Monday, June 30, 2008

Where Have I...


In a funk
In a to do list that never got started
In a pool
In a church
In a gym
In a book by the sea
In a train
In a restaurant
In a malaise clouded moment
In a garden in the sun
In a diet coke and sunflowerseeds
In a workplace
In a creditcard
In a place that does not want to express
In a vivid blue sky-sunflowered afternoon

dear m,

Please return to the blog anon. Blogdom misses you. Penelope misses you!

We require the following assignments to be completed by week's end:
Wierd Facts Wednesday (2, one for last week, one for this week)
Post entitled: About my Weekend
Post entitled: Where I'm Going, Where I've Been
Post entitled: Today I...
For good measure: Not 2, but 4 pages of your novel (2 for last time, one for this time), emailed to Penelope
And then: raise that chin up!
Perhaps a smile or two? (Wan smiles will not be accepted for credit.)
Lastly: locate signature mendacious effervescence and sparkliness!

We feel these assignments will do all of us good: you, me, Blogdom. It's a morale-booster for sure.

Good luck in your mission. I am available for assistance.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

*star* talk

It seems like the use of *asterisks* in writing is all of a sudden popular. I don't know where it comes from or how exactly it caught so that now *everyone* is doing it, but I confess I kind of love it. Is it the written version of the *air quote,* like when you put up your hands and quote a *catch phrase* and/or convey a sense of *irony?* Maybe it is like saying *ahem* on the page. There is an air of *sarcasm* in there, but not in a mean way, it seems more to connote *wit* or, if one is referring to oneself, an added air of *self-deprecation.*

I enjoy new trends in written communication.

And because I am an even bigger nerd, I admit that a small point of style issue with the *asterisks* is keeping me up at night. Do they function like quotation marks in America, or like the colon and semi-colon. Meaning, when using asterisks in conjunction with other punctuation, does that other punctuation fall inside or outside of the asterisks? Because asterisks function so similar to quotation marks, just with a slightly different connotation, I have decided to treat them similarly. Periods, question marks, and exclamation points will fall inside the last asterisk at the end of a sentence, while colons and semi-colons will be placed outside the last asterisk, like so:

1. Today, penelope blogged about punctuation trends, which are clearly *monumental.*
2. Tomorrow at Target, I wish to purchase the following *essentials*: cookies, Strawberry Shortcake band-aids, and perhaps another t-shirt.

Obviously, the rule would be just the opposite in Britain. I may be entirely incorrect, but because the *asterisk* trend is so new and maybe even just a passing phase, we could be waiting a while or even forever on an official grammatical ruling. So, you heard it here first: asterisks=quotation marks when it comes to points of style. I know you're all grateful for my *humanitarian efforts.*

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

what penelope does on her time off

So last month, I helped out my friend J, who works for OurFay-HAY in a rural county of our state, and I helped to judge an annual presentation competition. Whether I'm actually qualified to do such a thing is moot; the bottom line is that J needed help, and I can always use an excuse to get out of the house, away from the children, and so I agreed right away. A win-win. Besides, it might be kind of neat to say I was on a PANEL, in the manner of Simon, Randy, and Paula, who btw y'all, m had NO IDEA who I was talking about when I mentioned S, R, and P. We must harass her in the comments section.

Anyway, as far as I knew I wouldn't actually have to talk, just you know, score the presenters according to the standard criteria, and write down a few comments. Kind of like reviewing a piece for a fellow writer, right? The goal of effective communication is basically the same. So that day I actually only ended up scoring maybe 3 or 4 presenters? I remembered a landscaping presentation, jewelry making, and juggling. There are different categories and age groups for these presentations, but as far as ranking, it does get a little tricky with the apples vs. oranges conundrum. But we worked it out.

And I mean, honestly, it was fun! I did end up having to talk at the end as part of the group critique, where the judges and other facilitators offered general comments of encouragement and ways to improve. And the people ahead of me totally stole my ideas, so I ended up just reiterating what they said and feeling slightly like a jackhole--totally ironic in a public speaking competition, I realize. But anyway, it was fine.

So then, J asked me if I'd like to judge another competition, this one the district competition, or next level up before states. Some of the same kids would be moving on, but I wouldn't actually be judging them, I would be a judge for the Health&Fitness presentations. Again, qualified? Debatable. But I do know something about healthy eating and exercise, even if I don't always partake. And if we want to get technical, I have taken nutrition classes. Or one class. Years ago. But I digress. I agreed again, because weeee! Another excuse to get away from the children--er, take some time off from my job--and spend time with my east coast BFF that I don't get to see nearly enough.

Now, this presentation experience was quite a bit more involved: J works west from me, more out where my parents live, but then the competition was east, but yet not at all on the way for either one of us. So I ended up leaving the children with my parents overnight, and staying with J. We woke up at 5:30 AM, left the house before 6 AM, all to get to her workplace, which is about 45 minutes west, picking up one of the presenting kids on the way. I know. I'm lost right along with you. So then we all meet at around 7 AM, where the rest of the kids and J's assistant arrive, so that J can drive us all (4 kids, 3 adults total) in a 15-passenger van to the competition. We had Mapquest directions that were slightly off, and a GPS system that told a completely different story, so frankly it was a little hairy getting there. We were totally late, but it was fine.

I feel like the Health&Fitness room was actually waiting my arrival so they could begin? So that was slightly awkward. But I right away sat down and judged presentations (again, all age groups) on teeth brushing, sports playing, eating right, and exercise in general. And this time was prepared to be more vocal, wrote some notes down throughout so I'd have my thoughts together, and then, unlike most of the kids presenting, delivered my own thoughts without the crutch of my notecards. Which, again ironically, were the majority of all the judges' comments: notecards should not=crutch.

And the other two judges, I should mention as an aside--one is J's coworker who orginally proposed that I ride with her in the morning to this far-out county, this lady whom I never met? Freaked me out. And then I found out later that her original-original idea was for me to stay at her house the night before, since we all had to leave so early. Omg! Thankfully J talked her down from this insanity. The other judge was a colleague of hers that now lives in Ohio, and they were perfectly lovely and pleasant, but I did feel some pressure to go to lunch with them? A little weirdness there. I opted out in the most charming way I know how. And then later, while J and I were trolling around for some sort of ATM to buy lunch with, they came rolling up to us in their car, and paid me a few bucks for my efforts. Which was entirely unnecessary, but seriously appreciated, and kind of funny in a cosmic way, that an ATM of sorts would just roll up, just as one was requesting one from the Universe?

And so the kids were enjoyable as well, clearly all in the throes of those weird and uncomfortable teenage years and it was interesting to see the differences between them all. One was happy-go-lucky but rolled his eyes a lot at his mom, but not in a mean way really. One was pretty angry all day, but is generally self-deprecating... she needs some time I think, to kind of come out of that dark place. The two brothers were quiet and well-mannered and yet totally goofy and random when we took pictures. Another girl was composed and lovely and yet you know she was mainly more well-behaved because of our company, which I found amusing.

I called J.Lo to try and get us some more clear-cut directions back, but in the end we sort of concocted something else using the GPS again and J's own knowledge of how to get back to her office from another county office. Anyway, if you're still here, I felt this need to share my randomness and show you What Penelope Does in her Free Time. Things that in the past I may not have been drawn to at all, but now hold a certain appeal, since they get me out of the house and yet keep me off the street. Random, and yet entirely necessary.

Monday, June 23, 2008

While The Rents Away #2

Well hey there. So the paint job went succesfully. The color is much better and the controversial chocolate trim was the right move. We concede that decoratively they need to get rid of the carpet, replace the bed with a woodframed one, and redesign their closet-- there's no reason to have your clothes live on a bench and an empty chest also. And I would prefer that the dresser and small bookcase have stronger and more cohesive design elements but I had other things to do like demolish the bathroom and paint the garage and I didn't want to be THAT invasive- otherwise believe me all of those changes would've occured. But well, we do what we can and hope the parents come around. But at least you don't notice the walls anymore...

summer schrute love

Luckily, there's another fan out there ambitious enough to scan the photos from Rainn Wilson's recent "Hero Worship" shoot with EW magazine. Saved me the trouble of having to upload them myself. I give you Reason #706 for Why I LOVE Rainn Wilson.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

bathroom demo! oooh ya!

after this pic i did put a long sleeved shirt on and a full plexi face shield. and over the course of 3-4 hours sweat began pouring down my face because it was literally over 100 degrees in the room. damn plaster... i kept getting it in my eyes and sucking it into my nose. filled my garbage bin and another trashcan and then i stopped short of the shower and left that disaster for another day... discovering the toxic/non-toxic mold of black death was a bit of a downer... remember that pipe leak that we discovered in december? yah... good times! in that i suddenly feared for my life and retraced how i siphoned the air out of the bathroom as some of the dust had coated various things around the house... but whatever. i sort of like the bathroom more now. it's not trying to be a real bathroom with 1/2 finished walls. it's fully dismantled. and i think it likes it this way. it certainly does do something for the verticality of the place. and once mom gets rid of the mold it'll be a pretty livable place until we get around to fixing it- circa 2040.

i covered the blackdeath with garbage bags and duct tape-- bcs mold like stinks and is all spory and gross and what not...

Saturday, June 21, 2008


so my niece... lil. better pictures than before but all the other ones are less than flattering. i don't know why this is... or why i'm telling you. but anyway she has a very serious face but obviously quite the charmer when she wants to be. um, thee end. ?. i guess... till next time? i don't know. she's a kid. were mostly related? eh.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

While the Rents are Away....

I realize that in my rush to dismantle the room I robbed you of the full display of hideousness. The tired Ansel Adams frame- grey and unmatching. The miscellaneous pink hideous things from the 80's I can't describe. Yes, this is my parents room. . . And mom, 10 years ago used to hate it when I showed it to people... so she is really not going to like it now. I've had a few arguments with friends who signaled concern at such a bold move as repainting my parents room without their permission. They dare to side with my parents on this one- to which though I am slightly disgruntled at I am more amused and applaud them for trying to stave me off my risky course, futile though it may be. In my defense I did warn my mom to which she feebly replied, "no, don't..." which I took to mean "yes, but don't do anything crazy." Also since I've basically lived with them for a long time, and have had an equally long record of modifying my environment this should come as no surprise. I am a controlling person. Every room should be beautiful, even if it's not mine. And though it may take an even more equally long time, every room will reflect the aesthetic beauty I deserve to frequent my gaze upon... The skill my parents have developed is called "ignore" which I think robs them of their combined powers of both creativity and execution. This room has scarcely been touched in over 25+ years and I don't think this is any way to live (again controlling, this should come as no surprise)... they created this beautiful redwood planked wall to ceiling installation piece that has a timeless arch and flow to it-- this is my parents at their best. They envision something and they execute its design (like our walkway) and for whatever reason they have let the house become a reflection of what was and not what IS or what it could be... in the face of waiting for what is to come- the "new house" which in the face of 30 years was a long time coming... but I don't think you should wait (my issue) to live your life in an abundant way because you dream of being elsewhere... and just because in a year you see yourself in a new place doesn't mean that things should lay to waste as time stretches on... not necessarily their particular issue but this is a perfect illustration... don't let who you are, your beauty and your talents and your mastery lie in waste as time passes by. You deserve to live and exist in a place of beauty equal to your talents- don't neglect them. Saturday I will show you the new and improved room- same stuff (i didn't want to completely freak them out)... with maybe more opinionated suggestions of how to optimize storage and possible wall hangings.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

one everlasting gobstopper, 7 years, $47 later

And my bridge is fixed. I heart my dentist. I did not heart, however, the searing sound of metal being sawed from my mouth. Horror! But, the thing is fixed, which means that there is no longer a bent metal arm of a bridge sticking out from my tooth, nothing at all left to scratch up my tongue. The mind reels. I might eventually get a cavity from the damage that bent bridge caused, but that remains to be seen. A cavity! Tragically. My first ever.

In the meantime, I leave you with this: if you can't eat the Everlasting Gobstopper like you're supposed to, letting all the flavors melt away slowly instead of crunching down on the thing because you need to see the splended layers, DON'T EAT THE EVERLASTING GOBSTOPPER TO BEGIN WITH. It's pain and heartache for everyone.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


current conditions:
  • parents officially out of town,
  • projects list solid: paint bedroom, demolish bathroom walls, possibly paint side of garage chocolate brown. time- 3nights 2fulldays to do it...
  • time looked at tour package:3
  • debate emailing "matt" who is another co-traveler from england to say HI and talk about rafting the pacuare river in costa rica.
  • wonder when someone else is going to sign up for the trip and find us on the forum
  • officially vaccinated against typhoid
  • things to plant: 5
  • person ignored: 1
  • waiting for emails: 2
  • blogs fwd to me and that you should partake in:

subversion, and other things i've learned from m

How, over the years, she (the unwavering Taurus) has rubbed off on me (the gentle Pisces fish).

1. It's okay to a) have an opinion and b) refuse to waver from it.
2. It's okay to rant about one's world and one's feelings and not apologize for it.
3. It's not cool to be uncommunicative in a friendship. Because a friendship, like any relationship, is like a garden, and if you're uncommunicative, you may as well just let prickly weeds overrun said garden and strangle the life from it.
4. It is always okay, and in fact recommended, to be a little subversive in any given situation. Particularly those involving some sort of "establishment."
5. It is okay to have some shit, we all have shit. So long as you own said shit. Good friendships are about owning your own shit and accepting the other for his or her shit. And in turn, that person sees you and accepts you, in spite or because of your shit.

Monday, June 16, 2008


alright- one of the primary things i learned was that: have spare shirts. and don't get cocky. lucky for us though the art of iron-on has advanced to a click and print art. through impatience i stumbled on a look I like even better which is closer to what one gets with fancy-schmancy screenprinting.

the debacle below was the last one, normally that's the one that's the pinnacle of perfection but not so. there was a slight smudge i got lazy about, it hit the edge of the iron-on and burned in... then i thought "cover it up"... that was a rush job... and it made it even worse... then i thought well... go for broke. this HIGH-gloss job is achieved by leaving the print on until fully COLD after ironing it. Which allows all the scientific whatevers to meld together. The white discoloration and is "achieved" by leaving on the iron too long at too high a heat. NExt we have,

Penelope- Pentini
1 oz. Yankee Snark
1 oz. Word SlingerDash of domesticity
Served up in a chilled glass with sugar on the rim.

I created this shirt in honor of her "other blog" who she "cheats on me" with. you can see the contrast btw the gloss and no gloss difference... the low gloss, screenprint feel is achieved by removing the backing quickly in about 5seconds. it removes the wicky gloss and causes the images to gently fade but remain pretty solid. the fluider the removal motion the better... i cannot say i've absolutely achieved this... but still. i've washed and dried my shirts and they look like your most awesome shirts you've had for years and won't part with.

below: if "we were" a secret society this would be our shirt... in truth i'm glad of the mistake i made with the pink one because it ushered in this tourquise loveliness at the very last minute. i fucked up my very own shirt at the last minute too- that blue beauty behind it... went quickly out of control. i can only hope um, it ripens with age. you must, (i neglected to) scale the image to the size of the shirt... but anyway the penelope shirt sports our very own latin phrase: ex abundantia enim cordis os loquitur :'For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.' and a secret penelope quiz... it cannot get more rad and full of awesomeness than that.

this of course is the ultimate pro MENDACIOUS t-shirt... it needs no explanation.
now, you say, well that's awesome... then i say, you can do it to. i used microsoft publisher and some pre-built templates but im sure other images will do and i did get fancy with the martini glass... but otherwise... easy-peasy. you can find the iron-on transfer papers at crazy places like office depot and staples- plus they even specialzie further by having dark shirt/light shirt transfers... ooo, fancy.
ps. this is not me being altrustic, this is me being devoted to one of my absolutest awesomest friends on the earth... who after knowing her for 8years gets radder and radder with age. So do not send me your t-shirt requests... unless you pay me like a lot of money. xoxo.

fashion show, by pen

The shirts, of course, are by M who clearly LOVES ME! She's promised a post to follow with iron-on tricks and tips, as well as (I imagine) a detailed discussion of her process. How her brilliant mind arrived at each design. Diagrams will be included. Right?

Excuse my out-of-control hair (needs to be cut) and occasional slumping (hopeless).

Saturday, June 14, 2008

things that have recently made my life easier, by pen

1. Organizing my Inbox. This is totally a big *duh* on my part, because I have several folders in addition to the Inbox, I am an Organizational Addict, and yet never thought to create separate folders for frequent email contacts. Instead I just let the Inbox fill up, and when it got out of control, with say, several hundred emails, I went through and deleted a bunch. A bunch of dam work, and I ended up deleting and/or losing stuff I might have wanted in the whole ghastly process. The other day I made all these new folders, and now I've got just a few emails in my Inbox? Best organizational decision, possibly of all time.

2. A lap desk for my laptop. J.Lo decided I needed one, because I was using a pillow to rest my laptop on out in the living room, and setting one's laptop on a pillow is apparently akin to holding a pillow over its face. You will slowly smother it to death. My laptop's been acting wonky, anyway, slow and feeble and something's wrong with the jack, but the lap desk totally helps, keeps the laptop breathing and my skin from melting off.

3. Scheduled posting, by Blogger. This Blogger feature where you future-date your post and it will automatically publish was first available in Draft Blogger, but is now available in regular Blogger. You just change the time and/or date of your post, and click "Publish" as usual. Ingenious.

4. Spray sunblock. It's a watery (but very effective) version of sunblock that is easy to spread over one's children. I had purchased some last summer, but it came in a pump bottle that takes a fair amount of pressure to operate, which is difficult with lotion-y fingers. The new pump sprays efficiently and effectively with minimal pressure, and the lotion itself goes on in a jiffy. Three of us can be out the door in less than 10 minutes. *Just don't use it on your face, it does tend to run into your eyes.

5. Wonder paper and markers, by Crayola. They're markers and paper that only work with each other, so the tiny people under your employ can use markers to their hearts' content without getting it all over your furniture and walls. The only problem is when you run out of paper and the poor kid is using Wonder markers on plain paper, not understanding why her markers aren't able to draw pretty pictures anymore. Sure, it's a tad pricey, but that's what grandmas are for.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

CLARISSA, by M (oh and S.Richardson)

Clarissa was a pretty fabulous epic and Aimee with a fabulous titled blog "C'est Vrai"... asked my thoughts. In no particular order:

  1. I loved it!
  2. I think that, like Proust, one has to be up for a little literary archeology to fully enjoy it.
  3. Skim factor: only 5%... my friend Cathy skimmed over 1/2 which is a disservice to the pure beauty of literate language- beautifully wonderfully written-WORDS, though at a certain point, you're like holycrap Clarissa- we GET it. Move On. Which is why I enjoyed the novel so much more when Lovelace and Belford take over. I think Miss Howe got the shaft. (so not cool)
  4. Lovelace is one of the greatest villains in literary history. The ways in which his character is fashioned I feel has influenced the too hot to touch seductive male- a classic vampire in fact in the way he almost hesitates to consume what he loves and thrills in the chase even more. And of course, a modern day Psychopath- to the T. It's all right there down to his torturing of animals as a child and his inability to form emotional attachments. And even better that Richardson choses never to reform him!
  5. Clarissa herself is a difficult character. I think Richardson's greatest flaw here is that he kept her "infallible"... in that like Oliver Twist she became a pure moral force in order to juxtapose a man who constantly choses evil. After a certain point it's hard to excuse Clarissa her actions and her inability to break from her family despite everything- down to her unwillingness to accept help (christian charity) or to be a burden on anybody. Sure have her struggle but come on! Richardson, as discussed in the back of my book- erred to closely to that Horation "delight and instruct" model I think in sacrificing story and character to "making a POINT"... and does so to the determent of his female characters. Since they didn't gain property rights nearly 100yrs after the novel-- i think we appropriately have issues with him having Miss Howe marry even though the way he himself formed the character in such a way that she is absolutely contrary to it and that Clarissa constantly refuses her help and would only use it as a "last resort".
  6. Also her view of God is very enlightenment oriented? Maybe... I haven't researched but my gut reaction to her faith is slightly on the pious side- and her instance that anyone can be redeemed is true but only if they claim Jesus esp. if you're going to quote the Bible all the time and attend church- her inability to reform Lovelace for instance is true because he doesn't have the true character of a Christian ie. belief in jesus- and it seems a lot of people in the novel put that on as a cultural ideal and not an actual internal value, which was probably culturally true of the time as it is now- anyway i'm just musing about this one. Though perhaps its a more post/post modern thought that Christianity is more about the relationship to Jesus than it is to a set of rules... which is, I think, a common misinterpretation. But I digress.
  7. I liked how we got an update on all the characters after the fact.
  8. Wished Belford had ended up with Clarissa in the end. Though that seemed more realistic than her wasting away- or him miraculously ending up with Miss Montague. Though I understand you know- there has to be "consequences"...
  9. Made me love love love letter writing all ALL all over again!
  10. Loved Morton taking his revenge as only a man of honor can. I imagine he was totally hot.
  11. Did I mention I loved "Belford"... and that Clarissa was so right to say, well if you thought what he was doing wrong why didn't you save me? OUCH!
  12. Clarissa herself I think fell into fits way too much. Though I recognize she was only 18/19- if she'd only eat and stop wearing corsets I think she would've faired much better. And that girl was beezzzy for a teenager. Manger of the house and with a poor fund, then again they didn't have cable so maybe.
  13. OMG. the Prostitutes! WOH! And how in England at the time it was endemic- and that Lovelace deliberately chose virgins so that he wouldn't get Syphilis. Scandalous... then the whole death scene of that one lady and basically that Lovelace consigned at least 2 of them to prostitution.
  14. Ok. And the rape! WOH! Tess of the D'ubervilles has nothing on Richardson in terms of scandal- though both of the heroines suffer for not only being raped, they don't get to prosecute and are ripped to shreds by the times they live in. That bummed me out man.
  15. Alright I'll stop! But it was a long novel- there's so much more! It's the one downfall of reading these epics outside a seminar class. . . so I will say au revoir for now-- (did i also mention that i loved trying to figure out the french! I totally failed at latin.) Just making me think about the book made me love it all over again. Sigh.
Aimee: points, counter points??

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Weird Facts Wednesday, by M

It's been a slow week of miscellaneous fact finding information but recent searches included:

Tiger claws can expand to about 4". Their canines can be the length of your middle finger. And they have the bite force of 1000psi.

I am tired of researching about bulls... I mean all I can find about their horns is that they're sharp. How sharp? I have no idea... probably as a knife... but still there's no conclusive information out there.

And I'm a little itchy about having the typhoid virus floating around in my system. Go-super power-immunity-go!

Your Guide to Summer Fare, by M

These are the times I test Pen's love of me. It's a wonder we unite on anything with our Tv tastes... even worse now that we have no common interest shows to unite us. Ah, trying times. I don't know if I can narrow it down to June specifically but currently my top picks for all things media,

  • Law&Order: Criminal Intent. It doesn't get better than the slightly manic Robert Goren and as a plus for you StC fans, Chris Noth. The ladies have sass and are awesome to watch as well.
  • Kathy Griffin: My life on the D-List. She's got a biting sarcasm and wit and I dig her candid nature.
  • RENO:911: Everything I watch has to be hyphenated. And besides its crasser moments, there's some eccentric awesome comedy to be had.
  • Monk: He'll be back in July. I'm loyal even though ever since Sharona left it's become a bit characterless and with the death of the actor that played his shrink I'm sorta bummed. I'm on the fence with this one.

Bonus watch:

  • PSYCH. It's camp but completely charming.
  • Dirty Jobs, Deadliest Catch: Wry humor, weirdness and men. Why not.
  • UNTAMED&UNCUT: Hello, I work on it. Watch it people.
  • Southpark Reruns.


  1. Cadfael Mysteries: Byzantine monk solves mysteries. Saweet!
  2. Slings and Arrows: British Shakespeare Theatre Trope. Reliving all things theatre.
  3. Six Feet Under: Season3: I'm seasonably behind but loving it.
  4. Weeds 3: (may save this one for later. It's at the bottom of the que currently but I will probably want a little spice with my dash of death come July.
  5. Smattering of documentaries, independents, comedies, series work and period pieces.

WHAT TO READ: randomness...

  • Helen of Troy: A new retelling on all things titillating and classic.
  • The Clever Woman of the Family (brought to you by dodo press)
  • The Mill on the Floss (Eliot)
  • Green Dolphin Street

Backups for extreme boredom:

  • WB.beta test
  • Netflix Watch Now
  • Going outside emergency trip list: sailing, seaweed collecting, tanning, working in the garden.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

your guide to JUNE summer fare, by pen

What to Watch:
1. Gossip Girl reruns on the CW, clearly.*
2. Season 3 of WEEDS, Netflixed. Or if you are luckier than me and have Showtime, Season 4.
3. Top Chef, although that's almost over. P.S. LISA CANNOT WIN. Do I have your agreement?
4. Legally Blonde the Musical: The Search for Elle Woods. Yes, mendacious, really. It's kind of... not that bad. It sort of fills the ANTM void, in a way.

Possibly, if there's time in between eating fresh salsa and popsicles and watermelon:
1. Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. It's better than Kathie Lee Gifford: I'm on the Today Show Now But My Skin Is Still Orange.
2. Swingers... I don't know. If you must. If you're braver than me. Let me know how it is, though.
3. My Boys? Again, let me know. I'm too disillusioned to try.
4. The Mole. I don't really know what to say about The Mole. Maybe? Nah, forget it.
5. Hopkins: But let's be honest, it's not going to fill the Grey's Anatomy void, so why bother.
6. Fear Itself. I can't bash this one, because it actually looks pretty good--if you like horror. Which I do not. But if you do, by all means watch it, and I promise not to mock you.
7. The Bachelorette? Anyone? Anyone?

When to Read a Book Instead:
1. America's Got Talent. Run away, run away from the television.
2. Nashville Star. Sorry, I just can't.
3. Celebrity Circus, hosted by Joey Fatone. Make it stop. Please. Make it stop.
4. I Survived a Japanese Game Show. Can it get any worse?
5. Wipeout, which is described as a "cross between MXC, Fear Factor, and America's Funniest Home Videos." Yes, yes it can get worse. But surely that's as bad as it gets?
6. The Scoop, or "The Singing Bee meets The Office," hosted by Joey Fatone. And for this, I have no words.
*A note about GG: they are not acutally showing reruns in order. It's quite vexing. Should I save the episodes and watch them in order later, in a GG marathon, or just watch them as is with the disappointment of spoilers. I know not.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Poster Child for Travelers

That's what the nurse said!
And I'm glad. Cuz hello it makes me cooler.

I feel slightly ashamed of my neurotic listmaking nature that if feels good to be validated in this instance. That as early as last June I knew what vaccinations I needed and just for curiosities sake, ahem, made regular visits to the cdc website and read all about the importance of childhood vaccinations and read about why there's a yellow fever vac shortage. Which just led me down a rabbit trail of possible apocalyptic scenarios and the importance of drug manufacturing companies and the relevance of movies like outbreak, 12 monkeys, 28days later, resident evil and sahara. And further reflected on how I could be so unwittingly naive as to get absolutely no shots when I went to Turkey in '04. Though sometimes I do enjoy a good gamble. Anyway it pays to be prepared! And it's one thing off my 'to do' list.

Anyway to the day I'm 6months out from my trip, which is apparently the absolutely latest I can go if I want the full round of shots. SO on the deadline, I made my merry way to the cheapest vaccination center in southern California...(previously extensively researched since they give it to you for cost) even computing the $25 I spent in gas getting down there was still not a significant loss in terms of savings. However I had not calculated that for full HepA/B immunity 3 visits would be required- which still a bargain cuz it's like "for life" sort of... but that's another $60 in office fees and another $50 in gas... sigh. Still. So far that's $97 for the (hepA/B, Typhoid (lasts 5 years), Office Visit) and $25 in gas = $122. Still to come $37 at a pasadena facility for Malaria pills since freakishly all my visits must be timed exactly and do not coincide on a Thursday when the doctor is in. . . $12 gas... bringing my total to = $280 some dollars for a couple preventative measures, lifelong immunity and gas... lame. I really had only calculated for expending $100. But I guess I'll get the malaria pills... I should right? Alright whatever.

So in order to determine risks, preventative measures-- quite a bit goes into the research of what you can get where, and why. Apparently spreading diseases to different countries is a fairly serious matter. Whatevs. And all of this builds to an unrealistic and paranoid measure of precaution and secret dread that you're going to come down with malaria after you get back and your travel insurance lapses. But then you read about things like love in the time of "cholera" or typhoid mary and old yeller' and you think hmm, maybe there's a point to all of this... and a thanking your lucky stars we have vaccinations for some very debilitating things.
Maybe... eh, I don't know. I'm hungry.

All of this to say I was a bit nervous carrying my oraldose of Typhoid pills because they contained the "active virus" and that I only had an hour or two before the pills deactivated and were rendered useless because they needed to be refrigerated... uh huh. Ok. Thank god there wasn't that much traffic!

Off to eat. Blog later. Pills tonight. If you're bored, read on...

So if you're still with me, read on about what my possible "can gets" are:

These shots are recommended:

Hepatitis A – is contracted via contaminated food and water. This vaccine is NOT needed it you have had the disease or have received two doses of the vaccine AT LEAST six months apart. (Two doses are good for 10-20 years). If you have only received ONE dose it is good for 1 year.

Hepatitis B – is recommended if you might be exposed to blood or body fluids; for example, health care workers, have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than six months in the region, or be exposed through medical treatment.

MMR (Mumps, Measles, Rubella) – To be considered adequately immune for travel to the above countries you should have had at least two (2) doses of MMR in your life. MMR is NOT needed if you have had the diseases or have had a blood test (titer) that proves immunity. If you were born before 1957 you probably had the diseases as the vaccine was not out yet. However, if you did not contract the disease you would still need to consider getting MMR.

Malaria – There is risk of Malaria in a majority of the above countries. If you are unaware of your risk, you can check the CDC web site ( or come in and check with our staff. We have the CDC Health Information for International Travel Manual where the risk of malaria can be looked up by individual countries. This is also on the web site.

Rabies – Is recommended if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation. Travelers with extensive unprotected outdoor, evening, and nighttime exposure in rural areas, such as might be experienced while bicycling, camping, or engaging in certain occupational activities might be at high risk even if the trip is brief.

Td – (Tetanus/Diphtheria) Routine booster doses of Td is recommended every 10 years.

Typhoid – is contracted via contaminated food and water. This vaccine is recommended if you will be spending time in small cities, villages and rural areas (particularly developing regions) for an extended period of time. The longer you spend time in regions with questionable sanitation of food and water the higher your risk is for contracting typhoid fever. We have the injection or oral typhoid vaccine. Both are only about 60% effective so food and water precautions must still be practiced. The injection is good for two years and the oral vaccine is good for five years.

Yellow Fever – A certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination may be required for entry into certain countries if you are coming from South America or sub-Saharan Africa. Please refer to the CDC web site ( if you are traveling to one or more countries that may require the Yellow Fever vaccine.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

To the Day, by M

A year to the day I promised to make Penelope some shirts I finally did. Wow. It's a testament to the staying power of a list sometimes or my mind not to forget it. And to Penelope's patience level. I will have to post the pictures later however because I don't want to spoil the surprise. I only hope they fit, and she likes the colors... and then we can about how awesome they are... and some tricks and tips I leared about the world of iron-on prints.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Liquor think Quicker, by M

Yesterday I got totally sauced at the launch party-2 drinks (on the office dime!) and enough non-drinkers handing out tickets because they're silly and not charging. Sweet. I headed to the bar down the street called "the bridge" around 4 and I was one of the first ones there. Waited patiently to start drinking until enough people got there. I started bold with a scotch, straight up and had an instant urge to hug everyone in the bar, especially the fungus loving frat boy, and the golf guy bob, and chat up the 2 business types that happened to be in the bar right before our party filled the place up. They sat there unassuming with beer.

I followed the Scotch with a Capecod (vodka/cranberry) then as the party went on I ate some Mexican food and was going to call the drinking quits but after I made sure the business guys had plates of food for themselves they made it their personal mission to buy me a drink, even though I protested that I had another drink ticket tucked in my bra and it wasn't necessary. Obviously I couldn't say no. As refusing makes me seem anti-fun. Clearly I am pro-fun. So I got some more Scotch (on the rocks) and saluted the boys and said thank you.

Then I went to the couch which was an apparent mistake because when I went to get up my balance and coordination was completely gone. I got a couple high-5's from another set of boys as I tottered back down. Made it up eventually for water and if there had been a dance floor i might have been oozing cozily all over it. Some more time passed and another guy who was having fun at 6+ beers in, wanted me to keep drinking so that I would cause a scene, strip and dance on the table tops... I thought this is entirely incongruous to my "type" but I appreciated the gesture and pondered that saying it to me was less like sexual harassment then if he'd said it to someone else. Maybe not?

By the time most of the people were gone I was still feeling... liquidy, talked a little too much to this girl about how little I had to do sometimes... and when she asked if I wanted a ride to my car I declined because I needed to see how unsober i really was. I managed to walk unaided up the block and dunked my hands in an alluring fountain and decided that my inability to refuse the fountain was a clear indication, that and I hiccuped scotch.

Thankfully someone left our office opened and I camped out with a couple redvelvet cupcakes and a handful of almonds... some movie watching, unsober emailing/calling and a few episodes of news radio later and i was ready to wend my way home. Around 9. An in/out burger later and I was home and wondering where I'd been. Work I knew was going to seem a much duller place on Monday.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Miscellany, by M

This is a "I've been trapped in a camera phone and almost forgotten" picture day. The first picture is from my video shoot for french 2 where I play ed an entertainment reporter who had been attacked by rioting dwarves on my way to the station. I got to say, "j'ai cru que j'allais mourir." I got to use my ole' theatre training and I did my own makeup... the camera work was a little substandard but then we skimped on lighting , the set and location so... what would you expect really.- a 7 hour shoot and only us who thought it was funny. Yes.Here is my spring garden. I've been employed for most of it, sigh. The sunflowers are getting as high as the elephants eye and it's all lush and full and beautiful.
This has to be the best birthday sundae ever. Thanks Ms. Parker!
Ah, synchronicity! And why Lolly was just the rightest car that ever was.
An awesome girl at work clearly awesome because she made the show these cupcakes for our premiere! Red velvet... and the safari creatures got their own little brownsugar sand bed. I chose the walrus. and as Mike said, koo koo kachoo.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Oh Ok, by M

I have things to complain about like how writers group sucks ass or how irritating it is to see the boss talk about the new mercedes and box seats at the laker game when i'm thinking what i can sell on amazon or if blood donations are worth it, but right now i will answer these tagged questions.

Maybe I should
– stop eating breakfast at McDonalds. Damn those McMuffins.
I love the smell of – citrus blossoms.
People would say that I - am a listmaker.
I don’t understand why – money doesn't grow on trees.
When I wake up in the morning – i say, good morning Marley. Hello Zeppelin, aw look there's Animal. Today I also said, "Oatmeal"...
I lost my willpower to – budget.
Life is – not my burden, but clearly mine to maintain.
My past made me – who I am.
I get annoyed when I – am not understood and or neglected.
Parties are not a good time to – sleep.
Dogs are – awesome and taught me to be a more patient and gentle person.
Cats are – awesome and taught me to be attentive and watchful.
Tomorrow is – fucking friday ya'all. and the premiere party for our new AP show.
I have low tolerance for – stupidity, doomsdayers, naysayers and sentimentality.
I’m totally terrified of - being eaten by a shark, having to fend off a mountain lion or being buried alive.
I wonder why I thought my life would be – debt-free.
I always knew I would – achieve great things, and be awesome.
Never in my life have I – not believed in God.
High school was – an interesting time where I began to locate exactly who i was in the world.
When I’m nervous - I talk fast and possibly get a little ancy and dangerously klutzy.
One time at a family gathering – I felt hope, but it was quickly dashed in favor of disgust and divorce.
Take my advice – do not wait for time or money. They're assholes who are always late, too quick, not enough and though precious, highly mailable and chatty.
Making my bed - um, I usually don't. Unless throwing the covers over the sheet so the cat doesn't get fur on my pillows counts.
I'm almost always – on time, right, analytically minded, and possibly looking for a way to escape.
I’m addicted to – friends, sunflower seeds and looking at my monthly calendar.
I want someone to – find me, oh and also give me money.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Weird Facts Wednesday

Well, I was surprised to learn that lions only live on average of 8-10 years in the wild. In captivity they can live over 20. But they're not endangered perse the way that tigers are- which coincidentally are the largest cat in the kingdom.

My cat Marley is tucked on the corner of my couchchair with me waiting for the lights to get dark, arm outstretched. He has just sighed and slumped his head down.

My cat Animal going on her 15th year at least is curled up on my bed. She will not be pleased when I go to get in it. There must have been some narrow squishing kicking incidents as I am a tosser/turner... Marley has learned better and curls up on the edge of the bed so he can spring at any moment or claw me in the face (gently) when he wants me to get up.

you're it! by pen

TAG, I'm IT! courtesy of Andria. I do like games.
Maybe I should – plant those tomatoes in the garden.
I love the smell of – my babies after a bath, clean laundry, and that brown sugar and fig lotion from B&BW.
People would say that I - am too quiet. Or that I shouldn't talk as much, depending on my mood.
I don’t understand why – Aliens in America was cancelled..
When I wake up in the morning – I inwardly groan. But then feel better after some iced coffee.
I lost my willpower to – work out for the rest of 2008. And possibly 2009.
Life is – flying by in seconds, vexingly.
My past made me – stronger, hopefully a little wiser.
I get annoyed when I – drop something on my foot or walk into a wall.
Parties are not a good time to – talk politics.
Dogs are – charming, loyal pals.
Cats are – cute but make me wheeze.
Tomorrow is – Thursday, at the park. Will it be a scorcher?
I have low tolerance for – whining.
I’m totally terrified of - losing my kids or husband.
I wonder why I thought my life would be – purple? I don't know how to answer this one, either.
I always knew I would – eat chocolate at least once a day.
Never in my life have I – won a big contest.
High school was – several penelopes ago.
When I’m nervous - my stomach churns, I become mute.
One time at a family gathering – I came down with the Death Sick and possibly initiated its spread to the state of Connecticut.
Take my advice – don't take any wooden nickels.
Making my bed - is a non-negotiable part of the day.
I'm almost always – organized? except when i have children to tend to.
I’m addicted to – chocolate, iced coffee, caramel bars, and the office.
I want someone to – send me a big bag of money.
M, you are TAGGED. xo, pen

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

the dentist, by pen

Reasons Why I Loathe Going to the Dentist:
1. Because it's the dentist.
2. Because it costs money, and I don't like spending money that doesn't yield something edible, or wearable and cute, or actually useful in some other way--I mean outside of having clean "healthy" teeth. Plus, you just never know what hidden surprises they're going to have for you as far as coming back and having more work done.
3. The noises. The high-pitched whirrings and scrapings that make my fingernails itch.
4. The picking. It HURTS, man. Even if your hygenist is careful.
5. The latex gloves. Half a day later and I can still smell it in the air, and on my hands, and taste it on my lips. Makes me queasy.

Reasons Why I Don't Mind Going to My Dentist as Much:
1. The waiting room. You'd think that this would be on the former list, but as a girl who rarely gets any time all to herself anymore, the waiting room is kind of nice. Today, I finished my book.
2. My dentist has decent reading materials on the waiting room coffee table, including the ever intriguing 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
3. The hygenists are super-nice and efficient, keeping your hellish session as brief as possible. And today mine recommended a mouthwash with flouride and bacteria fighters. And then she told me where to buy it on sale.
4. My dentist is um, easy on the eyes. Let's just say. And he is first dentist in seven years to suggest clipping off the bent arm of the bridge I busted with an Easter Egg Everlasting Gobstopper one day back when I lived in Chi-town. It's not really bothersome, but then again it kind of is. I always thought I'd just have to wait it out until the thing was non-functional, like broke off completely, and then I'd have to have some horrible, expensive surgery to get a permanent tooth implant. I shudder. But no, for now, the nice dentist is going to clip off the arm, adhere what's left of the arm to my tooth, and (hopefully) stave off the aforementioned Implant Horror for several years to come. All for just $47.
5. The tooth-shaped goodie bag filled with a toothbrush, floss threaders, travel-sized floss, and travel-sized toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Really, it's the very least they can give you after inflicting pain on both your mouth and your wallet. And what can I say, I like goodie bags. And overall I still really hate the dentist. I am, actually, a child.

Monday, June 2, 2008

SouthernEdge of the Sequoias, by M Arrreeebba

Wow, I never thought I'd get this footage loaded. Er, pictures. The woods were an idyllic time, utterly devoid of conflict. All challenges such as building fires, rigging tents, and cooking meals were done with an unparalleled ease. One skirmish did arise in regards to mom contaminating the drinking water with gross tasting tap water which nearly crippled the last hour of the trip until we got to Bakersfield and I could get a diet pepsi. Also she didn't believe me when I said that there was bear "skat" surrounding our campsite, but she contends it was healthy skepticism to her daughter who knows everything and is always right. Of course the park ranger set her straight.
I can best describe us as a mostly well oiled machine. We kept our cores warm, despite various degrees of inclement weather, read a book, had movie night each night, and "studied" in the car when we wanted to warm up a little bit and didn't want to waste firewood. I do recall at one point falling unconscious in the car but then mom woke me up and it was time for dinner. So everything was okay. We did make the unfortunate mistake of sleeping slope down in the tent the first night, and i kept waking up thinking, oh god i'm in a tomb! but then reasoned at myself to shut up and go back to sleep. The next night we switched and I was no longer the panic stricken one. Which is all that really matters.
There was occasional trepidation that we might get eaten by bears or at the very least surprise one on our way to the bathroom and it was so dark that we couldn't see the hands (anyone's really) in front of our face. Though I will not regret my anti-light-pollution stance. Due to the bears however we didn't stray across the stream to the boggy meadow to the otherside of the slope...
Below: We were camping just to the left of Johnsondale, which is sort of to the right of the orangish stain in the middle of the map there. I mightve reconsidered my daily activities had I known we were so close to a casino. Nevertheless,
Penelope thinks that I need conflict, but I assert that, such a mell0w trip full of pleasantness needs action. I was very much the girl in the country, who takes daily constitutionals and nothing whatever unpleasant ever happens to her- and yet, ultimately longs for country dances, and perhaps a good game of croquet or archery... wouldn't you? I mean I relax at work all the time. I crave adventure... but we are pretty cute and awesome regardless. Enjoy.