Thursday, December 31, 2009

m,

Good morning and Happy New Year’s Eve! The library and a trip to the bagel shop inspired by Dwight K. Schrute awaits. (I am, by the way, so very glad it wasn’t a specific type of bagel product-placed by NBC… I would feel so dirty, running out the next morning to buy them.) So anyway: brand-new day. I’m pasting this passage by a writer who can at times be a bit cheesy and/or vexingly vague in regards to parenting advice, but he’s mostly helpful, and I do love this one. Must return to it often:

As you progress and become a wiser parent, you may at times feel regret that you didn't "know better" when your children were younger. You may even feel guilty for "damaging" them. If so, let Mother Nature inspire you to a more hopeful perspective.

Have you ever explored a wild forest and appreciated the awesome way in which Life springs forth from the chaos? Then you know Mother Nature never regrets. She learns as she goes and always makes the best of things as they are. She never looks back.

When a tree takes root in the shadows, Mother Nature doesn't regret giving it a "sub-optimum" start in life. She trusts it will bend toward the Light and find a way to thrive. And in doing so, the tree creates its own unique beauty.

She knows that no storm, flood, or fire can stop the endless Flow of Life through her children.

Well anyway. I’m a dork whose habit it is to feel guilt for such crimes as breathing (or yelling, as the case may be) too loudly. Isn’t it part of my charm?

love,

pen

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

m,

New fish in the tank. We bought a dozen this time, J.Lo insisted. Something about the casualty ratio not cutting so deep? It is rather dandy to see so many happy little fish swimming around. They are all barbs, 4 different colors. Not only were they bright, but I thought “barb” sounded a little bad-ass, like just try to nip my fins, bitch. (I’m talking to you, evil little danio(s).) So we’ll see where all that ends up.

I’m tired. And a little blue. It’s the blue moon tomorrow, which I find kind of interesting for a New Year’s Eve. But am currently beating self up over a Mommie Dearest moment I had this afternoon with the incorrigible K.Lo. I guess there’s nothing to do but move on (which we did), but I have a terrible, looming fear of ruining her, sometimes, with my fire. Which kills me since I love her so much.

Moving on. The birthday party-planning is underway, and this year we’re going not-as-big. Which to me is kind of great, as am actually sticking to financial commitments while knowing she’ll still have a fun time. Something about a park, and Valentine/Groundhog Day party favors, and princess cupcakes? Perhaps even a grand plan involving conversation heart sugar cookies? I’m just saying.

Currently overwhelmed with mundane maintenance-type things like laundry and toy sorting and the eventual de-Christmassing that will occur in full this weekend. As well as a few activities my event planner annoyingly penciled in to my Friday/Saturday schedule, which I basically can’t wait to be over and done with. I swear. Do I need to hire a new staff, or what.

Tomorrow holds: the library, to pick up Adventureland, Up (if they haven’t taken it off the hold shelf—*wah wah*), and another book I’m thinking about to balance out the weight of human-trafficking media. I can’t remember the name of the book, but have memorized the first half of the author’s last name with the mnemonic device of Jack Bauer. The last name starts with Bauer. I can find it, yo. Employee dropoff at parent company will be around 3PM, which is just plain exciting, as will have a few hours All.To.Myself! And a Blue Moon New Year’s Eve party/potluck in the evening with all lucky foods. So I’ve got to come up with something… cowboy caviar w/ black-eyed peas is at the top of my list, perhaps served with blue chips. Will be rad to a) actually have plans on NYE and b) celebrate with friends. Haven’t done that in awhile. Oh, and c) not pick up children ‘til the morning. Cheers to 2010!

Yoga today was good as the intent was to work hard. Which I did. And did I mention my new yoga pants? They actually fit, which is terribly exciting. But I was thrown for a loop when my teacher mentioned that she does not view yoga as a spiritual practice, but solely as a body workout? Which I’m like… huh. I mean, maybe we have different definitions of spiritual, and I’m certainly not going to gym yoga for spiritual growth, like what an oxymoron. But, what’s with the intents (i.e. peace, gratitude, strength) she suggests at the beginning of each class, then? Is it even possible to do yoga without the spiritual side, at least certain shades of it? Would that be like yoga without a soul?

But then, since yoga is so very personal… I guess the point is moot. You practice as you practice, and that is that.

But still.

I’m off to bed for now, left to ponder these things—or perhaps it is better to not ponder at all, when the blue moon looms,

pen

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dear Penelope,

Last night I dreamed there was this couple trying to escape the secret police. They were rich and were trying to be smuggled out. I don't think it worked. But I remember being her and spilling a suitcase and touching the fabrics like i was me, remarking on the silk blouse and raw silk of the dressing gown, the deep midnight blue of the colors and the dark mahogeny all over the place. Then I was at my house and apparently a mountain was close by which happened to be oozing lava... and I don't know why but I hadn't left yet and i could see a trickle of lava moving down the street- and it was that scenario of what should i grab? I remember I had an arm full of things, but thought next time i'll know how to do this effectively and grab as much as I can- all my books, my albums, because I'd left those behind, and anyway just as the lava was surrounding the house i took off in Lolly, and it was too late and i was racing around like it was a street chase trying to escape the lava, and dodge the obstacles, and there was an entrance luckily open to the 15 freeway which I got on just in time. And the shot pulled out like a supercrane shot from the scene so I could see that even on the freeway i was dodging vehicles and I finally stopped after narrowly missing something and then me and a random person from the police or fire department was talking to me... but it wasn't like i was going to be in trouble or anything- so that was refreshing even for the harrowing narrowly escaping lava part...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dear Penelope,

Enclosed please find the next 24 hours. The shirt I'm wearing i got for $5.84. That was exciting. Also I was fairly petulant most of the morning. As mom ran out of eggs and I was unable to test my riceflourpancakerecipe. And she wasn't paying complete attention to me. Which is obviously outrageous to an only child. I got fudge later which almost made up for it but still. And then I ate too much. I showed mom a photo project that wasn't quite done that i'd been working on for months- now finally going to print and them not coming out right. Luckily she only saw one photo, bcs dad failed in the one thing i asked him to do, which was to keep it a secret, but she couldn't make out what it was. She seemed to like them. I'll show you them later. And of course I now have an awesome purse that mom got me and my fav burtsbees. She loves me so. And naturally she is the best ever. I gave dad a: i'll clean out the downstairs garage and acting like the ungrateful bastard that he is he said nothing. He probably thinks I'm trying to usher him out of the house faster. But really have you seen our garage lately? It's a disaster. Why he doesn't highly prize mymadawesomeorganizational skills I don't know. He thinks that I owe it to him anyway? For what? I have no idea. He doesn't pay the bills around here. The only interchange of the day came when he came home from the grandparents, and suggested I go into my room and watch tv, where upon I suggested he go to bed and sleep. I didn't even use any words beginning with the letter F. Which he didn't respond to, but then was seen slumped in his chair out like a light not 20min later as we watched the ins and outs of tree harvesting as a mom compromise. I am fairly convinced the devil is just trying to get me to hate my dad a little bit more each day and especially on Christmas. I do try and resist as much as I can. But as much as mom wants us "together" on the holiday, I really do NOT see the point. She's baking and wrapping presents to take to the "other" place and I'm watching tv, and dad summarily goes upstairs. It's like any other day- really. Except that I have that not so vague feeling of wanting a family and siblings with whom I can converse and love.

As you can see from the pictures, its fairly indicative of what I did with my entire day. I was also reading the 'screwtape letters'- written by cs.lewis, and after reading through this book again, i just think he is awesome. Probably not Christmas fair and yet, probably extremely appropriate- as its about this uncle demon talking to his nephew demon and how they mess with their "patients" and how the "enemy"/"god" inexplicably loves us. It's so good. I did have NightattheMuseum on in the background, and Home Alone. Which in hindsight was extremely appropriate at the exact time I watched it.

Then of course came the jarring call at 7am, from my mom saying Cocoa had escaped. The latte I had has not kicked in by the way. but--Thank God we got her. Talk about Christmas tragedy 09 averted! What is wrong with a dog that doesn't like car rides and treats?! And won't come when you call!? I am new to these sorts of challenges and have grown soft with my though stubborn, mostly complacent Golden. Anyway, the only other excitement was finding awesome nativity toile! I am so making these into pillows!! And there's ome vintagy reindeer fabric too. Oh and lets not forget the strippy socks. Pinnacle of awesome.



m.

Friday, December 25, 2009

m,

I experienced a pang when reading your last letter, because your desired church experience was a near match of my actual church experience. If only you had been here. The service was full, but not overly packed, which was new to me, but nice. The choir can actually sing, some string instruments were also present, and each member of the congregation was given a candle upon entering. Service started with the lights out, “Silent Night” and all candles lit by passing the flame. We kept the candles lit through opening and then blew out/returned the candles during “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” The rest of the service progressed as usual, though with night fallen outside… Some nice song choices, including “In the Bleak Mid-Winter,” which I feel you never hear anywhere. And the sermon addressed incarnation as relevant to our lives in three particular ways: our relationship to the earth, to others and to ourselves. Etc. I’m still mistaken for a visitor there, but I suppose you’ll have that. Overall: peaceful, reflective, pretty beautiful night. I would do that again.

When did we start talking so much about church on our blog?

In the meantime: Christmas! I loved your pictures of the Eve. Between last night and this morning (mostly this morning), I snapped around 200 pics, which the mind boggles at, but regardless, I have to sort. K.Lo slept in her bed the whole night, but Management was antsy… More information and photographic evidence to come shortly on Lo.Co. I unexpectedly received a netbook, which is a tiny computer that I have coveted for months now, on condition that I sell my rattly-fanned computer to compensate for cost. Then we’ll be cookin’ with fire. Until then, it is pure technological sweetness, and I was totally surprised. 

Intents on my mind this week: awareness and enjoyment of where I’m at, physically, emotionally, etc.

Tonight: a good dose of cynical cinematic holiday fare before the season fully dwindles. I’m thinking “The Ref” and perhaps “Home for the Holidays.”

Merry Christmas,

pen

Dear Penelope,

Enclosed please find evidence of Christmas Eve. It was an inauspicious start. And I was pleased with my pre-eve outfit. Not so pleased with my actual Eve outfit which was a lovely black dress, greensweater jacket and scarf- colorful but still. The service was a bit of a let down, though i did get to play with fire!-- but nice because of the thought- that counts. But I think I wanted more contemplation and softness, a little more length and seriousness. I felt it was more like a leaflet on Christmas and I wanted more of an essay. Like tweet vs. Blog. Because don't just throw the service together if we're not going to do it up right. Which it wasn't not right, it just didn't have any breadth to get you into it. And the crying whining kids were detracting as much as it was suppose to be a kid friendly service- there wasn't enough boisterousness to make it that way. We enjoyed some apple cider and I did get into at least 2 conversations with people I margainally knew. So I get points.

Pre-eve was fairly entertaining. My uncle kept jabbing my aunt with the, just get a new one, you're rich. To which my aunt would just internally explode and walk away. It was pretty funny. But I see his point. He collects gold and has furniture from 1978. And likewise my frugal aunt and uncle share his monetary success- so of course he doesn't see the point of pampering furniture when they are well off enough to get new ones, but when I told my uncle jerry to just change the color scheme of the house if he was tired of it, he sighed like i was asking him to haul that Sisyphean bolder up a hill... Likewise my aunt asked if my parents were enabling me, right at the heels of her mentioning the loss of their brother and enabling him, to which I replied a little, maybe, but if they didn't I'd be sad, and then I whispered to mom, well we do have the God thing. It's not like he's telling me to leave and i'm not. That and I don't think I'm an addict. But maybe? Addicted to being jobless? I don't know. I won't dismiss the charge completely. I told my aunt I hoped to be financially solvent eventually and I promised to take care of my mom when she got older. I then slung out that they only have themselves to blame as they've failed to find me a christian republican to marry. That set my aunt laughing which I'm glad of and she did say she knew a tennis player named Matt... but he's older and moving to Orange County. Dang. Come on people. I also hinted to my uncle John that if his extremely wealthy friend Bruce needed any artists I was totally available.

Later I got into a conversation with Carmel, who proves to be patently the most livewire in the house at almost 94, about death, and how she jabs her sons about, oh just wait till you get to my age. If you last that long! ... She says it makes them mad, but I found it funny. I would. I can't help myself. I told her though that transitioning to death is difficult and they're at the age where they're having to accept their mortality so it makes it difficult. And I told her also that as independent as she is, its ok to accept help.

I wrapped up the night with fudge and ice cream. Nevermind that we had to microwave the ham. It was all fine. I got home from all of it and had a $1burger and fries from mc'ds and came home to flip channels and sing songs. More from today, tomorrow. Love you, M.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Penolin,

This is the first time in recorded history we'll not be having Christmas Eve dinner. Even in my reckless abandon last year they went off and had dinner out and I had an overpriced fine dining experience a mile from the beach of san juan del sur. I do recall a massive chocolate brownie- a giant turkey, stuffing and all the rest. I might have had champagne. I don't remember. There were hammocks involved at the end however, some slumped over on couches as we waited to get trundled back to our casa. I saw digital pics of the magnificant sunset everyone saw. I chose to desalt in a pool instead. That was before the gringo christmas. Which I liked. Don't get me wrong. I think the next day we even exchanged gifts. There was an inflated Santa in the lobbey and a few people wore hats and there were lights and poppers going off. I think that was one of the nights I swung my hips in that upstairs bar... maybe christmas day? Anyway.

Today we're having a christmas eve lunch? It is interesting to mix things up I feel. I am a big fan of stockings even though I didn't put any up or get anything for anyone to put gifts in. But one of these days we'll swing back around. Formalize ourselves a little bit. Make an extra effort to make things special. Mom suggested a coupon book of some kind. Maybe I will. Maybe I will.

I'll have to document church eve as I've never done that before either. Look at all the firsts! Somehow its important isn't it? I want to say more but i realize I only have 15minutes to get ready. Everything is out of synch. You're talking about undoing 30+ years of tradition. Maybe discovering in the process a new thing- now what to wear to church? Thats the question.

Essay.Needletale. Totally coming up.
m.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

m,

I’m thinking maybe some new fish tomorrow. I don’t know. Currently, we have an algae issue that is like sheets of slimy spinach over everything. A disgusting but accurate description. I think it will be solved with a tank clean and some drops. And some new fish will be lovely for Christmas, until they die.

I love that currently, K.Lo is matter-of-fact about death. “Your flower is dead.” Or, “That fish is dead, let’s go flush it.” I don’t know how long it will last, or if my answers about heaven and so forth will satisfy the customer. Also, I waited until yesterday to tell her that our friends who lived three doors down moved to another neighborhood. I told her on the way to their new house. Call that mean, but I call it crafty. Or lucky that she took it so well (for now). The not-quite-4-year-old doesn’t need extra drama in her life, so I made it seem perfectly normal that one day our neighbors decided they needed a bigger house and so they sold their old one and bought a new one. Which, it is normal, but you know what I mean. Had I mentioned it earlier, I think the conversation would have been focused on the loss of neighbors, rather than the practical matters, or whatever you want to call them.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and I plan at the moment on going to the quasi-midnight service, which is at 9:30PM. I hear there are candles for all and beautiful songs. I considered the 4PM service, which included an activity for kids, but we did an impromptu Nativity pageant at church on Sunday, wherein K.Lo dressed up as an angel, and I think that sufficed. I’m kind of looking forward to going by myself.

Presents are mostly wrapped. We did not go big this year. It’s the first Christmas morning at our own house, with the usual traditions at my parents’ house over the weekend, so I am sort of pinning down traditions, figuring out what they should be on one hand and then easing back into: it will be whatever it is. Maybe lamb chops for dinner on the Eve, and eggnog French toast at some point? Or perhaps just eggnog with rum. Somewhere there must be eggnog, is all I know. And rum. Also, we never did stockings growing up, but to fill out our present stash for the kids in an affordable way, we ransacked the dollar bins at Target. I kind of think that’s going to be a highlight of the morning, stockings.

I still haven’t watched “Love, Actually,” a favorite, and all my Muppets were on VHS, so we are unable to watch without a functioning VCR. All broken in ‘09, so sad. However, the Grinch has been recorded, “Charlie Brown” viewed several times, as well as “National Lampoon’s” and “Rudolph.” Oh, and the moment of missing my entire ornament collection, as opposed to the small stash displayed on our 2009 Charlie Brown tree, did arrive and stayed briefly. Next year. It will come too quickly.

I await your second essay and the needle tale.

love,

pen

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dear Penelope,

Hi lady love,
Watching s4 of the wire. Eating a popsicle. I actually went a whole week or so without them. And I guess in a moment of weakness without them, rita said she'd sign up for warrior dash and walk with me, and then I agreed. Like that's all I needed. Push. And immediately after my knee gave a throb just to mock me. And suddenly I'm like "its a RACE". AH! PANIC! anxiety. failure. competition. Riiiight. I mean even at my best I run/jog/walk 15 minute miles. And I've only done 2 miles not 3.08 and 12 obstacles to boot, in that round before my knee commited seppuku because deep down it feels betrayed by the weight and my exuberance and it became lawless and dishonored and now it won't do a damn thing. And the guys I'm doing it with are like 5min/8min mile types. So my only mission is to get my ass over rusted out cars, gullys and rims of fire and not die, in my own damn time. Because who has health insurance to back that kind of thing up. I'll look into getting a brace. I'm going to acupuncture tomorrow. A random korean place in the middle of the city. It's only $60. If they don't help I'll go to fancier digs closer to home in Burbank. But I digress.

Bodo is better. I'm listening for a cough or a hack and he has one everyoncenwhile and his energy is low but he's hanging in there. I think dog-sitting cocoa has helped distract him though I don't suppose he's getting the rest he really needs. My cat Marley is effectively staring down cocoa and feels safe enough to sleep out in the open, but my cat Turtle is no where to be seen.

Besides that I wandered around REI today and didn't feel compelled to buy anything. That was nice. Sure the downside is that probably nobody is getting presents- at least not for a while anyway. I don't know why but it causes naught but anxiety. I lasted an hour and then Cathy called and I felt free and walked right out of the store and drove back home. Maybe I'll make something? But what? And for whom? Ach. Also I've been negotiating how to get out of Christmas eve at the fams. This time its not because I dislike them, which totally refreshing concept, but a lot of people have been unusually asking if I was coming to Christmas Eve Service at church and its been a bug in my ear. Am I? Am I? And while I'd rather it be a midnight mass thing or some sort of candlelight something it is my family in a spiritual sense. So why not really. It has meaning at least. And though I love looking at my beautiful tree and thinking about lighting the fireplace, and staring at the awesome purse my mom is giving me, it leaves me to wonder about everything else, despite the aesthetic rosy glow. Oh, so as it is, because Carmel is all like old and what not they wanted to move christmas eve to more christmas pre-eve. And saved by the bell, meaning before I emailed to bail, they gave us the how about 1 or 2pm option. Which is awesome. So out-of-it-i-am. Or rather, best of both? Nice.

As an aside, apparently my grandpa did agree that it probably wasn't best to leave gold in a house of addicts, stuffed in a mattress. And though my mom did her best to find out what the last family bruha was she failed, leaving us only to wonder and further speculate whats going to happen to them when my grandparents die and the house is sold. The gold is in a safe deposit. And apparently for the gift exchange it will only be my parents and my grandparents participating. I asked mom if they were just going to carry on with Christmas Day celebrations and she said, yes, and that she was bringing a pie and shortbread cookies. So I suppose while they're off doing that I'm going to try and make wheatfree crepes, stoke a fire and sing some happy songs to myself.

m.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Penolin,

My poor pup bodo. I noted he wasn't himself but nothing that would send alarm bells until he started shaking and breathing hard. It was sort of the perfect storm. Mom is gone so his eating was already effected, I had the flu so my energy wasn't great even to see if his energy wasn't great. It's rough when the only signs are: decreased energy, one runny nose, and then 3 days of occasional hacking like he's got a bone stuck in his throat. But then I get home and stare at him when he's not looking at me and he's clearly distressed. And then I convinced dad that we absolutely did need to take him to the fancy emergency hospital in the hills. I was thinking what my creditcard advertisement would be, "peace of mind: priceless". Of course it was dads credit card after he wanted to know why I couldn't go by myself and besides my blinding hatred of vets and how i start sobbing at the hint or thought of the hint of bad news- Bodo is his dog, I said. I can't afford it #2. And #3 Bodo is your dog. He sat there defeated and we went. Dad does not like vets either. I suppose if I developed enough of a relationship with one, overcame that gut reaction of exorbitant overcharging and the business of health which has always seemed wrong and yet it shouldn't be.Who does. Dad's last golden retriever died in the same place after some labored breathing, but significantly worse, fluid around the heart or some horror. I mean for sure I thought he had cancer and not random pneumonia. These poor dogs always seem to get stricken by something awful like how everyone in america gets stricken by something awful eventually. Like death. And just in the small room near a club of hip hollywood types we all sat and waited. One womans bulldog ate a batch of pot brownies. Another couple fled from the place racked in sobs and tears. Another guy brought his dog in because he had a tick. I seemed somewhere in between comical and ridiculous and tragical. Feeling pretty good at my decision, even though I'm sure he could survive without a 24 hour oxygen tank and probably didn't need all the bloodwork done. But whatever. How can you say no to this face?:
















Friday, December 18, 2009

m,

So does anyone even send Christmas cards anymore? I have gotten a few, but not nearly as many as last year, and so I’m guessing that either a) friends are just as far behind as I am and/or b) the tradition is dying out. And/or c) Thriftiness is more prevalent this year. Although there were some killer deals lurking on the Internets, and I’ve got a fistful of cards procured for just over $3. And yet my recipients list seemed random and not nearly complete, resulting in many leftover cards, the question of well, should I pursue more addresses…?, and the overall feeling of *unfinished.* But, as Christmas is in a week’s time, we must let it go and press on.

I’ve decided on a resolution for this year. Unlike last year, when I listed every desirable improvement that entered my mind in the manner of an unfiltered verbal tic, I am choosing just one. The solid, concrete goal of learning to coupon. Couponing, defined, goes above and beyond the normal use of coupons, which I clip periodically and use occasionally when the retail stars align. In couponing, you combine manufacturer coupons, in-store coupons, and in-store specials to obtain ridiculous deals. It’s a skill, a sport, and an art, and while I’ve just begun to learn the ropes, eventually I would like to master the activity, with a focus on deal-pinpointing efficiency and procurement of the best, most effective coupons. Occasionally, I feel like it might be more of a hassle than it’s worth, but it’s sort of a game as well, and the victories will be enjoyable. Not to mention easy on my wallet.

So intermittently, I complain, or break down, or even spiral down into very dark places re: finances, and while in those dark places I may even question whether or not God listens, cares, etc. Like haven’t I learned my lesson yet, or suffered enough, may be examples of running-through-my-mind questions, which may or may not be excessively dramatic. Isn’t it time to provide the tools or means to conquer this burden? However slow, I would be open and accepting of anything. Well, after a very dark week’s beginning, I acknowledge some light. 1) Couponing: that it even came to my attention, that it is entirely within my power to master. That’s a tool. 2) Additional paying work, that is small at the moment, but is most definitely *something* and represents a larger door with potentially substantial opportunities in the longer-term. That’s some means. It’s a door I was so excited to have opened, I may or may not have cried my face off for over an hour, depending on who you ask. (Don’t question the children. Embarrassing.) I felt very definitely when applying for this position over a month ago that it was meant to be, and then it wasn’t, or so I thought, and then it was, and at the most interesting possible time, and well, now I know. He does listen.

And then I also think about your comments re: burdens, and a financial burden, however self-made, however painful and difficult to overcome, could be different and so much worse. Very true. I know that, I’m appreciative that it’s this and not that. (Although, God, if you *are* listening, I would like to point out how many more resources I could have at my disposal to serve others, should the financial crisis ever be solved. Digression. I know. Maybe the path is intentionally difficult, and I get that, but I’m just saying.)

Otherwise: it’s time to get down to business with some yoga podcasting, at some point, because my brain could use a break. Just a few minutes free from over-analysis, lack of patience in so many areas of life, and maybe even the desire for sugar. Because I like it, a lot, especially in the form of Oreo bonbons. Yum.

xo,

pen

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Penelope,

You asked me in a letter back whether i wanted my love to find me or for him to come to me. It seems one in the same. The most lovely scenario is meeting him on my travels, which would be something like winning the lottery in the conflagration of events. Though conversely, it doesn't mean I'm not meant for an extraordinary story. Cath seems to think my story is a long one, with many peaks, and have only just begun. Where it would be most convenient? Church. Of course my greatest fear besides God being a fabrication of my deluded mind is that I end up an old woman, alone, with that one great sorrow, unfulfilled despite a rich and full life otherwise. It would be akin to barrenness i feel. And if that were the case in later life i'd have to be an eccentric and mysterious hermit type- and thus my line dies with me type of thing. Though I suppose I could be that kind of old woman with a family too- oh thats great grandma- she's always got that incense and candles going thing, behind the thick velvet curtains... or you know the shriveled but stout figure in a chair in the sun surrounded by flowers. Either way nobility will find me no matter how many disappointments?

But even now one should never fail to try new things despite any anticipated blows. For instance just yesterday before seeing the fantasticmrfox, which was in fact pretty fricking fantastic- i bought 2 underwire bras. Which by the way, I have never owned before. Due to a preconceived discomfort factor. And while I think my instinct was mostly correct I'm happy to find a certain positive to them also. Since I've always been so active that was a strike against them too, but time and a place right? I need to meditate more on what my breasts are saying to me while in my lime green underwire or my pink polkadot one vs. my red, black and white good and trues. But there is a difference.

The next new thing I'd like to try is acupuncture. I have this feeling, or rather since July that i need to continue to ask for help, since i'm so bad at it naturally. Plus it goes against us in so many ways, as we want to be limitless individuals with no disabilities or insecurities or massive debt mounds- and yet if we had no such things what could God do with such infallible creatures. I know not. One must let him work. We can't right the tumbling structures when our hands are tied. And thats the way it should be.

My other thoughts are that the malaise of the plague still lingers but I'm going against my impulse and going to yoga anyway? I have other other thoughts but the meaning of advent, my 1/2 way finished essay on SF and SC, and all things friends and winter will have to wait. I'm going to go meditate?

M.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

m,

Note: I owe you Christmas decor photos as well. Remind me.

So among the broken seals and dampness in my life, there continues to be the car issue. It is currently in the shop, where I hope someone steals it. No really. It’s just that it’s going to cost an annoying, borderline obnoxious and certainly ill-timed amount of money to fix, since they had to remove the windshield in order to replace the seal, and the windshield cracked, yadda yadda. It’s all a racket. I’m ignoring it. Serenity now.

And apparently I should invest in a draft snake for the back door? Or just roll up a towel. Like in the olden days, when people just lived with a problem, rather than charging a solution to their Visa/Mastercard.

And there are ants in the living room. They crawl on my children and squish themselves (through no fault of my own, honestly) onto my Christmas packages and wrapping paper. I can’t say I’ve ever gone that route with gift accoutrement, but there’s a first time for everything? Meanwhile, I am afraid to discover what lurks in the coffee table from which they proliferate. Could be a cookie. A dead body--

Obviously maggots and such would consume a dead body, not ants, and that’s a superfluously disgusting segue, but speaking of which, there’s a house in the next neighborhood over where a body was recently discovered, possibly there since spring. With people living there! Caretakers coming and going daily. It’s all very suspect, alarming, etc.

The mountains were lovely as usual, and they continue to call my name. If you can find a place beautiful in the depths of dead, dry, yellow winter, then there must be something there. But to uproot, I don’t know. After how many years now, I must admit this place is growing on me. Not unlike the mold in our shower (to which I do intend to apply rubbing alcohol). So it’s a maybe and a we’ll-see sort of daydream.

Our little tree is looking rough, like it needs water, even though it has some? Or maybe it’s just my imagination. I experienced a few dark hours recently re: the holidays, channeled Charlie Brown with deep dismay over the pointless commercialism and gift-giving when really shouldn’t we all just be nice to each other as a better gift? But I soldier on in maintaining our traditions and seek the light. Tomorrow I will make Oreo bonbons for the annual cookie exchange and try not to eat too many.

One thing said in yoga: a certain kind gesture or word to a stranger may be the only incidence of goodness he or she experiences this holiday season. Though surely it wouldn’t restore a person’s faith in humanity, completely, it also can’t hurt. So, do.

A single, giant grievous pile of *whatever* looms in the laundry room for me to sort and organize. Can’t handle it at the moment. Can barely breathe enough to wrap my head around what needs to be done by such-and-such. Soldier on, soldier on…

Reading: zero books. A few magazines. Listening to Christmas tunes on Pandora, but a special note to Celine Dion: You are not allowed.

More soon. xo.

-pen

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dear Penelope,

Enclosed, please find the nighttime version of christmas at my house. Will send daytime photos tomorrow.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dear Penelope,

enclosed please find evidence of the newly acquired $5 scarf. made from poly/acrylic. never mind that part, its less pleasant. look at the colors. mom took the other one with her.

if you can see behind me, the wisteria has lost its leaves. mostly. soon after this tiring photoshoot, the sun retreated behind some clothes, i mean clouds, so i was induced to return inside. i am gathering the strenth to go deposit a check and get frozen yogurt.



Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pent Up,

There was a mid morning crisis about which thermometer to believe, and after a facebook poll I went with my gut and chose manual. It was quite a discrepancy. Made me lose my faith in technology, just a little bit. 98.3-99.3. Ultimately I prefer to believe I have a fever. And a pansy low-grade one at that, which seems to have no end. Day 7. Don't tell but I went to Trader Joes anyway. To my credit I anti-bacterialed my hands and didn't touch my face or sneeze or cough the entire time, and only handled what I was buying. Then I splurged and went to walgreens and got my mom and i $5fake pashima scarves. They're pretty fantastic. (will enclose pics later). Along with some burts, and face astringent...

Right now she's packing to go raise the morale of the Minnesota contingent, Dawns mom dying and all. As an HR girl she attends a lot of funerals (and she'll be there for Darlene's on Monday). At her company somebody's somebody is always dying, stricken, or insert strange and possibly disturbing disorder, condition, or tick. She tries not to tell me about them all but sometimes she can't help herself. It's her gifting to send out condolences and sympathy in true mom fashion without any hints of irony or inauthenticity, not even a drop of cynicism or ambivilance toward grief and death... she's very supportive and actually sincere. I cannot say that I am this way. Which is why for many other reasons besides I never visit my brother and have more family in friends then i do elsewhere. But let that go,

My current debate after such a truly exuberant day of Trader Joes and s3/d5 of 24, which by the way, they just shot ryan chapelle. And I think we're going to break up. I mean, it just went a little too far didn't it? Jerking us around with the ever present question of greater good vs. the single individual. Which is more important? And if morals should be compromised for the sake of that greater good- obviously yes. And yet Jack did sincerely seem to ask, God forgive me, as he shot him in the back of the head. He seemed to sense, even after the heroin addiction and everything else, that even he, as a character, had gone too far afield. I hate shows that are cruel to their characters. That's why I stopped watching Lost... but never mind- back to the debate- what I'm reading next, I have a collection of shortstories by Flannery, Eatprayand something, or memoirs of a geisha. Whats your gut instinct on this one?

Yesterday ok, I confess, still feverish, I went to the starbucks by the airport and asked the barista btw chaitealatte or mochalatte. He was very adament about the mocha, he said, because he hated the chai- so he was biased he said, but I said i wanted decisiveness. Thats what mattered. I mean anyone looking at me shouldve guessed I was sick. I mean its like, nothing would induce me to change out of my jammie pants. I did put on a nice sweater, but the clash, along with the socks and flipflops combo should've been a telloff to anyone. I felt very urban sitting there with the latte and my tempura from sansai-- a little bit rogue and not quite me. Due to the fever probably.

But anyway, otherwise- I can feel the energy bubbling underneath and ready to get going. Though pulling a dead bush out of the ground yesterday winded me considerably. I also finished Brideshead, Autumn had her baby and Joanna returned from NY but refuses to tell me about it. And you as I write this have wintered in the mountains and are crafting at your BF's. The world is always right and never all at the same time.

Postehaste,
M.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dear Penelope,

I had this completely heinous soup tonight. It was called vegetable beef soup- Granted it was the last can of soup on the shelf but still. I'm going to have to make sure we stock up on acceptable, when you're sick soup, for later. Unfortunately the soup was 3rd in line of really horrible food choices. The first being these usually tasty cactus/corn tostadas that i mistakenly put pepperjack cheese and chili verde on, followed by the soup where most everything was inedible, then some sausage potato thing, a salad and then a canned peach. I wont even discuss lunch and breakfast. I know. I think this mild fever is totally killing any sort of good choices I might be making in my life right now. Though I do tend to alternate between hot tea and popsicles. And I feel like i've gained back whatever weight i've ever lost, and that my muscle mass is wasting away and there's this horrible bump on face and refuses apprehend/sion. Sickness puts sloth in a real whole new light. As in what the difference between quiet, between gluttonous, between taking a moment and being busy in a different way. Makes me feel I have been filling my time and not in bad ways, maybe not in the best ways and not everyday but there is a thin line of difference.

It's blissfully raining right now. Earlier I was going to take pictures of this one bush in our yard that shows signs of a typical fall into winter. Yellow leaves. Scattered about the yard. Little king sparrows raking the grass for bits to eat. I saw one pick up a leaf, held it high and aloft, and turn around in a circle with it. He did it twice. I didn't understand the dance, but wondered if my poet self could ever transcribe the feeling of his pirouette. I gave up and though i told myself it was worth it to set down all such moments- I don't know if I will. I should. There's a definite loss there in all the recorded moments even if they never make it into print. But I didn't take the picture or write the poem and I went back to reading Brideshead Revisited instead. So far I really don't see what the big deal is. Also I really hate alcoholics... though I know my mercy for them should in some way expand. But it doesn't.

Anyway, I still have a fevor. Yes mispelled. But its essentially like fervor... fever. I don't know. But that's where the mind goes. And my eyes are heavy and I'm debating stay up another hour and languish or sleep... last night I dreamed about a zombie invasion. There are benefits sometimes to abstaining from sleep aids. ;)

m.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Penolin,

I haven't had chicken soup. I'm totally robbed. I could find some ... ach, the effort of that sentence alone. It's too much. I mean if its not in that can with the flip lid then forget it. I have some sort of flu-ish thing also. Still have an elevated temp of some kind and achy joints. And today I feel I have just enough energy to feel bad about not being productive. Though I felt bad yesterday, I didn't care. But then what have I been doing these last weeks. I can't say. I think there were some books read and such. Lots of tv. Granted. I did actually scale down my netflix subscription to 1 at a time. I realized I had that power. Just now. About an hour ago. I also had a banana and an orange.

next.

So, the plague was because the people were being all rabble rousers. Which I love that the translation of the word actually exists in the bible. 4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, "If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!"

next.

18 "Tell the people: 'Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The LORD heard you when you wailed, "If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!" Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it. 19 You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the LORD, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, "Why did we ever leave Egypt?" ' "

skip to the end.

31 Now a wind went out from the LORD and drove quail in from the sea. It brought them down all around the camp to about three feet above the ground, as far as a day's walk in any direction. 32 All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No one gathered less than ten homers. Then they spread them out all around the camp. 33 But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the LORD burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague. 34 Therefore the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had craved other food.


Now I used to read OT stuff with the words, aw man that's HARSH, alot. And now, there's, i think, only one OT story that makes me bummed out, was when one specifically assigned dude was told not to touch the ark of the covenant while he was carrying it, and the load started to tumble and he reached out and touched it and was struck dead. I'm always like, yikes. Because you know, good intentions and all that, and "its natural" but an important lesson on enabling people right? Sometimes you have to let stuff fall and that God is God and its going to be ok, because you're not and if he gave you a command you should totally follow it even if the consequence looks disasterous to you, and couldn't he have gotten a warning card instead. But then it sounds like he had a complete lack of faith, and that he felt he needed to right what God couldnt? Anyway. There's more there but lets get back to the quail.

These rabble apparently were also I think, non-israelites, aka pagans, but more imporantly they were just stirring up shit and reeking havoc on peace and invading peoples discipline and patience with God by bringing trouble and dissent- and naturally they just complained, there weren't any direct appeals to God. Just a whole bunch of bitter herbs. Keep in mind the manna supernaturally appeared every night and God routinely appeared via clouds and light or some such. I think what was most funny to me was the divine justice aspect of it all and that God was so there and present but it didnt matter- when we want things like lets say netflix and then suddenly we have so much netflix we're ignoring everything else and we're gagging on it because we have so much of it. Maybe it's like a basic cable analogy vs. a premium package cable analogy. I can't decide. But either way Kahle and I snickered and sort of laughed like, oh, the Lord, he's awesome. Dramatic flare and all that. Sure people died but taken in a larger context those people probably sucked, and were sucking the life out of everyone around them- like toxic mold or asbestos. And Moses was in turn beseeching the Lord and God was like, problem solved.

Until they start complaining again.
Its a pretty fantastic love story. But at least God is trying to work it out with them. I don't think he's an indiscriminate smitter.... and the quail would've been a delicacy... too much of a good thing and all that. Oh netflix, why. why. why.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Penultament,

i am totally sick. i don't know if i was infectious yesterday. i suspiciously felt that tickle in the back of my throat... and i did take my temp when i got home and it was below normal like it always is, like, 97.4 or some such. this morning it was 99. who gave this to me?! thats what i want to know. now its 98.6. maybe i'll be back to normal by tomorrow. good thing i've got xfiles5 to watch. and brideshead to read. and essays to work on. its like any other day really except for no exercise.
i tried to hand over myyout*be account to my long lost soul mate keith. i don't think its going to work. i may just have to cancel my account and he can quick sign up. plus i'm sick and i'm thinking, am i really seeing clearly into the problem- bcs i can't change the acct email i signed up with. so i think i'd have to cancel it. which makes me question keiths sanity for suggesting it, anyway and why i'd want to trust him and then i think, well he's the bastard who took my gmail log in anyway. but whatever. and he's the one who is all 'inconvenienced'. whatevs! i did tell him i would though.
also its raining here. last night in the biblestudy group i went to they actually wanted me to pray it wouldn't rain saturday and sunday because of this movie shoot they were doing. and i in all seriousness was like, uh, we're in a severe drought. think about what you're asking. just because some egotistical director is shooting a musical and needs a crane for the last shot of the movie. and it has to be outside. you want me to actually petition to God that it not rain? we agreed that maybe if the rain could just pass over those two days but continue raining all the other days it would be fine. in reality it may just rain one more day even if it forecasts a whole week of rain, because lets be honest we're in LA and we just don't get that much rain. which baffles me why anyone would pray that it wouldn't rain here for their own shortsighted ends. but then i think, back in gradeschool when i'd pray for blizzards, earthquakes and general mayhem to befall us so classes would be canceled. besides some occasional rain, and that fairly serious riot we had back in '94, God rarely answered. so i'm glad at least he has some discriminating criteria, and won't hold it against me too much now that i'm older. though this guy kahle and i totally started laughing at the same time when we were talking about this passage in the old testament where all these people got wiped out by a plague. no one else thought it was funny. .. but thats for another discussion.
anyway all this typing and pondering has worn me out. and i've got to figure out whats for lunch and save some energy credits for possible working of essays out and what not. certainly not now but maybe like hours from now.
m.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dear Penelope,

Remember when we used to write stories? And things like pervasive mold and can openers would work their way into deft fictional accounts of awesomeness. One day we'll get back there. I don't want to wax too nostalgic when I'm busy watching Dwight beat the computer but still. I'm encouraged sometimes by the eccentricities of our lives. And that even these small records will bring us back. The thread doesn't need to be but a very thin line. And lets not talk about scrubs2.0. ugh.

Today I made it to yoga and the woman asked me if I'd done it before, with sort of the tone like, a lot or? and oh, you do look familiar so I won't demand proof but, and then I got all competitive which usually doesn't happen to me in yoga but today I was all, oh yah that's right i can do yoga. booyah! 8 years and counting... And I always think oh, I'm newish to class and she wants to make sure, and then inevitably, and I think this every single time I go- I am a thin person trapped in a fat body as I watch the flesh shift this way and that like an alien invader and then I think, why don't fat people yoga. I mean I sort of know why and I suppose if I didn't think I was a thin person trapped in a fat body and really flexible I wouldn't yoga either. Though apparently there are clubs like Mega Yoga in NY and Heavyweight Yoga in Houston if ever i find myself there and want to be among my own kind and does reinforce my hypothesis that everyone should do yoga, and that I'm really lazy for even thinking what i'm doing is easy when there's struggle everytime even if it gets easier. There was also a sort of a pudgy middle aged dude and a partially flexible old guy... but anyway I digress. I'm getting better and stronger and the scale isn't tilting back up yet so there's that. And by 40 i do want to be able to do upward bowpose and a handstand. So goals do abound.

After that I went to CVS bcs the line was too long at togos. They had this revlon buy1/get1free so in rare form I actually bought 2lipgloss/2eyeshadow-blue/dark green, and some sunflower seeds. Naturally I did succumb to a pint of ben/jerrys but conversely I bought a salad. Balance right? And then I had the nerve to pay my bills for a month and started back sliding mentally. Maybe I knew, hence the calorically laden ice cream in advance of myself. I then took the dog for a walk and tried not to remember that I calculated how little progress the little redline went down on the thermostat.

That's my day in a hallmark. Tomorrow I job search?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

dear m,

The worst part about the water on my car floorboards, aside from the mildew smell, the wet and the fact that it just isn’t right, is that a mere speck of food particle will mold in a few day’s time. Fuzzy blue-green popcorn and fruity cheerios do not add to the glamour of my day. We think we have it narrowed down to a seal on the windshield that is completely shot, but still. Time and expense at the shop, etc. ‘Tis the season. And it just keeps raining. Well, don’t even get me started on all of that.

But the car that I used to love but no longer has contributed to a paranoid feeling of being surrounded by potentially moldy objects and leaks. Like the double doors to the backyard that need to be replaced. The rain runs straight off the roof and has rotted out the door bottom/seal and who knows what else. Subflooring? Bah.

The master bath shower/toilet always readily mold with like, zero ventilation and the beach air. Impossible to keep up with. Shudders.

Or one of our Christmas boxes from the attic, which contained an older snow globe whose seal had also worn away, and the water was completely evaporated by the time I opened up the box, but everything else in there absorbed it. Moldy baskets and such. A few favorite decorations. Whatever.

And I’ve always been paranoid about drinking straws. However is one supposed to air-dry those things completely? I’m just saying. I checked one of K.Lo’s today and couldn’t see anything, but the smell of mold—blech. Yuck. Enough.

I wonder how much dehumidifiers cost.

-pen

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pen,

I had a funny dream a couple of nights ago. Did I tell you? I did tell you. Its still with me. Amidst a vague apprehension that I'm going to be that kind sweet old woman in the corner who never married but seemed to be a trooper despite that one sorrow of her life. I was in that kitchen and my boyfriend says, that the one thing he wants from me is a can opener. And I go to a drawer and start to write his name on a small odd looking one but then I realize there's another can opener that I'll give him. Danica thinks that I should buy the can opener so that if there's talk from any boy i meet about can openers i'll know it was a sign from God. Or better yet, out of the blue a boy who doesn't know just hands me the can opener I'm imagining in my mind. We'll see. I had another strange dream last night. I went into this apt and i was like, wow its such a big apartment near the beach! And the more i toured it the bigger it got. And the apt suddenly opened up into a hotel with a long lobby, and a wall of telephones and different areas to sit, and it was an old hotel too, sort of dark, orange, woods like from the 70's- And i thought they got a deal on the apt but really! how awkward, that anyone can just wander into your rooms at any point if they think its part of the hotel. And then i couldn't fit into this old stall, that was the womens restroom. Like it was the size of a linen closet with a wicker door, and I didn't know how any women could fit in there so I went to the mens bathroom which was only slightly more spacious, and then later there was a woman who pointed out this guy named RayR*y who was one of the painters on set and said, oh I used to date him. And i went OMG I know him! Hey RAYR*Y! And then I went OMG! there's Sc*lly! And I ran up to say hello and give him a hug. And then my pastor came by who is my age mind you with a group of guys and they started mocking just a bit Sc*lly and his biker gang who were the MessngersofRecovery-Like ooo! MessngersofRecovery! HA! And I was like no sc*lly, don't knock him out, he's just a little drunk, he doesn't know what he's saying, but another of the gang flew up and punched Joseph right in the face and i was having to keep a brawl from breaking out. And he was on the ground with his head lowered. And I got him up and i was leading him away and he sort of became not quite him, mute and unresponsive but i was like lets keep going, back off guys, he didn't mean it. Then I woke up.

Curious.

Otherwise its a day without dvds to watch. I haven't started on the essays but I'm planning on it. I did some reading outside until I couldn't see the words and thought of you as I was like, oh yah, here we come base tan. I probably should celebrate my year of unemployment date by actually looking for a job. Ironic maybe? Appropriate? That's not really unti Friday though. But I feel some sort of ritual must be performed. I'll have to write you another letter with more conjecture about it, or maybe what I decide on doing. I feel I've blogged this very last sentence before. Hmm. Alas.

ttyl.
m.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Penapalooza,

good afternoon.
so, yah, thanksgiving. ok. here it comes. i'm getting ready to gear myself up for advent but you know ok, turkey. here's the thing. i can't eat the gravy. i have to try a rice flour gravy concoction instead. i mean i hope it tastes ok, but still. and while i am planning on risking approximately 2 small bites of stuffing i mourn the loss of it like a hole in my heart. and no, no other stuffing is the same as that box of mrs.cubbinsons with those spices and celery and onion. period. don't even try it people. i don't want to hear your buckuplittlecamperhave you tried this... nonwheat stuffing. no. i haven't. its not the same. sure i'm going to try pumpkin pie without the crust and yet... you know where i'm going here. its enough to make me think i made this allergy up so i could inconvenience myself and yet no. there it remains. and you can forget things laden with cream too. toppings for said pie, cheesecake is out, even a heavy helping of that famous stringbean casserole bcs of that whole can of cream of mushroom thing. i mean i'll try to cut corners here and there but still. anyway nevermind, i just had to complain. its still going to be delicious despite not being able to eat warm biscuits dripping with butter.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

dear m,

I have so much to say about Wal-Mart, it won’t even fit on Twitter.

First of all… what was I thinking, really. Those non-grocery items I mentioned were also non-Thanksgiving items. Meaning, they could have waited until the weekend to be purchased. At some other store. And I could have just gone to the nice, normal grocery store today. But no.

Second, the moment I realized that Wal-Mart didn’t even have said non-grocery, non-Thanksgiving items, would it not have been reasonable to just turn the cart around and exit speedily from the building? And then head to the nice, normal aforementioned grocery store?

But, no. The parking lot was more crowded than normal, because again, it’s the day before Thanksgiving. I parked about halfway between my house (about 3 miles away) and the store. It was sprinkling. Cold. There were puddles. K.Lo has a cold but doesn’t like to wear her jacket over her summer dresses. Whatever.

On entering the building, I noticed a girl exiting the building who happens to work at Costco. I guess there’s stuff you can’t buy at Costco…otherwise, why would I be there instead of the glorious Costco…but still. Something depressing there I can’t quite articulate.

Immediately, I encountered what would prove to be the most maddening issue of this shopping trip. What kills me about Wal-Mart. The aisles are reasonably wide, enough for two carts to pass each other without problem, and yet. People manage to stagger themselves so that there’s no way to pass. And they just stand there, either oblivious, or rude, or both? For ages. And ages. And AGES.

Cleanup on Aisle 67: my brain just exploded.

And God forbid you forget something on your list that was at the back of the store, which you don’t remember or realize until you’re at the front of the store, inches from the checkout. And freedom.

They didn’t have the size grapevine wreath, or any crafting wreath, really, that I needed for my Advent project. Forget about the candles, who knows where they hide those suckers. And did I really need replacement 40-watt light bulbs today? Nope. So here is the point I should have left, and yet soldiered on over to the groceries, encountering too many incidents of Maddening Aisle Oblivion to count. The children were getting squirrely. N.Lo spilling/smashing his juice cup all over the cart and onto K.Lo, who alternately whined about being smashed/splattered upon and being tired. Not to mention the hunger issue, as it was lunchtime. For future reference, a meager bowl of goldfish consumed in the car before and after yoga is not enough. For anyone.

The carts at Wal-Mart aren’t made so you can stow groceries underneath; most everything falls through the cracks. So I had to stack it all around K.Lo. She sat on the cheese 3 times at least. Squished the bread. Was mauled by a box of Pop-Tarts or some-such.

They didn’t sell candy corns, so the Thanksgiving turkey cupcakes are sadly (not so sadly? I’m sort of relieved) out.

And then, in a crazy moment of consumerist surrealism, the cross-eyed cashier I always avoid at Target was shopping at Wal-Mart and I nearly got in line behind her.

Ahhhh!

We managed to get through the checkout line, but barely, with N.Lo throwing fits over helping load items onto the conveyer belt and me attempting to organize my coupons/pay/load all paid-for items back into the cart around the sleeveless K.Lo and the melting-down N.Lo. Accosted by the bell-ringing man outside who was wearing, like, 3-D glasses? I don’t know? Couldn’t find the car… children jumping in puddles, running out into traffic, blood sugar dropping… We had to take a moment to devour some cheese sticks in a Mozza Moment of Zen before continuing on.

As we pulled away, K.Lo remarked, “That was so much fun!”

I need a nap. And a drink. Luckily, I didn’t forget to buy the wine.

-pen.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

dear m,

It occurs to me that I haven’t weighed myself in months—not because I’m all liberated from the concept of weight, but because at some point I had reencountered a number I hadn’t seen in a long while, and decided I couldn’t bear to see the number rise away again? So even though I know full well I’m least five pounds more now, in my mind I’m still that pseudo-goal weight. Ignorance really can be bliss. Or ignorance. Whichever.

I’ve been to yoga 3x in 7 days and provided all goes according to plan tomorrow, I’ll go again. Sweetness. It is an hour in which I’m allowed to dump/cast aside/quiet all the noise in my mind. I have varying degrees of success on that, but the effort always yields some positive vibes.

I have a lot of side work this week, and so the children unfortunately must be parked in front of the television, especially in the afternoons, and then I feel guilty for that, but what can you do. At least it’s cloudy and damp outside, as I imagine the guilt would be even heavier if it were sunny. Although thinking about the long-term, I’m doubting they’ll be scarred by these moments of intermittent neglect for the sake of some pocket cash. Not too badly, anyway.

In the meantime, I’m fairly certain that I’ll forget something big in regards to hosting Thanksgiving, but plan to enjoy it anyway. The furniture invariably will be dusty, but enough food will be available to all, and really I can’t think of anything better at the moment than lazing around in a post-parade-and-turkey coma.

Sadly, I must brave Wal-Mart tomorrow post yoga, as I have another of those long and random shopping lists that demand economy of both time and funds. Everything from canned cranberry sauce to cupcake frosting to advent wreath materials for church on Sunday. What can you do. Wish me luck.

-pen.

Dear Penelope,

Hello you.
Thanks for your commiseration about the chin hair issue. As it turns out there were no nut-thins to eat the other night. That was sad. It was a specific cheddary crunchyness I was craving. I think i compromised by having a stale rice cake. I did eventually straighten the books on the top shelves, 3 stacks of them reaching and wedged to the ceiling. And I threw another 7" of paper away. They were old bound copies of books, articles, notes, short stories, analysis- from film theory, an ethos and eros course, someones thesis, history of the presidency, art history... classes I really liked or some just provoking. There was something I attached to all that xeroxed paper. Time, expense, an accumulation of thoughts, a certain gesture of the professor to communicate a truth, an idea, or some joy about words, all of it compiled nicely, gathered together. It was hard to part with then. Easier now. I stared at the articles blankly. Kept one collection of short plays from a korean author. Your thesis. A book on world religions. Parts of life are an accumulation and simultaneously a distillation. We shake and filter and sort and add. An endless meditation on what makes up memory and sentiment and aesthetic taste.

The vial of sand from the volcano caught in the wires along with that same small vial of wisdom teeth removed. The flask labeled 'schu' and a dried out orange from some birthday. The etruscan miniature horse from the getty, teal and lovely. The costume jewelry from that dumpster, the candleholder from spain, the ceramic angel and the wooden shoe ornament. The lego man I found buried in the dirt along with an old glass bottle top. My match collection and that vermont teddy bear... for now. My 3 baby blankets and my pound puppy and all those boxes I have in the attic. Nevermind about those.

Yesterday I went to the opera. Which for all its lovilness is essentially tedious. An exercise in patience and excavation like reading Proust or going through all your keepsakes. Your mind wanders, things catch, and if you are very lucky you have gone away somewhere and come back with something to hold.

Now I'm going to go back to watching xfiles and thinking about writing those personal essays for talbot. I did apply to that job I didn't want yesterday. So that was good. Next up temp agencies? Or more job sites? The acupuncturist? Yoga? Swimming? Maybe episodes of 24.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dear Penelope,

I was looking at all my mutant chin hair and I must have scratched a spot and unleashed a hidden 1 1/2" strand of darkness. Nature is cruel. I held it up for inspection. Mom seemed surprised it was black. I was not. But I do have fabulous eybrows. And awesome hair and yet still. There's something insulting about hair growing that long on my face. All of the tweezing, brooding and pore inspecting btw episodes of xfiles and house. What does it lead to but noting plaque build up and grey hairs and yet I find it a meditation btw watching alien conspiracy theories and diagnostic medicine, the truth being out there and all the silly stories that life and imagination compels. Its better than wandering into the moonlight and beseeching God to bring me a husband.

It's been an odd four days. That mysterious illness brought on by an unholy and toxic mix of an el torito sample platter, tequila, wine and salami, reesepieces mnms. Finding myself on a beach for an hour with scallop shells and a barking seal i couldn't see, that was this morning. Tomorrow is the opera Tamerlano. I have no idea what it's about. I had that poetry meeting with glass breaking, shit exclaimed and pablo neruda and anne sexton- favorite phrases: 'i was stamped out like a plymouth fender' and from david ray 'as not too heavy a tug of those albatrosses i sadly placed on their tender necks', the visit to MOCA, the broken glass on the floor, the room of rothkos and thorne reaching up to Giacametti's tall composed women, like she'd identified the origin of man, then there was the thai food and the houses for sale and the friends moving and giving birth and going to school. But I've said all of that before.

So I'm going to go eat some nut-thins and think about straightening the books on the very top shelves.

ROWING, anne sexton
A story, a story!
(Let it go. Let it come.)
I was stamped out like a Plymouth fender
into this world.
First came the crib
with its glacial bars.
Then dolls
and the devotion to their plastic mouths.
Then there was school,
the little straight rows of chairs,
blotting my name over and over,
but undersea all the time,
a stranger whose elbows wouldn't work.
Then there was life
with its cruel houses
and people who seldom touched-
though touch is all-
but I grew,
like a pig in a trenchcoat I grew,
and then there were many strange apparitions,
the nagging rain, the sun turning into poison
and all of that, saws working through my heart,
but I grew, I grew,
and God was there like an island I had not rowed to,
still ignorant of Him, my arms, and my legs worked,
and I grew, I grew,
I wore rubies and bought tomatoes
and now, in my middle age,
about nineteen in the head I'd say,
I am rowing, I am rowing
though the oarlocks stick and are rusty
and the sea blinks and rolls
like a worried eyeball,
but I am rowing, I am rowing,
though the wind pushes me back
and I know that that island will not be perfect,
it will have the flaws of life,
the absurdities of the dinner table,
but there will be a door
and I will open it
and I will get rid of the rat insdie me,
the gnawing pestilential rat.
God will take it with his two hands
and embrace it.

As the African says:
This is my tale which I have told,
if it be sweet, if it be not sweet,
take somewhere else and let some return to me.
This story ends with me still rowing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pen,

You promised me an entire day at the beach. I wanted to remind you. So if you do drive me straight there please do bring a small cooler of food/snacks/drinks and a blanket and prepare to bring a book or i don't know, whatever makes this situation bearable for you. A hat, tons of SPF, etc. Think of it as a ritual now that you'll be 32. I can maybe give you a list of tasks or feats to perform if that helps also. And I'll have been using Jan-March as my base tanning months so I'll be preapred. And do remember pouring down rain visits don't count, nor do driveby, walkbys or crane your neck from the car and get a glimpse, like the last time. So. Sad. Wah.Wah.

I'm excited to see you. I have fond memories of MarioKart Wii. I do remember talk of painting the last time i was there and it is possible but if i had to chose- visit shooting range with j.lo or paint i might chose a gun just because. ;) Though painting doesn't take too long so I guess I can do both. We do have 6 days. All of these lists things sound totally feasible. And it is your birthday. That word will work wonders in getting most of what what you want except the aforementioned.

Today I'm going to yoga and i'm seeing some movie called 'new york, i love you'. I don't love NY. I know every city deserves two visits so I'm holding out final judgement but still. It's at the $2 theatre. A-- is ditching work and I'm going with her after maybe a stop at a tasty food place. Also did you know, I'm officially 33 1/2. My half birthday was on Friday. I hadn't until just now thought of myself as being 34. And yet there it is, looming, not 6 months away. 34, what on earth does it mean and what will it bring. Otherwise I'm more than 1/2 way done with Red Tent. I read most of it yesterday. And besides the awesomeness of moon rituals, somewhat over idealized, I totally dig it. Because women should be able to do nothing and hang out in a tent for 3 days. Why not. Why is there no time in life to acknowledge mystery and sacrifice.

Aside from that I deduced I dont think i have any other allergies except a build up of yeast in my system. Thats my new investigation-- caused by too much healthy cultures, sugar, all that tea i drink, wheat, dairy, and cheese... awesome good times. Muriel said as much the last time but doesn't the absence of wheat and milk nix it for me? Apparently not. Whatever. I mean I mostly cut down on the tea consumption. But I'm holding fast to cheese, fruit and chocolate. For obvious reasons right! Anyway.

So yah, I feel better and have restabilized from the morose thoughts of 2 days ago. I like your fixing thoughts. I encourage you to continue. I myself obviously, go right to fix mode on so many things and I don't get exasperated by such advice, just encouraged. Because I don't necessairly like to sit in problems. I like to route them, delegate them and get them off my plate. No need to dwell here. Move along move along. Until it crops up again and then you and parker can give me the goods and the tea girls can do what they do and i'll be right back to it. Thats what friends are for.

M.

Monday, November 16, 2009

m,

While walking The Loop last time, we were literally one block from the ocean. So this time, perhaps I’ll drive you straight there. Just to be a little obnoxious. :)

Otherwise, your next sojourn to here will have to include:

  • Ghost walk. The good, creepy one.
  • The Loop.
  • Painting? Want to help me paint the master bedroom?
  • MarioKart Wii!
  • YOGA. Wonder if I can get you a guest pass to gym?
  • Church.
  • Photos.
  • Little Dipper Ladies Night.
  • 32nd B-day celebration!
  • And some other great adventure(s), TBD.

Have I mentioned I can’t wait???

pen

Sunday, November 15, 2009

dear m,

If only your day had ended on the tea, rather than the horse-jumping. Although then I suppose the ladies’ work would feel more like damage control, rather than pure support and uplifting of spirit, which I love them for. I’m automatically venomous on your behalf in response to B. But I might practically, or diplomatically, or even optimistically conclude that perhaps it is not one or the other, Should You or Shouldn’t You. Maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Regardless of the Should or Should Not, it seems like this idea of of a spiritual formation and soul care path is very much who you are and the path you are destined to follow. And maybe that means choosing something concrete to go alongside the more nebulous outcome of the degree. Making the choice of, I am interested in X job (specific position or field), and that will be my goal. Teaching, missionary, advisor? And in what context. Who do you wish to work with, to reach. And/or even for now, making that choice to act. Is there something you can get before this program that would propel you forth on this path? Or maybe it is time to try on the different hats and see how they feel. Can you volunteer or even seek out a paying position for the sake of exploration? With your church or elsewhere? I certainly don’t think it is the time to give up, and yes, let B’s words and attitude stoke the fire. Your being is spiritual and abstract and floating; yang beseeches yin to move toward the middle. Do. Reflect, yes, but then Do. I feel like it will ground you, guide you, keep your footing more sure. And while none of us will ever find the nonexistent Perfection in life, occupations included, knowledge or fear of this fact must not keep a person from seeking something close. Think of the light you might bring to people and who they might be, rather than letting the dark swallow that light and its potential.

In my humble opinion-

pen.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Penolin,

Heyo.
I had an interesting slings and arrows sort of day. I went to the very last salon tea. I came close to overdoing the cream and sugar in the tea but persevered along with my quarter sized bite of scone. The frittata was so good though that next time I demand more or 2nds... Aut is close to 2ndbabyville and J is close to NY, new job, selling house self. Both on the brink of monumental change. They include us, danica and i, in the change of changes- and I think certainly D with her kiddo and her already in progress MA is plugging along in the change category, and her possibly new houseowner self speaks of ramping up into something else entirely. I don't feel quite a part of it. I feel in fact, way outside in stationaryville. Sure there's the 'rents moving out, (a year from now?) and me staying, but its not me owning or me with a job. It seems a false step. But then I end up thinking there's something about what I'm doing I don't quite see. A perspective that where I'm going must signal something more than what I see it as. They're excited about it. The ladies as usual, thought i was too quiet, that when I had gotten up to go to the bathroom they'd had a question or two already to go to ask me about my spiritual landscape. . . and were alternately so extremely supportive of my new career as mystic or at the very least degree holder of MA in SF&SC that it seemed a sure thing. A set up to my whole future self. I couldn't, while in their presence, articulate any sort of panic about it not happening, about it not going anywhere... I only managed to say, God willing and I hope so. And i'm proceeding as if its happening, that a job will come and that the end result is me doing this new thing and helping people. I walked out only with a thin thread of a question mark but the rest seemed good and sure and lovely and bolstered up and ready. I couldn't even argue it. Of course I'll get in. Of course I'll get a job so I can pay for it. The fact that bacon fat splattered all over my silk teal dress didn't phase me (much). There was a solution waiting for me at home.

Then I went to have chinese food for dinner and it didn't really satisfy. Not hearty, not quite right. And onward to M's house where I met her and B to see the grandprix of horse jumping? That was fairly cool actually. Though it was just close to my memories of the circus and feeling horribly sorry for the performing bears. But some of the horses were beautiful and spirited and looked like gazelles leaping over the bars. And others I just hoped wouldn't one day end up slaughtered glue. I wanted to see them free in some field munching on grass. I couldn't hear a word B and M said so I was mostly absorbed in hearing the pounding of the hoofs or the telltale hit of a bar signaling a point against the rider, the various ooh!, ooo, of the crowd. I had wine. If i were an instrument my strings would have showed myself taut and hitting a lower chord. Twang.Twang.Twang. All the while we sat there, the flip between having tea with the girls and having a brief conversation with B about "career" paths... and "vision" left me floundering on a hook and gasping. And all it took were two or three sentences to undo the determined work the women of tea did. B showed signs of hating her job, but still encouraging me to apply to that other job (volunteer/event coordinator) at her place, but then asking me what i did for work- when you know me, what can i answer but anything? everything? nothing at all? or what does it matter? And the way she asked it made me feel I'd already failed, and that she wasn't going to really "help me" get it, and then on the way there she said, I don't mean to discourage you but there's no jobs out there for spirtual direction- (she's a chaplain and actively looking)- and part of me already had that illuminating discovery at the schools meet and greet. It was the first chink in the armor- apprehension, "purpose", all of this for nothing? Wasn't this thing of all things suppose to lead to SOMETHING? Nothing ever has before this so why start now, I countered, I could volunteer my time to my church. What did it matter? And yet still the fabric of my courage began to tear. Pointlessness. The flaming arrow hit its intended target with accuracy. And she herself, who probably didn't "mean" to discourage me delivered the blow in such a way and in such a tone, that she meant to do exactly that. Speak death right into my hope and into my life. I am discouraging you quite deliberately she meant to say. The result of all your work will be, nothing at all.

And there I went, down,down,down, to where I had been seeing just below the fabric of friendly motivation and insight. The truth of it- I don't want to come out of this and go back to the same pointless existence as before- the same meandering job searches, the positively unmotivated days of what to do- i really did want direction. And all of it came seeping in- then why bother? But then I think- what else do I have? All I have is that to go toward. There's not even a job to encourage me to stay the course. It's just a feeling. It's just the tea girls and Lauralee. With their thumbs up saying, stay the course. And most everyone saying, that's perfect for you!

It is isn't it? And then back to B and the poison she injected right into my heart, because she's depressed and struggling and now i'm right down there with her. But then I think if God really does want me to do this it doesn't matter, if at the end of it there's still nothing, does it? It feels like all i have. What can I lose?

And for a few moments in between all this I felt complete contempt or disdain for B. Bordering hate. And maybe thats a good thing. Shows me that its important. Shows me I really want it, and that maybe I won't let anything get in my way? I don't know. I guess I'll go to bed now. Try to undo the damage up on the mountain of joy, far far up in the snow, wrapped in longfurred wraps against the cold, so warm that the snow is just a beautiful effect and the angels in synch with the snow, how they tell me to be still and quiet and rest. But to just look out into the vast white glory with the wind and all the future not quite mattering as much as what i'm doing just at the moment of being where i'm suppose to be.

m.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

dear m,

P1040486I finally seized the day and crafted a bit for Thanksgiving. Not much, as I found selection at the craft store woefully lacking, but still there are some things. My favorite is the vase full of fall grasses. I did go through a fleeting not so long ago in which I shunned all fabricated flowers and greenery, but it occurs to me lately that they contain their own beauty. If they are not tacky, that is. I don’t feel like these are tacky, and in fact, I love the way they spill over, an exuberant mix of deep purples, oranges, browns and greens, and they way they move under the kitchen fan breeze.

We will host Thanksgiving this year, and in the meantime, it occurred to me yesterday evening that I have fewer than 3 weeks to complete several magazine articles. We are all behind. Hmm. So I hope to find this situation inspiring, rather than grim.

But I’m fighting off something… currently, head is fuzzy, muscles ache, perhaps a bit of a cough and sore throat. Possibly pad thai for dinner, made by someone other than me?

When will your next harvest be ready, and did you see this past/final challenge on ProRun? Drawing inspiration from none other than the Getty museum. I thought of you and your mom.

love, penolin