Sunday, December 28, 2008

take me home

Today, December 28, it was 76 degrees and sunny. We’re at the beach down South, what do I expect? It’s just not my cup of tea, let’s say, for it to be so warm in the so-called winter. I like seasonal weather. And also, I like a little landscape. Tomorrow, for the third time in the space of 3 weeks, I’ll be driving up to RDU, which has got to be one of the most boring 2 1/2-hour rides on earth. I’m not complaining about the purpose of each trip, but blah, it’s just sodamnboring, that drive. To me, it would go so much faster if there was something to look at, other than flatness and what I swear are the same groups of pine trees  flanking the road, repeated in cluster units for two-thirds of the way there.

This weather just reinforced an idea that had popped into my head about a week ago: We will move to the mountains before our golden years. I swear we will. I didn’t grow up in the mountains, but there were a lot of hills up there in upstate NY, and very seasonal weather, so I always feel at home in those NC mountains. And after 12 years here, I’m thinking that NC is turning out to be a pretty cool state. I feel like it’s the best of both worlds, the mountains, and we will get there. It’s all about timing, and determination, and the burning desire to wear scarves and mittens and hats in the month of December. To live in a little landscape.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

phone-phobe: reason #742

This morning while out running errands, I received three calls. Thankfully, I had left my phone at the house; although, I suppose if I had been able to pick up to begin with, I would have not have received these messages. (More or less. I’m trying to block them out):

Call #1: No one says anything. In the background, sounds like child crying?

Call #2: Daniel. [Lady sounds surly.] You have got to get back to me and let me know where you are. I have been calling all morning. Call me back.

Call #3: Daniel. If you don’t call be back in FIFTEEN MINUTES I am going to put him in the crib. Close the door, and walk down.the.road. I have no idea where you are, and why you are not calling me. You in the hospital or something? Let me know. *Click.*


Baby? Put in crib and just leave the house? What? What is happening here?


I hope Daniel, whoever he is, called her back.

Friday, December 19, 2008

if i had a nickel

I’d have to put it in a jar somewhere and not touch it. Apparently, I am allergic to nickel. They mix it in with a lot of the jewelry here in the U.S. (cheap filler, even in more expensive stuff), and repeated exposure can cause a contact allergy. I blame all those damn earrings I used to have in my head: eight! A few years ago, my ears flipped out, and I couldn’t wear the earrings anymore. First I switched to all-silver and all-gold earrings, which helped for awhile, but then the plating would wear off, and finally I felt like clawing my ears off, so I decided I was done. I wear necklaces, mostly taking them off at night, but if I don’t, or sometimes even if I do, I get welts on my skin. Watches are the same. And now, I guess with the white-gold plating wearing down on my wedding rings, I can no longer wear them. It is beyond vexing.

While researching this issue and what to do about it (talk to the jeweler about re-plating? Try Nickel Guard?), I found THIS PICTURE, which is too scary to post. I’m serious. View at your own risk. In the meantime, I’m hoping for no nightmares tonight—and that that dude isn’t really allergic to nickel. Because, ouch.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

and he shall be henceforth know as jell-o

When J.Lo and I play the Wii, our characters (obviously) are called J.Lo and Pen. That’s just who we are. This evening, J.Lo unlocked the ability to use his own character while playing MarioKart—all very exciting, I know. But K.Lo seems to think so. She’ll cheer on whomever: Princess Daisy, WaLuigi, Funky Kong, and now: JELL-O! Go Jell-o! Woohoo!

I just love it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

dear student loan company,

It’s been a long time. Too long for you, not long enough for me, although I have used up my stack of Get-Out-of-Payment cards and there is nowhere else to run. I realize my first payment in forever is due in January and lest I forget, you have provided me with multiple reminders, in my mailbox, my email, in the sky, etc. Thank you. I guess. I can be flaky and forget. I guess I just want to say, I got the picture. I’m not looking forward to our reunion. I’m not sure there’s enough in the couch cushions to cover you, but I’ll look. In the meantime, I’ll ponder the monetary returns I have yet to see on that cute little degree I insisted on getting a few years back, as well as the things like curtains and brie I cavalierly purchased on your dime. I’m pretty sure you’re getting the last laugh on this one.

Snowflakes and Candy Canes,


Monday, December 15, 2008

weekend odds & ends

  • My favorite, only-pair-that-fits-right jeans now have a big old hole in the knee. I guess they were getting a little raggedy, so thin they wore clean through. But in the meantime, I am jeans-less, and a little sad.
  • While at my friend J’s, someone EGGED my car. People still egg cars? The best part is that the shells were brown. I like picturing the hoodlum in question thieving his parents’ expensive brown eggs to go throw around the neighborhood.
  • I really like my wreath (below). I might have mentioned that. It cost under $10 to make. Even the bird makes me  happy.
  • Our deck is now all gone, courtesy of badass, crowbar-wielding J.Lo. Plans for spring include a new, lower deck, possibly with a tin roof. I like the way they sound in the rain. Not to mention I’d love some shade, without breaking the bank.
  • I *accidentally* forgot my computer at my parents’ house this weekend, which meant I *couldn’t* do any work during Craft Weekend. *Oops.* I’m kind of sick of work. I find it highly over-rated, especially during the holidays. However, being sick of work doesn’t make the need for it go away. Profound, I know.
  • Susie nearly won Survivor: Gabon last night. While I’m sure she’s a lovely person in real life, she did nothing of note the entire season, save for creating fire in a challenge where no one else could. I would have DIED if she won. Sugar didn’t really try for votes, which is why she didn’t get any… but the contest should have been down to her and Bob. Susie was the recipient of three “I don’t know who else to vote for” votes, but that doesn’t make them okay. Also, Corinne is Evil Personified.
  • I now officially drink my coffee black. It only took a few days to get used to it. It’s tasty.
  • I’ve no idea what to make for J.Lo’s work potluck. Something savory. Any suggestions?

Sunday, December 14, 2008


P1020039 P1020040

Pressed flowers and ModPodge.


Live Pansy by J.


P1020042 P1020043  P1020045 

I’m totally proud of this wreath!


P1020047 P1020048

For K.Lo’s preschool teachers and friends.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

non-nutritive fruit varnishes

As part of an effort to revive the short-lived but undeniably sparkly series, Fruit Facts, I’d like to talk about wax coatings on fruit. According to this page, non-nutritive fruit varnishes do have a purpose beyond appearance enhancement, such as:

  • inhibiting mold growth
  • protecting fruits and vegetables from bruising
  • preventing other physical damage and disease.

Each of these items is worthy, but I’m stuck on the “enhance appearance” aspect. I look at my 12-pack of apples from Costco, and those things look exactly.the.same. It’s a tiny bit disturbing. It makes me think, give me some dirty fruit. Where can I get my hands on some. Fruit with a little dust (of the non-pesticide variety), some odd curvatures, and un-uniform coloring. Fruit with character.

Really what I want is to be able to pick apples again like we used to do in the fall up North. Clearly that’s not going to happen, and even if it did, it would only be seasonal. But damn, those things were good. They were all different sizes, matte-not-glossy, good old-fashioned, straight-from-the-tree apples. In the meantime, my Costco apples sure are tasty, and the price is right, but I feel like they’re more than a little homogenized, which makes me sad on behalf of the fruit, and on behalf of all fruit eaters everywhere, who surely feel that uniqueness trumps sameness any day of the week. Lastly, I feel sad knowing my children will likely miss out on the all-important character-building experience of finding a worm in their apple, which obviously would never happen with fruit that’s been coated in shiny wax.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

WinterLand, by M

For my last post before falala land, I leave you with what i did to my office over a few days... had i not actually had to leave, there's no telling how far i would have gone... i was thinking paperchain streamers... dangling ornaments... *sigh*

I need to leave more often, by M

I haven't felt so warm and fuzzy since the great winter warming of '88. Leaving was the best christmas present. I have all these awesome friends giving me travel things, and saying goodbye and it just reminds me to appreciate each and everyone of them. You guys frickin rock and blow me away!

Monday, December 8, 2008

photographic evidence




Cross-section: lots and lots of ornaments.



all you need is Bug!

I’ve been feeling…hectic this month. I’m kind of vexed that it’s already December 8th, and my Christmas decorations aren’t all up. My proper 5-week enjoyment period has suffered a serious bite. Maybe if I hadn’t been all *lazy* Thanksgiving weekend, but by lazy I mean powering through several hours of work. There’s a lot available for me right now, and not for J.Lo; hence it’s sort of all on me. And I’m a stickler. If I have to work twice as many hours to make the same amount (which, literally, I do), hell if I’m not going to reach that mark. However, I like my Christmas decor, too, and want to have it up already. The tree, with several hundred ornaments, typically takes me 3 days. J.Lo put it up this weekend, and I (still working, and granted, doing pesky little things like finishing one of my books) didn’t get to the decor. I should also mention that this year, I’m decorating around N.Lo’s sleep schedule. Because, um, he’s 1, and doesn’t know how to walk that well yet, but does very much know how to grab, crush, and eat just about every hand-sized object, as well as pull up and climb. Not a good combination with a Christmas tree. Not unmanageable, just a pain in the ass I’d like to avoid.

Anyway, this whole sense of feeling behind brings me to this afternoon, when I decided to put some decorations on the tree, testing how well K.Lo would do with it. And don’t you know, we decorated the entire tree in one afternoon. I have never, ever decorated my tree so fast. She didn’t really *get* the hanging of the ornaments, but she initiated a sort of assembly line, pulling nearly every single ornament from the box and handing it to me. Total teamwork. She was even super-duper careful with all the glass stuff, which really surprised me.

The best part, though, was that she exclaimed over every ornament: “Look, Mommy! *Gasp.* Look what I found!” like it was the greatest thing ever. I mean, honestly. If that doesn’t put you in the Christmas spirit, what will. I pretty much love each and every one of my 5 million ornaments, even the ugly ones, and it’s usually me exclaiming over them in my mind (aww, this one! I love this one!), but this year, I had the most enthusiastic ornament co-cheerleader I could ever ask for. And I didn’t even have to pay her extra.

The Bug may be *two,* and might throw exasperating tantrums over dumb crap like wanting to watch Rudolph instead of eating two bites of her lunch, but man, that girl can be pretty darn cool, too.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My Mom is more awesome than your mom, by M

I had these beads for 2 years. And i've admitted to myself that I dont like doing jewelry. The whole construction process is tiresome, but mom with much mercy and sacrifice did it for me. Because she actually likes figuring out how things are going to fit together. Frankly I just want it to work. This was an important step for me. Identifying and releasing myself from my visions... If i can't outsource it forget it! Though I didn't mind making my washer necklace because it was like linking chain mail. More on that one later. But here's to mom, best necklace EVER.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

last words on lacma, by m

I love that this woman, started seeing a pattern. Sought it out, collected it, and behold, glorious. You can read the blah blah blah below but I like this girl in the paintings, bcs she's wearing red and shes the saint of abused women. Fabiola. And I found this much more engaging than the vanityfair exhibit. And because its not of the ubiquitous icon, mary for instance, I can enjoy that people are venerating her, and engage in a dialogue somehow that all these people are joined in the mutal recognition of this figure.

Francis Alÿs: Fabiola
September 7, 2008–March 29, 2009 Ahmanson Building
Commissioned by Dia Art Foundation and curated by Lynne Cooke, Francis Alÿs: Fabiola was first installed at the Hispanic Society of America in northern Manhattan from September 2007 to April 2008. Francis Alÿs, a Belgian artist who relocated to Mexico City in the early 1990s, has assembled a significant collection of nearly identical paintings and other depictions of fourth-century Saint Fabiola over the last two decades. All of these are based on a renowned, but lost, portrait by nineteenth-century French academic painter Jean-Jacques Henner. This much-venerated image has been so assiduously copied by amateurs and professionals alike that it has become a popular icon, a phenomenon that, as the artist stated, "indicates a different criterion of what a masterwork could be." Gathered from flea markets, antique shops, and private collections throughout Europe and the Americas, Alÿs's collection offers a window onto aesthetic, sociological, and theological values over the past century and more. This exhibition will display Alÿs's group of more than three hundred Fabiola portraits, all of them copies of a lost original: most are paintings, and there are several versions in needlepoint, wood relief, and other materials as well.

Friday, December 5, 2008

And Then There was 1, by M

There's a new blog in the neighborhood. A fancy travel one. So all of you that have left November feeling robbed over the startling low number of posts, lowest ever actually, besides that one month where we went on hiatus, and were beginning to see that December was going to show much of the same, there should at least be some travel bloggings happening on the horizon. We can't promise that there will be copious # of posts but we hope, all the same, that Schu is going to do her best to post post post and bring that writerly wit to bear. And with some much needed assistance from Penelope and Cath, there should be some interesting and humorous things to read inbetween. Naturally it will dazzle and astound.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

All Good Things, by M

Come to an end... Goodbye dear CGI's. My artistry of you is at an end. Apparently the company after feeling adrift in the sea of what we wanted, took flight and decided to become insulted by the obvious brilliance of my own cgi suggestions... alas. Alas. Goodbye. May storyboards come into my life on some other far flung day... work now returns to a dull place of research and fact checking. Did you know Pilot Whales, part of the dolphin family, can plummet to deep depths and sprint down down down in chase of delicious squid? It's true. They also can eat 30lbs a day, and have upwards of 48 teeth.... all 3 tons and 20ft of them.

fav line so far from this book

(The last line.)

“It’s an old story: When Prout and Liebig nailed down the macronutrients, scientists figured that they now understood the nature of food and what the body needed from it. Then when the vitamins were isolated a few decades later, scientists thought, okay, now we really understand food and what the body needs for its health; and today it’s the polyphenols and carotenoids that seem to have completed the picture. But who knows what else is going on deep in the soul of a carrot?”

--from In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


In one of my last posts before my brain is turned completely to vapor, I went to the LA County Museum of Art. LACMA. To the Vanity Fair Exhibit. We did not make it to the new contemporary wing. And I found out that, though I enjoyed looking at the pictures, I pretty much revile the cult of celebrity. So as much as I wanted to see through that to the artistry behind the photograph, I couldn't get past "knowing" who the subject was. But only as one knows Disneyland or Notre Dame. It's not that I really know it but that the visual is ubiquitous? Maybe. And that the photos don't necessarily do anything to subvert what I already "know". Is that important?

And I can't tell what the thrust of the exhibit was but that it needed more behind it. There was a quip about these photographers being the advent of modern portraiture..., but that at least a couple copied the great painterly masters of the past... and that I've already lived with it for so long I have no appreciation for it. A naked lance armstrong I did not blink an eye at as he intently posed on his bike, but I did recall what a fervor demimoore caused bare and pregnant... so clearly something has happened in the last near 20 years... though my fickle mind doesn't want to deduce what that might be. Besides I had the Hearst Collection to view and other places to wander. Next up more on LACMA and the saint of abused women. Something I found infinitely more fascinating. . . here's what I took until my phone battery died.

Monday, December 1, 2008

post-traumatic pollyanna disorder

pollyannaI realize now what happened after quitting VZW, back in the day. Back when I was prego with K.Lo, throwing up all the time and weeping in corners at the misery of serving the NJ/NY Metro area to *fix* their cell phone issues. It was horrors. I think the day I threw up blood was the day that it no longer mattered I needed this job to pay the mortgage. Dear lord.

Anyway, after I quit about a thousand pounds was lifted off my shoulders and everything was like, peachy-keen. Uber-peachy-keen. For a really long time. A year plus. I mean sure I had my moods, but through the rest of the pregnancy and K.Lo’s first year, I was over the moon. I was all zen. Because I knew how much worse my daily existence could be. I was totally Pollyanna, and I could beat you at the Glad Game any day of the week.

Pollyanna is the Yin to my Inner Snark’s Yang. I embrace them both. For awhile, while suffering Post-Traumatic Pollyanna Disorder (PTPD), I lost sight of my Snark. And then it seemed the Snark returned, and I lost sight of my Pollyanna, a.k.a. Penelozen.

BUT: one can be endlessly grateful toward life’s gifts and remain a bitch. So easy for one to forget! Here’s to reclaiming my PTPD, minus the PT, and this time I promise not to lose the snark.