Monday, March 31, 2008

Things, M

Things that have made me cry at work, when in fact i am usually an emotionless robot:

Li@n being killed by hunters in Africa.
D@lphins being slaughtered in a closed bay in Japan.
Eleph@nts dying in pain bcs they're kept in cramped zoos with no yard space and developing behaviors that are them going crazy.
E@gle kept in a closet, and didn't know how to fly, although he was rescued and rehabilitated.
Cheet@h trying to save a baby chimp, but the baby dies.

Oh so, to answer Kudzu's question: I'm working on this new NinmalAy LanetPay show and we're going to be putting together some amazing footage of close calls, harrowing rescues and man thrashings. Basically youtube anything with @nimal @ttacks, or @mazing video and there's a chance we're trying to hunt down the owner of the video and get an interview to find out what happened. For 3 wks work has been slow except for a steady pace of plodding thru and today i got an additional assignment of researching for the writers- so i'm psyched. But still, that's when i ran across the lephantEay articles and with my zoo visit fresh in my mind... I was like wahhhh, set the lephantEays free. And bcs of the LaZo@ our tax money is $40million in the hole just to be able to say we have @lephants, when they could be wandering in a sanctuary- is sort of infuriating. Usually I stay away from anything remotely sad but then suddenly you know its @himpanzee's in cages, and @nimal testing and its all i can do to not be totally bummed out. This gig will last till July and as with them all I hope it'll go somewhere but you know how it goes. And meanwhile, all sorts of grrr is brewing bcs of these poor animals and by association humans and I'm suddenly wanting to boycott things like the @lympics and zo0s and japan (of course) but I don't know what to do with my new found refreshed sense of outrage.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I could never paint the walls Oyster Bisque

After long last, I have decided that our kitchen will be YELLOW. It seems like a nice, happy, very kitcheny color that I can live with. Now, what shade. It's going to be pale, and decidedly not like a pencil. I've got a bunch of chips, and really at this point it's all about names. Because when someone asks you, "What color is it?" you can't very well say, "It's called Sludge of Buttercup," or something like that. Whoever has the job of naming paint colors can't take it very seriously, because when you're down to the nitty-gritty shades, isn't it so random? But for the person deciding what will end up on the wall, there's all sorts of potential there. It's like you're titling the whole feel of a room, and what you want to think of whenever you're in there, living your life and cooking up things.

So, here's what I'm down to:
Zest
First Light
Sunbeam
Pineapple Cream
Lemon Butter
Warm Summer
Yellow Narcissus
Pecan Cream
Lemon Cream
Lemon Sorbet
Daisy Spell
Cocoa Butter
Orchard Ladder

What do you think?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Not that I don't love the earth

We've been pinching pennies lately, for several reasons: debt consolidation, lack of overtime hours, and oh, the fact that we have two children now. Gets expensive. So here are the some of things I've been doing that in another life I might have considered... fussy, boring, overly-involved, obsessive, over-the-top, impractical, plain old can't-be-bothered-with-it, etc. A lot of these make it sound like we're all Going Green with Al Gore, but no, we're just cheap bastards.


*I have severely cut our paper towel usage. Paper towels will be used only for things like... cooking bacon. For cleanups, I purchased a pack of microfiber cloths ($8.99 for 12, found in Target's automotive section) and throw them in the laundry when they're dirty. They wash well, although they tend to cling to the other clothes like velcro, which is a little weird. They do clean up better than paper towels, however, which I'm very impressed with.

*Items we really go through, I buy in bulk. Items we wouldn't go through if we have a half-ton of it around, I buy as needed. I'm very judicious about this fund allocation, and I do find more and more items switching over to the bulk list, because I am also getting very strict about finishing everything we buy.

*We use the front and backs of scrap paper, especially for K.Lo's art projects.

*We eat leftovers for lunch. Or sometimes, if I don't think we'll make it through the leftovers before they die, I put them in the freezer for a whole nother dinner.

*Nearly all of the kids' clothes are hand-me-downs or gifts. Every once in awhile I can't restrain myself, but I do try.

*I bought the light bulbs that last 7 years. But I won't use them in the fixtures I know will burn out long before the 7 years is up.

*Unless I take a trip, I only fill up my own car with gas maybe once a month. Because I never go anywhere far. (This one's sort of a lucky accident.)

*I use the aquarium water on the front-porch plants...which are dying because I need to water them in between, too, but that's another story.

*We wear a lot of clothes (pants, pjs, some shirts, not underwear for heaven's sake) more than once to cut back on laundry, only wash what's really dirty... which N.Lo helps along faster than we'd like. Babies are so messy.

*I make most of my own cleaning products. The only thing I don't make (yet) are laundry detergent and dishwasher cleaner. And furniture polish, but I'm really thinking about it. Oh, and granite cleaner, I probably will not make that, unless I find a good recipe. I have 2 multi-purpose sprays that also happen to be non-toxic. Dust repellant spray, shower cleaner, and general bathroom cleaner. I also use various product concoctions to clean the toilet and also the drains. I use straight vinegar to clean the coffee pot and also instead of Jet Dry in the dishwasher. I haven't had to make a glass cleaner yet, since I still have some store-bought on hand, but I will eventually.

*I downgraded our cable/internet package--oh wait, no, I upgraded it. Because it was actually cheaper to get the faster internet service, go figure. And that price is locked in now for 2 years, won't change even when everything goes to HD.

*We have the cheapest possible price plan for our phones, and never go over our minutes, and do not excessively text. Actually, the whole street could probably use our minutes and we still wouldn't go over, because I, as previously discussed in some other blog post of the past, am not a Phone Person, and we have rollover out the yang.

*We just switched trash companies, thanks to a hot tip from erinhjones. Servicetrash.com, baby. Ten bucks a month.

*We only give the kids baths once or twice a week. Oh wait, maybe that's just laziness. But seriously, too many baths dries out their skin anyway.

*And when I do give K.Lo a bath, I just plug the drain when I start the water running, and then mix it with the hot to get it the right temp, rather than wasting all that water at the beginning. I'm also considering (will I go this far?) getting a bucket and collecting unused water from the shower, like when you're waiting for it to heat up? But I don't know, it seems very hard core. But I could maybe use that for the fish tank, and the dying plants so maybe they'll live again.

*I never throw out gift bags, unless they're torn or whatever... and thusly never have to buy a gift bag. Same with tissue paper. And mailing envelopes/boxes.

*I also buy cards in bulk. Or at the dollar store, where incidentally, they cost less than a dollar.

*I buy books and music with gift certificates only, and otherwise they'll be used, like at the famed Library Book Sale, or on Amazon Marketplace. Or I don't buy a book at all, if I can get it at the library or borrow. Or burn, for music. And movies, I'm trying to not buy those at all, for the time being, and just rent from Netflix or ask for it for Christmas. Except with Dan in Real Life, I totally caved on that one, but it was my birthday we were celebrating.

*And, as you probably already well know, I am the bargain shopper. When it comes to pretty much everything.

So, welcome to my nerdy, cheapskate life. I share this list not to brag, or complain, or make you feel compulsive about your own life (god, please don't), but more just to catalogue our efforts? Because we are. Making an effort.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

observation

Okay, I'm not by any means suggesting that I am a perfect driver, but for fuck's sake, people. When you're backing up, do you even look? Just because you're in a handicap spot doesn't mean there's not going to be someone behind you. In fact, in a parking lot, chances are high that someone will be behind you.

This morning I'm at Costco, and as I finish up loading the car, I notice two ladies getting into their car in the next row over. That's right, I noticed. Because I tend to do that. I'm also not suggesting that I am oblivion-free, but shit. Being me, I'm already thinking ahead, and planning to let them go first, since they're already in their car, and I'm not in a hurry, and I can take a few moments and let them back out/get out of the way first. I wait, and they're not moving, their reverse lights aren't even on, so I think, "Oh, they're probably waiting for me, because my reverse lights are on." So I back out. And clearly they didn't even notice me, period, much less think ahead, much LESS follow basic fucking traffic protocol and LOOK BEHIND THEM before pulling out. Just as I'm practically bumper to bumper with them and about to pull the car into drive, Jackhole starts backing out, and keeps going! There's no time or room for me to get out of the way, so I'm left to honk my horn wildly and try not to swear too loud in front of the children.

How can you not even fucking look in your rear-view mirror? There are people and carts and cars and kids in parking lots! What a fucking jackhole. She's backing up, and I'm already in my mind's eye seeing us standing outside our cars, surveying the damage and exchanging insurance information. And me trying not to fucking punch the jackhole's lights out. LUCKILY, she stops in time, doesn't hit me, but by a fucking hair. Sometimes, I really hate people.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

woh,

oh my gosh, woh. i know. it's a shock to me too. and so appropriate to my job right now. poor little animals. i mean seriously- there's an island off japan that slaughters dolphins 6months out of the year. it's beyond gross and inhumane and there's youtube footage of it. oh, it just changed to from humane society to weight watchers. whatevs! anyway, here to the right we have some blog-her ads... sort of like when we did adsense back in the beginning days. you'll adjust. or at least that's what i tell myself- and we get the added bonus of being in like some crazy cool blogHER community, because we're beyond rad. so really it's just another way of celebrating us because we do that.

Blogforever.
Blognation.

things are going to be messy for awhile.

I have the biggest trouble accepting this fact. Things are just going to be messy for awhile. The floors, the cabinets, the drawers. The closets. My clothes, the kids. I mean, we're not slobs by any stretch. There's the prevailing dog-hair issue, but I've come to terms with that one more or less. And I'm having the big yard sale in a week and a half, so a lot of the excess will be cleared out then. But the nitty-gritty organization? Having all my pictures ordered and in albums, clearing out every article of clothing that we're not wearing anymore because it doesn't fit or is too ratty or whatever. Making sure there's no furry M&Ms under the couch. Or that I haven't stuck my foot in my mouth. Can't worry about it (too much). Having everything all situated and organized and each thing in its place? Things like that aren't goingto happen for awhile. And regimented exercise, that's going by the wayside, too.

It's a huge pet peeve of mine when people say they're too busy, too busy, because you know, you have time for the people and things you want to make time. I'm going to say it, though, about the nitty-gritty level of organization, the control and order, and the exercise: I'm too busy! We've got stuff going on here. Two little persons with their demands and quirks and personalities. Needs. Not to mention two adults who need downtime and sanity and fun and things like that. So in the back of mind, while it does drive me a little insane that I can't address what I would noarmally address, if I didn't have the two little persons around? I've just got to let it go. Let the dust pile up.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

todays accounts

greetings from the far off place that is workland. there is a literal crows nest on the top of the palm tree outside one of the office windows (5th floor), it's pretty spectacular. today i've been stricken with some wicked allergies that are throwing off my equilibrium- making me dizzy and nauseous. it's good times. just now with an hour to go it occurs to me that the ginger pills would've helped- had i remembered them. i also casually asked the guy who hired me what i should do once i ran out of footage to search and he sort of flippantly but humorously said, well without footage there's no show so! but then he said, I can ask so n'so if he needs help... uh, okay. how has he not realized that i've been stringing out the footage search for 2 wks because i'm really good at killing time. but as far as i know he's planned to employ me for 4 months. coolio. just a few hours ago i overhead a guy talking on the phone about being in jail, having a suspended license and harassing some girl about a guy she liked who is also going to jail in the twin towers (downtown)... and then i thought, well if he could find a job! there's hope for everyone i know. of course there is no magic formula to getting all these jobs i keep getting and i'm not even a felon... but i figure usually forces align and the right person hires you for something you've actually applied for. later i was going to help count the homeless population in hollywood but i'm bailing due to feeling completely gross- that and they have enough people so i don't feel so bad. in light of this i may now go eat some chinese food and write... swimming and other altruistic things to come when i feel better. oh and i think my left foot 2nd toe is broken but from like a long time ago. or maybe it's just bruised. either way it's totally annoying.

Monday, March 24, 2008

do-gooding and the peace of mind it brings

I'm old now and clearly have no idea how to properly spend a gift card. I bought mostly groceries with mine, is that bad? It's just that money's a little tight right now, and I reasoned that a little less pressure on our bank account would be a good happy birthday present. A nerdy present, but a present nonetheless. I won't share my grocery list, but I thought for a moment I could indulge in a little daydream fantasy about the things I considered buying instead.

Waitress on DVD
some wacky t-shirts
underwear (also slightly nerdy)
a purse
another big CD album because I like to organize (okay, that's really not much better, is it)
Sydney White on DVD
a dress to wear to N.Lo's Baptism
some music (unspecified, couldn't really think of anything)
socks?

Hmmm. This really isn't much a daydream, is it. Seriously, that's about all I could come up with. And while virtual shopping in my mind was kind of another gift in and of itself, I have to say, the groceries were totally worth it. I felt good about it afterward. Very Responsible, and a little Less Neurotic. It's like the best gift money could buy.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sacrifice

I actually baked you guys. Serious accomplishment, since I never do these sorts of things. And from scratch. As if I'd make redvelvetcake from a box. Though Amber totally helped on this point and then mom made the topping more whipped or whatever the way it was suppose to be because it was all glazy and random. If you remember I occasionally talk about how I celebrate the church calendar- those lofty high holy days so that traditional celebrations like Christmas and Easter can actually have more meaning. And that the symbols present are more poignant and visceral because of it. LauraLee asked me to help think of things to incorporate into our new traditions. For instance she decided to live by candlelight from Thurs-Sat night to symbolize our movement as people from darkness to life- spiritually, emotionally. And most of us got the, it's a day of mourning, so we'll wear black, sort of thing. On the fly I suggested RedVelvetCake because of its shocking and slightly morbid red color- figuring that it symbolizes Christ's sacrifice for us and in turn by eating the cake how we as Christians willingly accept this sacrifice and partake of it. Then I brought bloodorange juice... well you get the point. And when I went to explain it, just as simple as that it seemed much more important to me than it did at first. Anyway, it was an awesome time and we conversed a lot about the intimacy of grief, the role of women, how we mourn, our voices as we sang, prayed, and our general fabulousness on this Great Saturday, before the promise fulfilled. And everyone or most anyway, loved the cake and they ate it up and that was just nice, though next time I'll use less oil and more food dye. And I think because I made something, had to think about it, figure it out, it made me more mindful of why we were gathering, celebrating easter in the first place, since it goes way beyond bunnies and families, though i did make an easter egg mobile, and eat some bunny shaped chocolate. Mainly because I'm still part pagan. Totally.



Saturday, March 22, 2008

Back together again

Hello Allo. The picture doesn't do the transformation justice but it's just nice to have color and clean ones at that. And not old painted walls but new ones with no marks of any kind. Hurray to that.

Friday, March 21, 2008

new office weirdness


baby is in the corner. but i did find footage they accepted on friday so woo. on my way one pebble at a time.

the heckler

Jan/Feb suckitude, Part 3.

I'd like to expand on last post's item number 7, which was:
Worried, once again, too much about what I'm Supposed to Be Doing as opposed to what I Feel Comfortable Doing. I don't even know where the Supposed to Be Doing voice is coming from? I'm clearly making it up in my own head, and it's a snotty little twit who speaks, tells me how I'm doing everything wrong, allocating my time improperly, constantly unproductive, not living up to some lofty expectation of Good Mother or Good Wife, when really I just need to be Good Penelope.

The Supposed to be Doing voice has possibly been with me my whole life, but I do know that it got a whole lot louder and peskier when I became a parent. Because all of a sudden you're like, responsible for how another human being turns out, and as with any action in life, there are just so many choices, so many different directions to go, and with children, you're not going to know the result of those choices for years. It can be absolutely overwhelming, the possibility factor, paralyzing if you let it.

But I want to clarify that the Supposed to be Doing voice is a different animal than the Do the Right Thing voice. The Do the Right Thing voice is your conscience at work, and completely necessary to keep us all in check, keep our society functioning on some peaceable level, etc. Hopefully the Do the Right Thing voice never gets too quiet.

The Supposed to be Doing voice, on the other hand, makes you feel scattered and lacking confidence. It's an oily creature, borne from sources like advertising, the media in general, and the people you talk to on an everyday basis. I'm not saying these things need to be avoided--clearly they are such an integral part of lives, and as far as the media and the people in your life, they can be totally positive, important, and enriching forces. But when you're not naturally inclined to feel confident with yourself and your choices, when it takes some conscious effort to just be whoever it is that you are and be okay with that? It is very easy to let the Supposed to be Doing voice come into your head and completely take over.

I find the Supposed to be Doing voice unnerving, bossy, and downright suffocating. The voice is a bitch, and even worse, it is entirely my own creation. By far the worst quality of the Supposed to be Doing voice, however, is that it doesn't like who I am.

It's just kind of hard to even be alive, sometimes? So I wonder why we spend so much energy making it harder by letting the inner critic come in and take us over, sometimes even letting it steamroll us down. I've been speaking in general terms for most of this post, but truly, when it comes to parenting especially, isn't it so important for us to be ourselves with our kids? To run the day according to what feels comfortable to us, rather than listening to some irritating little heckler that's planted itself in our minds, telling us to do this or that differently? It doesn't seem like a very good model anyway, being a parent who doubts his or her choices. And also, living with the heckler, the Supposed to be Doing voice, puts me in such a bad mood. Which, incidentally, led me to item number 1 on that list, i.e.:
Forgot how to enjoy K.Lo. I mean, K.Lo always amuses and entertains, one way or another, on a daily basis. But with sleep issues and the Terrible Twos, and whatnot, I found myself way more annoyed than I liked or needed to be, and on a regular basis. Which made me feel even more unhinged, which she (of course) responded poorly to... vicious cycle. It got the better of me.

The Supposed to be Doing voice is bad for EVERYONE. Must purchase packing tape from Costco and administer immediately.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

where i went wrong

More on the Jan/Feb suckitude, and How I Resolve to do Better:

1. Forgot how to enjoy K.Lo. I mean, K.Lo always amuses and entertains, one way or another, on a daily basis. But with sleep issues and the Terrible Twos, and whatnot, I found myself way more annoyed than I liked or needed to be, and on a regular basis. Which made me feel even more unhinged, which she (of course) responded poorly to... vicious cycle. It got the better of me.

2. Didn't harass mendacious enough re: that first chapter-episode of our book, and handing it in to me so I can see what it looks like and do one of my own. I'm still tapping my foot, m, waiting, waiting, waiting! Or are you really too busy writing about fuzzy bunnies.

3. Became too unglued at certain mishaps, inconveniences, temporary setbacks, etc, such as having the kitchen redone. Like why I got so twitchy about a little dust, when hello, I can clean it up eventually and in the meantime I have brand new CABINETS.

4. Denied the general suckiness of February as a month. It's cold, dark, and gloomy, literally and figuratively, and yet I tried to pretend it was all sunshine and roses. Should maybe embrace its inherent crapholeness, next time.

5. Spent too much time trying to hook up wireless printer to the network, should just be happy with the thing WIRED and leave well enough alone. How many hours of my life did I lose with this misadventure? Hell.

6. Really did poorly with the Netflix fare, once again. MUST watch more of my own movies/shows. Must make the time.

7. Worried, once again, too much about what I'm Supposed to Be Doing as opposed to what I Feel Comfortable Doing. I don't even know where the Supposed to Be Doing voice is coming from? I'm clearly making it up in my own head, and it's a snotty little twit who speaks, tells me how I'm doing everything wrong, allocating my time improperly, constantly unproductive, not living up to some lofty expectation of Good Mother or Good Wife, when really I just need to be Good Penelope.

Will amend these matters promptly, report back with results.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

order is being restored

I had a fantastic time on vacay, a great b-day (thanks for all the Blogdom well-wishes!), and feel... just, better. Like more ready to face life. Was it just me, or did February and January kind of suck. I felt like it was such an effort to muster up any sort of positive energy, much less maintain it? It was a dark spiraling vortex.

Now, Spring is around the corner. The warmer, happier weather, the daffodils, the chirping birds and flowering trees? I feel it in my fingers AND my toes. And, order is truly being restored to the universe with regularly scheduled programming. How I Met Your Mother! Top Chef! The Office in just TWO weeks! And the delightfully ridiculous America's Prom Queen. How one can resist a fluffy, apparently pointless show with Theo Von and Jai Rodriguez on the Judging Panel is beyond me.
Long live Spring!

Mendacious Apparel

As we all know I have a very detailed book on all my friends. Why they annoy me, certain phrases and topics to avoid while in their presense, how many years they've been in my service, what I like about them, how many presents I've failed to give them... and on rare occassions a row of gold stars for service above and beyond.

Amber is one such well documented friend. There was a small incident of not speaking to her for a year but I have hopes that we'll last at least another 10years before another meltdown. (detailed recordings to be found in the book). She's going to vote for Hilary for instance. Yikes. And she's nearly a socialist on some things and a despot in others, but luckily a sharp wit and the same sense of logic and sisterhood are the ties that bind. She is one of the best, 'hang out and just live' friends I've ever had. I can very easily talk to and or see her every day and only want to kill her every 5th day or 95th hour, depending. Anyway she borrowed some paint clothes and devoted 12+ unflinching uncomplaining hours. She just willingly unbegrudgingly toiled away with me. And then came over the next day to finish the job. I can only hope we continue to rise together to the calling of sister. And she totally knows I'll have to help her move now, again, when she does, again. I am such a sucker. Amber and I having been friends for so long, makes it easy. Because she's become family and understands and wants to aid me in my restoration of the house, my need for a job, my projects, my desires...in such a casual dead on way when offering help, advice or a sarcastic remark.

I don't really like asking people for help, and I usually prefer to plod along the field, and if others join me I'm contented. If not, I am sulky but still I rarely impose. I need to get better at asking for help and unbegrudgingly giving it to others. But it comes with time I think and a certain inclination. Once my friend Wendy (who I've known since kindergarten) was over and we were 11 or 12 and I had to wash the dishes before I could play. I asked her to help me and she said no. At the time I must've been shocked and didn't have the tier level grading system in place, or she wouldve been downgraded immediately. But at the time I was impressed she actually stood up to me, but in another I remember her saying, I have to do that all time time too. And I think that's what stuck with me the most. I hated washing dishes. Why would I want to subject anyone else to the same thing.... etc. Except you see, we both wanted the same thing, to go play. Why wouldn't a friend want to help you achieve that end? You can see, it's all post-traumatic even stress and what not.

Anyway GrainofSand came over on what turned out to be another ill-fated car weekend, and on my dad's bad recollection at that- as in a 40min +gas and time drive over the hill for the mechanic to be closing at 1 instead of 4 as my father stated. Tragic. She came in despite the bad start to the day as a pinch hitter and did some spackling and saved my life on 2 of the windows and the meticulous trim. Because really that's what takes the longest and is oh so annoying. She is also wearing some improvised mendacious approved painting clothes. She and Amber have some errily similar attitudes toward things, both not liking strangers, have mostly reddish hair, and a strong sense of justice, as well as the very specific need for strict hygenie rituals which I ignore, and fair skin.

My life is richly rewarded because they're in it. And for that I thank thee. (Thee meaning them.) But if you're reading this and a friend I thank thee too. Special merit badges to anyone who has helped me paint, sand, build, level, dig, demolish, tidy, move straighten or haul anything.

The end result foth coming... in photos.




Monday, March 17, 2008

solitary

Hello, Here I am again, doing laps. It's an odd start so far. Sort of pushed me in and expected me to swim. Though my habit without guidance is more, swim a little, float, swim some more, wonder what I'm suppose to be swimming toward. Still not quite sure. Get out of the water often. Take my fully regimented breaks in the full sun of a beautiful wind-swept day, find rest and serenity in the bathroom- a quiet, dark and cool space where I can stretch and deep breathe. Watch a lot of people chatting and swimming further down the pool in the deep end, daring people to jump off the highdive. Look around in my section and the only other guy is getting instructions from the coach. Pushing him hard and telling him they like the way he looks. Coach isn't looking my way. Find it kind of uninspiring. Want to be independent and self guided only if I'm suppose to be. Sort of wonder if I'm being tested or set up to fail. Maybe forgotten about. Warily I do back-strokes to time and try to enjoy it. Make eye contact, smile in the appropriate spaces. Look up at the sky and try not to think about it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

HAPPY BIrthDAY!

dear penolin, happy birthday. we here at misadventures are so glad you are alive and in our lives. we could not do without you. we hope 30 is a spectacular technicolored ride.

Friday, March 14, 2008

today i...

*Slept until 9!
*Took a loooong shower, didn't worry that children were off painting the walls or sticking pencils in their eyes.
*Ate some chocolate with breakfast (totally against the rules).
*Had lunch at a cafe, some yummy open-faced grilled cheese sandwich with tomato.
*Played this trivia game at the table, with wonky questions such as "What are an extrovert's favorite colors?" (The answer, by the way, is red, orange, and yellow.)
*Toured a ginormous house. Like, really ginormous.
*Imagined the lives at that house and really wished I could have been a fly on the wall way back when in, say, the servants' sitting area. Or the billiard room. Or the bowling alley.
*Ate a fruit tart with strawberries and blueberries.
*Saw a family with 8 children, aged maybe 12 on down to a baby as small as N.Lo. The mom had hair like the Duggar lady (so weird! what does it mean??). All the children were well-behaved and quiet, except the two-year-old little girl, who reminded me of someone I know really well. But I felt a little sorry for her, because the ginormous house is no place for a toddler.
*Pondered current perspective, happy places, etc.
*Enjoyed watching J.Lo make N.Lo laugh, and also miss his K.Lo.
*Tasted some wine.
*Ordered crab cakes for the birthday dinner.
*Toasted to 30 and like, the best birthday ever.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Please note that this place did NOT cost us that much. It happens to be the Off Season, and oh, probably the nicest place I stayed at, like, EVER. That would be a FULL kitchen you see there, with granite countertops, and a ginormous bathroom, and a little deck, and and and--
slippers
electric fireplace
plasma TV
bedroom slippers put out on each side of the bed at turn-down
birthday balloons!
super-fast Wi-Fi
pretty lighting
wooden tea box filled with lovely selection
cheap snack bar service
washer/dryer?!
spa-type bathrobe

I guess I don't get out much. But it means I'm easily thrilled and impressed. I feel like whirling around in happy circles and singing "I think I'm gonna like it here" from Annie.

Happy 30 to meeeeeeee!








































Wednesday, March 12, 2008

30

For some reason Pen is taking 30 a bit hard. (Still a few days away for her) It's an even number. I don't really get it I confess. I loved 30, but I have to admit 31 has been a bit obscure. The idea of it anyway and I've just begun to wonder about 32. So perhaps we work in the reverse. And because of her make believe children and an imaginary cold and a fantastical trip to NY, I haven't been able to pin her down. No emails, no answered phonecalls, and have just been able to yell at her via email and CAPS. I haven't even told her a thing about my job. Sure I haven't written the promised chapter and I owe her expressions of my love and affection from auspicious occasions dating a year back, I'm glad she still speaks to me most of the time despite whatever annoyance she harbors for me but doesn't tell me about.... anyway I hope Pen sees her way clear to a fabulous birthday. I told her she deserved chocolate and pina coladas in the rain and I wish I was there and she wasn't a figmament of my imagination.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Well so THEN, by M

I get a call and he says, we got your resume from realitystaff and I say, okay. Yah? Cool. Animal Planet? Alright. Come in for an interview? Okay. I got the job? Charmed you with youtube refs and my wink and knowledgable head nod.... Yah. Then the boss says, as long as you're goot at writing. Who me? I've got a degree on the wall to prove it. (Insert laughs) Did they laugh? Glance around.

So just like that- in the span of 3 1/2 hours I became employed and no less, only 4 miles from home. Dare to dream! I'm going to save over $100 in gas each month.

It's good because the time off had gotten just a wee bit destructive. And though I'd been reining it in lately, the days still mashed into one another and made it impossible. So I find myself in a bullpin and thrown into action. Pitch meetings on friday, lots of "research" to do... no clearly defined supervisor, a guy who says, we don't punch clocks, and a treasure map to the supply closet and the new hire paperwork. I am positively unsure of myself. This job seems to require responsibility. And unguided at that.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Off the Map, by M

I was feeling pretty decadent with my 11am writers group meetings. We'd only had one but we're both so aware of our rampent procrastination that we designed procrastination days. Normal people might call those 'scheduled days on which they write,' but we prefer to call them days that we can no longer avoid writing and so must write so that we can turn it in and get commentary and drink lattes. (Mondays) It's working out magically. I wrote 3 pages and denied myself the watching of the Decalogue on Netflix and sewing a skirt. Tricia thinks that in 2 years we might actually have something. She said, well that's sort of sad, but... I said, well if it works. It works. And just the idea of having something in 2 years sounded perfectly magical to me. And that goes for the blog book too. As long as I'm moving forward and not just thinking about moving forward. Because stupid things like my 32nd birthday and the time change are coming and have past me by and I have other things to procrastinate about. So best get it out of the way now.

waterlog

Dear Universe,

Did I do something wrong? Pinch the babies too hard? Get too snarky about the Hulk on Survivor? Because seriously, this whole thing you've got with water disasters lately is getting old. We recently noticed that the wainscoting one wall of the dining area is all bowed out, and this wall shares one with the bathrooms, specifically the showers, so one can only imagine what is going on there. Then this morning, I discovered that a piece of the kitchen sink pipe has corroded clean through, leaving a nice little hole. I'm a virtual plumbing idiot, but even I know that's not a good thing. Lord knows how much these home repairs are going to cost. And then, while cooking dinner, I moved a full glass of water and tipped the whole thing all over myself, and also into the oven drawer. It's a small thing, I know, and there's no use crying over spilled water, you've just got to mop it up and change your clothes. But still.

Bad luck comes in threes, so I will assume you are done here.

Sincerely but skeptically yours,
Penelope

Sunday, March 9, 2008

notes to self and Blogland

1. You are not allowed to try and hook up the wireless printer to the network again until you return home from Asheville. AFTER your birthday. Maybe once you turn 30 you'll be wiser and figure out that last little piece of the puzzle. (So close!!!) In the meantime, it is a worthless time-suck.


2. All these demands that have facilitated the loss of Happy Place? Key words: self-imposed. All of them. I'm letting it go. They're all going. Bye-bye, see you later!

3. Before trip: return emails/calls from friends who reside in the Happy Place.

4. "Aliens in America" is back on TV. Watch it, love it. Sunday nights.

5. There's a commercial on-air for the APRIL 3 return of Earl, The Office, Scrubs, and 30 Rock. It's so exciting, it made me drop the remote.

6. I kind of hate wind. Not in small doses. But in large doses where it tears more shingles off our roof and literally unpots a plant on my porch? Not so much a fan. Also, it scares K.Lo, which is just another thing to add to the list, along with buses, trucks, airplanes, and (sometimes) Bender.

7. I've never tried Butter Pecan ice cream, but there's some in the freezer and I plan to right now.

notes to self, by M

1. Sometimes screaming out loud really does help. You would not know this though. You do not scream out loud.

2. Pen's birthday. Her 30th. I will maybe see her before she is 31. This gives me hope. I hope she tells me what she wants... i mean like besides my arrival. Which I haven't given up on. I'm still working on the shirts.

3. I made a new list: read Clarissa, Job 10:..., Search jobs, put bed coasters on, appt with trainer, yoga, sew: quilt, repair black pants, white top, black skirt, dress, necklaces, prochirs shirt... french. oh shit, and writing assignment, blogbook, but these go without saying... um, really.

4. There is a (now rawish) notch below my nose, right side that is having a persistent annoying itch, as does my right thumb.

5. Watching: The Decalogue I-III. but only after this season6 ep of MSW. I love netflix. And thank god the Office is coming back.

6. When you get the impression that you should just run out of church, before the 3rd song, and the lesson, do so. Because if not, it just ends up with you being cold, the sermon all jumbly, that all your friends won't go camping with you because they'll be at the stupid dumb ass retreat which is scheduled for the same weekend which reminds you- you need to visit more churches or just get different non-church friends who aren't caught up in the same community, the baby dedications that make you sad, that remind you of failed friendships, and your lack of lationship, that remind you of faded photographs from people who've died that are now in a huge box and on sale for .25cents. Which reminds you that you need to finish your own albums before they end up in a box and on sale for .25cents. Which reminds you that you're jobless and your to-do lists and your seeming paralyzed fearful existence that you will never grow up, take hold and get on with your life is coming truer and truer day by day. And yet, is it? Is it not?

6. Do workout even if your friend does not answer your calls because if you don't it just makes #5 worse. Even though she said 2:00. and I said 2:30, and we agreed and call after call and she said she'd been "sleeping", whatever.

7. Maybe go to sleep earlier because this time change thing is fucking you up worse than you thought. Go read Towers of Trebizond instead. Dream of fleeing country.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

i've lost my happy place

I am (how many times have I said this?) a person who needs a lot of downtime. I need a lot of downtime! And it's not just that I'm lately overcommitted with outings and get-togethers and my own self-imposed, ever-growing and totally daunting to-do list. I need the mental escape, or else I become mental. I mean, it's a really hard thing to take away from a person, like even if you were in prison and got in trouble and had to sit in The Hole for a month, at least you'd have your thoughts. Or maybe that would be a bad thing. Maybe I've just seen Shawshank Redemption too many times and am way too enamored with that Mozart scene. But that's always been a source of solace for me, the ability, the right, the capacity to self-reflect. Recently, I seem to have lost my little happy place where I go to think. If I could just have it back for a little bit each day even. Could we work out a visitation schedule? Or do I need to pay a ransom.

Missing: Pen's Happy Place

General Description: Reflection, pondering, deep thoughts like Jack Handy. A little quiet. No screaming or whining. A period of true solitude, however brief. The freedom to blog and email, connect with the outside world, but also zone out a little. Planning and dreaming. Aspirations. Organization. Patience. A smile. A deep breath, a shower. The sun shining or the rain falling, it doesn't matter, and maybe a gentle breeze.

Suspects in this case: Possibly stolen, kidnapped, trampled, and/or mangled by two very needy small persons. But also maybe it's Pen's fault, for not well enough guarding the Happy Place.

Rescue Plan: Glass of wine, some ear plugs? Dispatch of a search and rescue team. And a concerted effort on Pen's part to demand repossession, to find it and take it back.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Zoo Doo that you DO.

video video videoI confess that during the birdshow and the macaws circling overhead I did get a little misty eyed. Sort of like when i was at work today and watching a video of these elephants help this other elephant I might've almost cried. For a Republican I am a little to inexplicably connected to the earth ; ) My friend said it was because I am an earth tauras, with a taurus rising no less. I might agree. But besides that I find zoos sort of a let down. Like the animals aren't doing anything, like ever. Just like in the wild. The LA zoo is going thru quite a bit of renovation and its going to look supberb when done but... It still doesn't quite seem to disguise that they're cages even though that's okay and that zoos are outmoded given our access to experience such things...maybe, are they. But then are they? I mean that tiger wandering around or that bear sleeping in the shaded gutter aren't real. That khuala stretching its cute but vicious little arms or the vultures eyeing the dead bunny or the seals slipping thru the water- I might as well be watching you on national geographic. I see you the same way i see a painting in a museum. Not quite in its natural habitat and yearning to be set free. Though I know you probably have a pretty almost cush existence compared to the brutality of the wild but I want you where you're meant to be especially if you're an elephant and well, I know that sometimes small places can be enough which just leaves me wishing the world was a safer place- not just because of man but everything else. The fall, the disorder of it all. But aren't you, well you don't seem to see how fearfully and wonderfully made you are. My God you're glorious. Sniff. I have to go now.

who's calling the shots?

Cirie, that's who! I kind of love Cirie, even though J.Lo is not a fan. There's just something about her, the way she's not particularly outdoorsy or athletic, but was a Survivor fan and now there she is on the island, taking the physical part of it in stride and calling her competition on their bullshit. She also just seems like she'd be fun to hang out with in real life.

Every player is in the game for him or herself, because hello, the prize is a million dollars. Cirie never loses sight of that prize, nor does she lose sight of the fact that everyone else wants it, too. She refuses to be anyone's pawn. Jonathan can be as pissed as he wants to be that she betrayed their alliance, but as she said, he's mainly just mad because she didn't vote the way he wanted her to--which would ultimately benefit him. She's not the strongest player physically, and to the two major Favorites alliances, she will be the most expendable when they get to the end. They all know it, and she knows it. But if the other players are smart (debatable), they'll notice Cirie and realize this chick's smart. I was floored that she ultimately manipulated the vote to get The Incredible Hulk voted out instead of Chet. As worthless as Chet is in the game of Survivor, the fact that he was saved shows Cirie's power of influence, and I won't be surprised one bit to see her make it to the Final Four, and possibly beyond. Go, Cirie!

And one final note about the vote-out and Incredible's sour grapes attitude at the end: hello! You can't understand why the tribe would keep Chet around instead of the strength factor? Because you kept Chet around last vote, snaking Mikey B instead (not to mention letting Natalie work you over). Ooo, karma strikes again.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Hier Midi (Yesterday, Noon) by M

There is a canyon road not far from my house and I go up it and catch the freeway often because it's like so un-LA. And there are a few trails I can bound up less than 10min from my house also. I was up there on Saturday and as we passed a herd of cyclists (who love this run) I said, I always say, do not hit them. Do not. Because though at times there is a quasi shoulder and a median other times they have to take up a lane and even on a turn you can stray into the shoulder, because the turns are casual enough that you can easily lose focus and meander. If that makes sense- it's not challenging so you pay attention less. So on this road in particular I'm always, usually, aware.

I was sailing home down the canyon road, after meeting Tricia for a possible ahem, weekly accountability session where um, writing might be exchanged and or discussed, in the middle of the day no less. I'm into this whole new discipline thing where I make myself do things to negate the procrastination factor, aka French class even if the grades are harrowing, and the possible writing despite the terrifying inevitability of actual accomplishment, then the reading through the bible thing and the noting all my workouts thing... though i know it's a slightly unstable house of cards I see myself metaphorically approaching a mountain with Jesus (of course), so I'm okay with it. This sort of perseverance training.

Anyway all this to say my self-bubble was high as I came down the mountain, though slightly apprehensive of the pressure, and it was a good time. Until, I saw the body lying, diagonal, facing away from me down the hill, in the middle of the road- a rather broad, 3 inch band of blood stretching 3ft from their helmeted head. I braked firmly. Saw the cars, piling on the left, the concerned standing cyclist on the phone, staring away from his partner, who was lying as if asleep on their side. I saw a man flaring up a blanket and I thought oh jesus, is this person dead! But then he just covered the cyclists legs. And as I passed I saw a couple people running with towels out of the house on my left, set back into the hill and the guy on the phone almost searching me like he might ask me something, or tell me something, like he just had to say something.

And I thought, oh Jesus, don't be dead. Be okay poor cyclist. I hope you're okay. And luckily as I was proceeding down the hill- all the wind from my sails, the sirens came screeching my way. The fire chief, the fire engine, the ambulance. And hopefully it was possible that the blood loss would be stopped.

And then I got home, and went to Burger King and had a DoubleWhopper w/ cheese and mayo.... and I thought, fuck it. I'm going to eat this fucking burger because that's what I'm going to do. And then I stared into the computer screen a lot and thought of my friend who seems to see accidents all the time and wondered if maybe she cursed me. But at least it was something I could tell her right off the bat without a hello- I saw this cyclist get hit. I'm totally traumatized I said. And she said, I know, right! And I'm like mmhmm. Yes!

And there's nothing whatever I can do about it.

But tell it over and over again.

As I carry the impression down the mountain.

And back up again.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

first 100% of the day!

Maybe I'm an overachieving biz-natch, but I was like, soooo proud and gloaty the other day at the DMV for getting a 100% on the traffic sign recognition test!* Weeeee. The first 100% of the day, and let me tell you, there were a lot of people there. Like everyone on this side of ILM has nothing better to do at 10:00 in the morning but go renew their licenses or whatever at the DMV, seventh circle of hell that it is. Totally thought of Reaper.

But back to my 100%. (100%! First of the day!) I felt like I was back in school again, studying up, performing, and acing it. Yowza. The good old days, when studying yielded positive results, when A+B action=C result. Back when I knew what I was doing. Back when I was considered smart and capable and all of that. Proficient, even. It's nothing like my current job. You know, the parenting one.

P.S. Does this picture even look like me? I know not. But my hair looks cute, so sure, whatever. It will do for the next 8 years.

*Whenever you go to renew your license here in this state, they make you take this really dumb-ass traffic sign recognition test, where the answers are either so obvious you get confused, i.e. do you just read the writing if the sign they show has words? Is this a literacy test? or so ridiculous, i.e. a BLANK sign that you're supposed to recognize just by the color and shape, that you're again a deer in headlights. What do they mean? Are there blank signs on the road? What--why are they asking me this question? I'm telling you, it doesn't make any sense. If you don't believe me, just think about what you would say when faced with a blank yellow triangle that points to the right. Five seconds, GO!

the blushing crush, by M

I don't embrass toooo easily. I have my moments, we all do. I mean but seriously, I was a Theatre major. Like OMG you guys: I am suppose to be undauntable, indominable, um... something, something. Queen of the castle, master of my domain, whatevs. But there is something about French class that makes my face flush redhot. She asks me a question en francais and my eyes go wide, and I'm like, uh, um, huh sigh, okay. I must nip this charming cheek checking in adios! I mean it's just ridiculous.

M, out.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

over-achieving biznatches.

Friend Danica said to me over tea, "If anything is worth doing, it's worth doing poorly." Which is what I must tell myself and my 65.5 test score. However, I find myself sitting next to 3 over achievers. I said to a particularly uptight one, once we found out she got an A++, (I'm not kidding) was, "As if there was any doubt!" She gave me the side glance eye roll, mouth slightly agape. Ladies you know what I mean. It's an extremely snark-attitude-bitch laden manuever. I said, "because, hello she's a good student!" Perhaps there was too much of an edge in my voice, or I was making my point badly, and rephrasing made it worse, but somehow someway I made it sound insulting. Possibly even hate filled. What the fuckever overachiever. My friend-overachiever was down cast at her 85.5. "See," she said, "I didn't get an A." Yah, fuckin' tragic. Thuogh I secretly take glee in the fact I am much better at vocabulary without even trying! The weird-overachiever to my left got a 94.5. She at least said, "Well I took 3 years of French in HighSchool. The grammer is hard." It sure the fuck is, and not studying or procrastinating makes it worse. If you are not this person you will not relate automatically. Because in your mind, if I studied, didn't procrastinate, made my flashcards, got 3 tutors, that somehow grammatical phrasing and those wacky terms would magically make sense, not unlike Algebra, you might tell me that it's a formula to be applied, and then I would have no problem with pasttense agreement. I can only explain it in these terms: If you're not musical, try picking up a piece of sheet music and explaining what all the archs, dots, filled, unfilled, zeros, slashes and gashes mean even if you've never seen them. And applying it precisely without practice to a song you've never heard before. I say, though I know,not many understand, is that though I have a Masters in Writing does not mean I'm good at grammer or that I have to be. Is all I'm saying. Sure I went through most of my BA w/ honors, feeling like a fraud, but this is how my brain works. I learn by ear. Like some musicians learn by ear. They can hear it and reproduce it. And I don't know how to explain this to them or to my awesome and amusing overachiever teacher who knows farsi, armenian, english, french, and a little italian and spanish- that I will not understand it the way they teach it or think I should know it. Trying to communicate this is frustrating. And I suppose my belief in this knowing of me is the only reason I can eventually push off the feeling of failure, and know that eventually I will know it better, appreciate the sound and the music of the language more than the overachieving biznatches will. Because when they say, yah, I know French. Yes fluently. They will blink, possibly say a phrase and go on their grey and black, severe hair do wearing way. And when I say, yah I know french, it's beautiful and unweildy and immensly colorful- and I'm going to keep persuing it no matter how elusive its embrace-- And that is what I will keep telling myself, thank you very much-- and not feel stupider or smarter for it, but me, in all my glorious imperfections.

Monday, March 3, 2008

ta-da

These aren't the world's best pictures...they don't give the full effect because the stove isn't pushed back, and the counters aren't loaded up with all my accoutrement. But my head cold's back, and it's the best I can do, so deal. I don't think they've really sunk in yet, the new counters. I keep looking at them, half in awe, half in denial. They're just like, so nice. I think after two and half years with the world's most hideous countertops, I got used to the idea that my counters would just always be ugly, and worse, always look and feel unclean. But now, they are smooth, shiny, sparkly. Something gets on them, and you wipe it off, voila. Granite doesn't get waterlogged, it's such a novel little concept. J.Lo and my Dad worked well together, it all looks tres beautiful... My dad did the trim as well, and is making another cabinet for us with a place for the microwave and pull-out drawers for all our pantry food, and shelves for the cookbooks. Yeah. I know! And I still have to paint the backsplash and possibly the rest of the kitchen, but that's another matter entirely, something to ponder when my head weighs less and my shoulders don't feel weighed down by bricks. Oh, that last pic shows a strip of the old stuff laid across the new, just to illustrate the diff. That piece is sitting on top of our fridge at the mo and every time I catch a glimpse of it, I shudder for a second like I've just glimpsed something terribly unpleasant that I once saw in a dream.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Old Person, by M

Followed by all that nutty socializing came the inevitable fall. I ditched church, puttered in the garden. Which literally I shuffled around in some drapey pants, my sandals, a cup of tea in my hand, moving this, moving, that, slowly, standing around and musing alot. Nodding my head and saying, mmhmm. Yep. Sometime later I went to Mimi's Cafe to catch the earlier bird special with Amber. Having stolen my parents $10off coupon for blood donation, and reminding Amber to retrieve the Coldstones- buy1/get1 free coupon. We made our way around 530pm, found parking right up close, muttered about all the kids working there under 20 and looking like ashley simpson and lindsey lohan, and how it took forever and the fish was just okay and that if we weren't so relaxed from working out we'd sit that manager down and give him a good talking to. We found our way to the local icecream shop, which was in a strange and new part of town and then talked about how our friends had taken us to strange places without warning us, like a wake and a hospital visit... We made our way home by 7 and shook our heads that we were home so late and sat down to watch that dreamy clive owen and that lovely cate blanchett. and called it a night by 930. we were exhausted.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Social, by M (bonus post)

Usually I'm pretty reluctant to go places and do things, that I have no interest in, but sometimes without warning I've agreed to too many things I do have interest in. It's an all or nothing sort of thing. Saturday I embraced the do everything, anywhere, in an all out leisure adventure. First hiking with GrainofSand, and Amber. She says, that reading the blog would be like getting a recap on what she's already experienced, so she doesn't, since I tell her most everything. She's like the more snarkridden, more sarcastic, critical, more pragmatic, less artistic, more driven conservative side of me, who also watches bad movies and is less adventurous with food.;) But anyway she powered us up the hill at a fabulous place but did not enjoy the flowers by the narrowed path, or how the valley stretched below, or how the cool mist ascended on us but it was a good time. As Sarah humored my musings about the flowers and the weather and was slightly less annoyed by the dogs then Amber... So then, Danica made tea for me. I have fabulous friends. There's no denying. We watched prehistoric birds at the Arboretum, observed all the cherry and fruit tree blossoms, got misted on and walked and walked and walked and did not feel the time past one bit. Then Kerry called me and I made way to meet her at the Opera. Free tix yo. They're having a series called, Recovering Voices, of artists who were "repressed" during the Nazi regime. Pretty interesting, and a fairly entertaining evening. Though at first Kerry didn't think I'd be interested. I'm like girl?! do you KNOW me! I go to the symphony and do other slightly pretentious things all the time. She thought though that I didn't go out at night and somehow aligned my disinterest in one activity as a broad hatred of all activities. No, just things I'm not interested in. I think that's pretty common. There's a balance between friends pushing your 'what you like' boundaries and finding things in common to do together, or doing things just because you want to spend time with them. Obviously. I am constantly tormented by this balance. When to be a recluse, when to grasp at activities, when to say, hey let's do it because I know it's important to you... being okay with saying no, but not alienating, sometimes the perfectionist side of me says, You're going to stay home and watch tv and not worry about any of it... and then the other says, You're gonna do it all and right now. But when, and how to fit it all in I don't know. But at least this day I can say was a success- everyone working together, being in the moment and enjoying life race by one minute after the next. Exhausting.