: like armed robbery, petty theft, burglary, muggings, shootings, dui's, deaths/near deaths, arrests and felonies and gangs and loads of turmoil. i stopped taking notes after the first 12 questioned. it was impossible to keep track. and the judge dug and dug and if you at all appeared to be evasive she went plying on even longer. do you know anyone in law enforcement? what experience have you had with the court system? will this impair your ability to remain objective?

the key to having a miserable time is to have a longwinded judge and a rambling defense attorny that asks silly and even longer questions and had courted the abhorance of the judge. and thus i sat thursday, friday and finally monday... inching toward death by disgusted restless boredom.

the key to having a good time is be in a place you don't get to explore very often and an 1 1/2 lunch. free entry into our modern museum of art (moca), have access to afternoon concerts, the grand central market and a few very lovely old buildings and of course your best kept secret subway and loads of reading time . so all in all how bad could it have been...except for the scarring waste of time- i guess i wouldn't mind doing it again. maybe.

Monday, September 10, 2007

trip part 10: all the wiser

1. As much as you've trained yourself to roll with the punches, there are still some moments you cannot get back, the significance of which will not really diminish with distance and over time, and the feeling of regret even where you had so little control.

2. Watching your little toddler throw up is just plain pitiful. They have no idea what's happening, all they seem to know is that it's weird and it hurts.

3. Losing the contents of one's stomach for a 36-hour timespan strains muscles you don't even think of, but you feel them all the next day. Losing the contents of one's stomach for a 36-hour timespan when 8 months pregnant sets off a lovely chain of B-H contractions, adding sheer insult to injury, and planting in your brain a tiny sense of alarm that the baby might just fall out onto to the floor 7 weeks early and hundreds of miles from home, on top of everything else.

4. Being sick is not fun, but being sick while away from home, with a sick baby and a sick husband? Triply not fun.

5. Whining on a blog makes you feel better sometimes.

6. The things you worry about and what actually happens rarely match up.

7. Zoning out on TV, i.e. an ANTM Cycle 6 marathon, forever proves to be the best medicine when not feeling well.

8. Pushing oneself out the door when not feeling completely up to par can be entirely worth it.

9. Bleaching commonly used surfaces, laundering every cloth item worn/touched/looked at while ill, and changing all the bed sheets are instrumental to the recovery process. As is plotting, if only in a half-serious manner, revenge.

10. Even in the midst of complete and total suckitude, I can usually find a few sparkling moments.

And... that is all.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

trip part 8: waterworks

1. In hotel after J.Lo's from wedding, seeing pictures, letting it hit home that I missed it, can't get moments back.

2. At reception, in unoccupied front room, too sick to move, listening to bride and groom's first dance, to Jack Johnson's "Better Together."

3. Irish BBQ, covertly, watching K.Lo dance for crowd of approx 70, wondering where she gets it from, this extrovertism, this spirit, this charm, this crazy-ass compulsion to always, always dance. Love her for it, more than words can describe.

trip part 9: the irish bbq

No, it wasn't a BBQ where the Irish were eaten, or even Irish food. Instead, it was grilled chicken, hamburgers, roasted blue potatoes, roasted carrots and onions and squash, roasted corn on the cob in their husks. For appetizers, shrimp cocktail, veggies and dip, pita chips and olive tapenade. Dessert was cake and cookies and fruit with whipped cream. For the most part it was wonderful to look at, and I hear it was very tasty; personally, I can vouch for the blue potatoes because how can you not try a potato that's blue? And also the cookies, though I would have done better to eat just a few bites rather than the whole yummy thing. The stomach still quavered in fear.

The BBQ took place Sunday evening at the bride's parents' home, in honor of family from Ireland who traveled overseas to attend the wedding. We're all taught these days that stereotypes are rude and bad, but is it bad to say the Irish know how to have a good time? Or at least this particular bunch of Irish. They drank the Guinness, stayed out late partying at Saturday night's reception, and convened at a pub Sunday morning to watch a live showing from Ireland of men's field hockey. At the BBQ, there was a fantastic Irish band, and actual song booklets were passed around, thick booklets with all the lyrics of songs that might be sung. Although we couldn't stay late, it seemed a competition with the singing was brewing. As the music started, Bug and her Happy Feet danced their dance, to the accompaniment of some 70 people clapping and laughing at her enthusiasm and lack of inhibition.* Bug is fabulous, I must say. I wish I had been feeling completely myself, I wish I wasn't sick, I wish we could have stayed even later than we did. As it was, I had a great time and was happy to at least attend and participate in this part of the wedding weekend; I don't think I've ever been to a BBQ with such an intensive, never lagging party spirit. And did I mention the dancing?

*"Cale," with an accent over the "e," and pronounced "kay-lee" means, in Gaelic, "to dance." And, the party was also informed, it's not K.Lo's fault her parents spelled it all wrong.

(posted by pen w/ technical assistance from m)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Almost forgot to Call

The time has come: reporting to Criminal Justice Bldg 5th floor. 7:45am. The list i just made to route my day is meaningless. However studying french has now taken precedence, along with Galileo's Daughter, Julie of the Wolves, snacks and plenty of drinking water.

Words learned: D'accord! (OKAY!), supe'air! (say it in a french accent with your thumb up). More to come when i'm not uh, serving our country.

trip part 7: sparkling moments

Bug, pre-rehearsal: clearly knows she's cute.

Bug & Me, rehearsal dinner, pre-Death Virus Onset. Note: Pen's new haircut, and... cleavage?! Also, NO, I did not intend for us to match.

The Happy Couple! (I missed these post-ceremony park shots, which all came out fabulous.)
And the Beautiful Bride...
Reception: we (barely) made it! Pen=Death Warmed Over, retires shortly thereafter to unoccupied front room, sips ginger ale and chamomile tea... promptly loses both beverages.
Bug and her Daddy-o hang outside, Bug feasts on crackers.
Flower Girl in Spirit: Bug tears up the dance floor!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

trip part 3: dear whomever passed us the bug,

We're seriously considering egging your house. Be warned. They'll be nice and rotten.

Germy Hugs and Kisses, along with 4 Flipped Birds,
J.Lo and Pen

trip part 4: worries


  • Motion sickness? On the plane, in the rental car, wherever (didn't happen)
  • Bug's mood, general well-being, behavior (was the best, even when sick)
  • Getting There: Driving to RDU, flying Jet Blue to JFK, renting car, driving to Stamford, finding our way around (precarious at times, but we managed)
  • Reading at the wedding, public speaking nervousness (obviously did not happen)
  • Forgetting something (didn't)

Actual Trip

  • Using a broken car seat, thanks to National car rental
  • Our own sickness
  • Baby N.Lo's well-being (p.s. he's fine)
  • Getting others sick, i.e. anyone we came into contact with, but particularly my nieces, the newlyweds, my 90-year-old grandmother, my parents who were so absolutely helpful during travel, all the rest of our family and friends, the bride's family and friends, anyone who stays in our hotel room after us, the poor cleaning lady who had to change out our sheets and towels while K.Lo and I sat on the couch like death warmed over, anyone who flew on the same plane or rides in the same car....
  • Missing wedding, most of reception
  • Getting the hell home without dying.

trip part 5: dear mr. ollivander of the muggle optical world,

Thank you so much for fixing my glasses this morning. They were seriously squished in my suitcase because I packed them stupidly, but you didn't bat an eye when I brought them in, just nodded and murmured and disappeared into the back room to perform the oculus reparo spell, or something that must have been very similar--because it took no time it all. And you didn't charge me, didn't even ask me who I was or if I had bought my glasses there, just fixed them, smiled, and gave them back. It was like you just knew... A little creepy, but very much appreciated.

pen who can see a little clearer now