Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Today I, by M

I feel... like a light blue puddle of paint on a cleanwhite piece of paper.

pinecone, caked with pollen


That’s how thick it gets around here. It’s the most beautiful time of the year, weather-wise, but also the most vexing. This yellow powder dusts every imaginable surface outside and (if the windows are open, which they should be in these perfect temps) inside.

Scratchy throat, watery eyes, and ah-choo!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Today I, by M

I feel... like a small red laquered box, with yellow florets on the border. I am unlatched and slightly open.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Today I, by M

I feel like: a small light pink rubber ball floating in my garden. I'm leaving little trails of glitter here and there... everywhere. And my little tiny hands come out to try and sweep up the glitter with pan and stiff thistled brush, before it makes a mess.... but the wind catches it and it seems to be everywhere. I am both delighted and a bit apprehensive about it. It occurs to me my cleaning supplies are inadequate.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


So I’ve been dreaming about this house for months now, knowing, or so I thought, that on March 23rd a contest would begin to win it. I had the page bookmarked, and the date set in my mind. Note that I know full well I will not win this contest, but the fact that a date actually adhered itself to my brain for awhile with an actual corresponding event attached is noteworthy. It was kind of important. So this week I go to enter the contest, which is actually a Choose Your Home Giveaway where you pick one of four homes that you would like to live in. But then I start to notice that it’s not actually the same home, the Idea House that was a total dream in my mind. It’s a smaller cabin-style house in the same development as the Idea House. And none of the four giveaway houses is actually any bigger than the one we currently own; they are the same size or smaller. So, beggars can’t be choosers, but I feel misled. The magazine never actually said that the Idea Houses were the giveaway houses, but it was strongly implied throughout the ad campaign leading up to the contest. I feel a little bit like the imaginary rug in the imaginary house’s foyer has been pulled out from under my little dream. The word lame comes to mind. I’m still entering the contest, twice a day as is allotted, and will choose the mountain house as my intended destination. But rather than be the new house where I’ll live when I don’t win, it will have to be the house we actually *go away* to when we have the chance, and possibly set up as a timeshare, and then maybe someday we will retire there. I have no idea why I feel let down about something that was never going to happen to begin with, but I do. Because if you’re going to dream impractical dreams, I feel the dream should be fully impractical, and not just partially impractical, with no third bedroom, upstairs book nook, or circular back porch, not to mention a smaller master bath.

Monday, March 23, 2009


This post is sooo long overdue, but here I am. After K.Lo’s Bouncy Party in January, I was all psyched on the idea of bouncing, and wished to muse. I briefly pondered the purchase of a trampoline, and still it remains tucked away on my secret wish list for someday. Maybe when the children are older and I can better justify the monetary and yard space costs? All I know is, it’s an amazing workout: cardio and calves both feel the burn. But so much better is the experience of bouncing. It is instant tele-transportation back to childhood. It is brain on ice. There are very few activities in my world where I feel freedom from thought. Not of thought; there is plenty of that. From thought. Most nights I have trouble getting to sleep because I can’t shut my mind down, and must make a concerted effort to do so. It’s an interesting problem to have, over-thinking. Not bad necessarily, just interesting. Maybe that’s just what it is to be a girl. It is my personal advantage and disadvantage, assisting me only up to a point. For instance, I type really well—until I start to think about it. Same thing with walking. Talking. And parenting. It’s why I’m bad at exercise as well, too much time and space to think about the action of exercise, and ponder its futility. All exercise should be like bouncing, where there is nothing to do but bounce and fully immerse oneself in the physical action of it. And in a bouncy castle, creepy as m claims them to be, all I see, all I know in that space is color and laughter and the green and blue and brown world tossing about just on the other side of the net, and it’s a beautiful thing.






Friday, March 20, 2009

Dear Penelope

the girl's shift key on the computer is out.
she knows this is a pain, but feels otherwise that she will not write at all.

today the girl feels like a faint rainbow that's about to disappear into the blue sky. she doesn't think anyone saw her but she is assured she is a rainbow nonetheless.

this last week she went hiking and she was staring at a strange man wearing a square backpack that looked like he had been in the wilderness for a few days so as he came down she moved wide to the right to get a better look at him out of the corner of her eye. she passed the man and thought she would say good morning. he said, did you see the rattlesnake?

rude, the girl thought. plain rude. not even a good morning. she did nonetheless turn back from where she'd just walked and there was a young rattle snake slowly slithering into the scrub brush. she could not ascertain if she would have seen it otherwise or how close to her it had really been. it paused and turned back, as if it too, were highly offended by the interruption of its day, but i guess it is better that its off the trail.

the girl proceeded to tell the man that she'd never seen one on the trails before, and he said, annoyingly- yup that's a rattlesnake, look at the rattles.

uh, duh! that was not what the girl was saying.

anyway the girl was not there for that. she was there because her dad's side of the family is crazy, and that a walk in the hills would do her good. and she felt, appropriate too the moment, that she was in a small western, gun-slinging town and the sun was high and beating down hard from overhead... which made her feel uncomfortable and the words, distasteful might fly out of her victorian mouth, about everything up until that moment. and all that she said, was, that started the whole thing- a small blaze anyway, was, "why did so and so hit your dad?"

and then the cousin who was sipping a beer and eating pulledporkbbq sandwich said, what are you talking about? (thwak went the flaming arrow.)

but the girl, who ate with her pinky out, and genteelly sipped her tea, murmured surprise that she knew something the boy didn't know. and very matter of factly told what she knew, which wasn't much. but then the boy got mad after he left the girl and called his father, who said it was true and that it did happen, but this is how it really happened, see... and then the boy who was sick in the gut for his father and his whole life and this awful man who'd hit his peaceful father, called his short-fused trigger happy brother, who despised the man equally for his whole life more than he despised his own father and mother, went over to so and so and gave him a peace of his mind and good talking to- to stand up and act like a man, so that the boy wouldn't do something he regretted. and well words were exchanged and the police were called... but nobody died, which is what would have happened maybe if the boy had gone over there.

and then the boy calls to warn the girl about what she'd accidentally started, and how, he was sorry but he was so angry. and then the boy's brother called and talked about what happened. and then the girl talked to her mother and the day passed into night and then the girl's father called and said, what did you say to the boy! i've got so and so on the line and they're telling me blah blah blah. and use some discretion when you're talking to people and passing things in confidence.

and the girl said, if it involves the truth she certainly wouldn't and the actions and events of a family don't go back to just one moment, but choice after choice, year before years, until you're back at the beginning and saying, you just don't love me that's all. you hate me. why are you a bad person. why are you on drugs. lost jobs, disputes, stolen money, molestation, property exchanged, adultery... and fucking crazy den of evil, rotted vine, and diseased family tree sort of thing--really, it could all be reduced to those things...

and not, what did the girl say to the boy. though she knows her words set off a trap.

she decided though after going up the mountain and coming back down to try and love a little bit more- to her father and the boy and his brother. which she thought, the lack of love, was the root of most of the trouble. and as she jogged a stretch in the road on the way down, feeling mostly safe from the lions and watching closely for snakes, her lungs felt free and her body barely tired at all. she thought she could just keep on walking into the wilderness forever.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pre-Occupations, by M

this is my foray into graphics and text... its more grim than i'm sure musicals normally lean to - but i've only ever read the book... though friends cath and kerry and i think even amber tried to enlighten me to its musical qualities... some musical numbers, about won't somebody love me someday and roses and wheelbarrows and i don't know what. anyway i was preoccupied by this for a good couple weeks. and it's turned into a mighty fine poster- which i'll have to snap a pic of when i can. oh, and it's for my old k-12- look at me doing pro bono art stuff for my alma mater. crazy eh.

Monday, March 16, 2009

30-31: Reflections

Overall, I’d give 30 a thumbs-up, though I generally have better luck with the odd-numbered birthdays. Which is a positive for this upcoming year, right? I just like being in my 30s, so much better than the 20s, and especially better than the teens. It’s like I’ve *arrived.* Like this is who I am supposed to be. Although I still have many, many moments of uncertainty and other imperfections, I feel like it is generally a wiser, more productive era of penelope. I feel a better sense of direction and purpose over the present and future. Nothing *big* happened this year, for which I am honestly, entirely grateful. I’ve had a lot of bigness crammed into a very small amount of time, and I’m preferring to let the results of that bigness (marriage, home, children) unfold just as they are for a little while before I invite more in.

Meanwhile, I have nothing *big,* per se, planned for this year, either, but a lot of small things, which tend to culminate into something. I will read, I will exercise. I’ll do a few house projects and spend time outside, and garden. I’ll try to pry myself away from Facebook more, but will keep writing on my blogs, which is important. Will appreciate good relationships. Eat well. Maybe plan a family trip? I’d like to go camping, at least. Listen to self, tend to self, taking especially into account my own limits. And weather storms small and large, remembering that they all do pass, that the sun will eventually shine.

Today, I’m thinking: Nikki’s sushi for dinner with J.Lo. Ponder the brilliant shadowbox. And maybe figure out some sort of a chocolate sauce, for which I have some strawberries.

Happy Birthday Penelope, by M

To My Darling Penelope,

Happy Birthday. This is how I see you- full of mischief and good will and your spirit rising out of some mythical place to set the balance of the world right. Your Latin phrase is a homage from the gilmoregirls "In Omnia Paratus: Ready for anything." Because you and I are part of a society of friends that only we belong. And it is something in the adventure of our lives I hope we both have occasion to rise to. There's another secret phrase in the box for you to discover.

I hope this year for you burns bright and is rich with friends, adventure and an inner flourish and nourishing of your soul and spirit. And may we continue to discover all the good things about one another- weird things, funny things... things that make us real and not imaginary, and that 31 is welcome and treats you right.

With all my love,

(Having only visited Pen's house after I made the box, I realized it was a little wild and youthful for her decor, a little chaotic, busy and bright- but to me its more of her interior world and behind it is her soothing exterior of calm and order- woods, muted tones, wine corks and clean parameters. I hope she likes it.)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Reality of Coloring Books, by M

When I stayed at Pen's casa i took meticulous care to color in a drawing of fish- stunning in its color scheme, if i do say so my self. It is now on their refrigerator.

In my yearly examination of what exactly is in the 13 boxes in the crawl space- why aren't they in use... why do i still have them- My favorite items to come across besides my first cabbage patch kid, Hannah are my Strawberry Shortcake and CareBear coloring books from 1982 and 84 respectively...which i've always been responsible of saving my own stuff, so it's not like my mom threw these in a box and forgot about them. I've cherished them. Besides the encouraging 105% i must have given myself on the first one, and the fine display of coloring of strawberry in her bed, a more disturbing portrait emerged. Of grading, rather harshly my contemporaries, at 6 and 8 years of age. Maybe i was just 'mirroring' teachers... or illustrating above average in visual interprativeness... but more basically I myself, as my brother was 6 years older, had a problem with sharing... and the 'this is mine'... and 'you're ruining it'... a little bit controlling maybe? I'm ever amused. As having known and been convicted about this trait, have fought to curb it with varying degrees ever since. That and I stopped letting people draw in my Strawberry Shortcake coloring book and sacrificed the care bears instead.

mi casa es schu casa

Come on, I’ve been holding back that pun for a good two months now. It was time to unleash it onto the world. Here is m’s fish from our fridge, which clearly gets an A+++.



Saturday, March 14, 2009

Signs and Wonders, by M

this ugly can abandonded by the garage door was about to be violently dealt with until I saw this little guy resting by his cacoon. i think he was pretty tired. he didn't move for most of the day and all of the night until the next morning around 10 he opened his wings for us... may he have a long good butterfly life.

Friday, March 13, 2009

dear blog,

Apologies for my pronounced neglect this week. Am currently vacationing in Book Land with Alice and Charlie Blackwell and the tale of American Wife. My idle mind ponders little else, except maybe the sunshine and flowers that were out all week and then suddenly this morning disappeared. And the looming issue of Exercise, and what to do about it. Nothing appeals anymore. Am stuck in a sort of resentful and unproductive inertia that human beings should even have to exercise to begin with, why can’t we be naturally toned and fit from the comfort of our couches, or even the comfort of outdoors, swinging the children on the swings and pondering what vegetables and herbs will go in the garden. Oh and one more thing: why exactly did the Red Tent ever go out of fashion. Because seriously, in the midst of the rainy, chilly weather that looms for the next six or so days, my mood is an exact reflection and I mainly feel useless, if not detrimental, to societies large and small. Although remembering the past days of sunshine and light, I did purchase a set of four exciting snack bowls to replace the white set I found aesthetically displeasing based on shape alone: the new set is black on the outside with a beautiful shiny red on the inside. They make everything they hold taste better, I don’t know why. And the banana cake in the fridge with the cream cheese frosting remains a daily highlight. And my fa-mii-ly all seems (knock on wood) to be well and happy for the time being. A Smartini cabin retreat in the mountains looms large on the horizon that is April, along with a local herb fair at the end of March, not to mention a potentially exciting secondhand sale tomorrow in which I hope to procure a double stroller that may assist the aforementioned Exercise issue, even if I’m skeptical that walking will really be that effective or efficient, calorie-burning-wise. Maybe it will be so, over time? Lastly, in my even-more-sensitive-than-usual state I am perhaps a little more than vaguely concerned about m and her absence, like what is going on 3000 miles away and I hope she’s not entrenched and spiraling in her dark place, but seizing the free time that lies before her to create and dream and realizing above all that she’s all kinds of awesome and fully worthy and able to accomplish even the most lofty of goals, however unattainable they at times seem. I worry that instead she’s hiding out in a bunker somewhere with access only to Netflix Watch-It-Now and our game of Facebook Scrabble, which inarguably have their value, but what about the art supplies, and let’s not forget the mountains and the sky and the trees.

That is all I have for now, my dear blog... 



Red Tent, barren landscape. It has a certain appeal.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

my fa-mii-ly

When entertaining sick children, one must get creative. Why not make them little Mii’s for the MarioKart Wii. All I know is, it made K.Lo smile, and I therefore consider the venture a success.




M: You’ll note that I change my Pen Mii just a little from when you visited. Approve? Obviously I needed some sort of hair update, and I felt like my complexion needed a little warming.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday, by M

I wasn't originally going to just complain about this- I was going to tell you about the beautiful day and the bikeride and the clear landscape of the mountains surrounding the valley- but then all I can think about lately is being doomed to singlehood without a family of my own, strangled by my own debt and unable to be a strong independent spurt from the grove, unable to survive, yet, without the main grove which continues successfully despite my leeching. Most days I feel God has put me here. Other days I feel imprisoned- a glorious captivity but still nonetheless...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Hikers Unite

After some roadblocks because some woman was threatening suicide with a gun we finally after a couple diversions got to a hiking spot- not thee imagined hiking spot- because suicidal people are fucking selfish. It's all about mememe and my suffering. Ive been depressed before, I get it. But it doesn't make it any more or less lame. or Tragic even. So off we went considering the problem of people and the beauty of little purple flowers. Callie and I explored the Edison Road. It keeps us too close to the 210. Which you know, noisy freeway stuff but we conquered some really steep roads and found a rock that made us feel like kids again-- as if we stopped. It was a good time.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Enclosed Spaces

dear you,
i'm reading this book about found letters and notes and eating little broccoli trees with hummus. we'll see how long this sort of good behavior lasts. i even took the dogs for a walk. is it too much to say also that i'm on the first part of leviticus, getting back to reading the bible all the way through because I miss it. and that i wish you could know this part of me. this church going, faith having part of me. or that you were here to take a walk up the hill with me or walk on my back because its sore.

behind all of the lists is the ticking of time too. the calendar. the physical days passing. not quite sure what productivity means or if i should disavow the word or if maybe being schooled in discipline is a better, surer thought? that's really what the ordering of the lists mean. that is why the lists started. discipline.
  1. read bible
  2. check email
  3. stay away from facebook
  4. walk dogs
  5. paint
  6. go on a hike?
  7. ?
  8. go see Das Rheinhold by Wagner... pack: burbon, nuts, cheese and chocolate for the 2.45 performance.
  9. stop being so good at wasting time

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


In my effort to keep up the posting even if I haven't written any other words then these are that I had a 3d experience. It cost me $14 in a gigantic theatre with 7 other people. $2 to park. But it was a day untomyown. I read a book, I ate a delicious burger, I workedout even, and then there I was, watching some creepy little flick about a girl and "the others" with button eyes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Words, Words, Words

Pen has admonished me lately for my complete and utter silence. And I can only blame all this traveling and going here and there that it doesn't seem like I've been jobless as much as unsettled, and so lacking traction have I been that in my freetime I watch copious amounts of Netflix and pick up projects that have been on my todo list for over a year instead of ones I should be doing-right-this-minute. One of them is my quilt which is now pieced together and waiting for the next phase. The 2nd is this masterpiece above. Selected emails dating from 2001 to the present day 2009. It's never been seen by anyone before, but I take satisfaction in knowing that it's on a shelf in my closet, now uptodate and that I've thought very heavily about who out of my friends could physically and mentally bear reading so much of me. Or that in all those words do any of them contain complaints about said friends? Possibly. And that posthumously they would chose to not hate me for said rash words and know how much I love them. But I digress- really this is just standing proof that the letter isn't dead or the art of conversation... it's alive and well in my hotmail folder and in the dark folds of my heart (closet). And now I can go back to procrastinating about other more or less important things.

Adios for now.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

recent findings, (in)conclusions

  • I do not, nor possibly will I ever, enjoy brown rice.
  • Same goes for whole grain pasta, although I *might* give it another chance.
  • Until then, I plan to fully enjoy my nutritionally valueless refined pastas and rice. Yum.
  • Most of the other grains I eat are whole, with no HFCS. I know too much to eat differently, anymore.
  • It’s very difficult to find hot dog buns without HFCS. Even from the grocery store bakery, you still might not find them.
  • Antiperspirants make my underarms hurt (random? or is it), so I’ve switched, as an experiment, to all-natural deodorant.
  • I’ve tried two different kinds, and one works just fine, although it’s not summer yet. If you know what I’m saying. My underarms felt much better.
  • The other kind totally still make my underarms feel weird, and I swear that it made my boob hurt, too. A lot.
  • Just because you can’t google the pain, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
  • I’m kind of lucky that I don’t sweat much, though.
  • Not exercising aids this issue. There’s a positive. Of not exercising.
  • Although, I did exercise twice this past week. For the first time in forever.
  • Organic Braeburn apples are stop-in-your-tracks tasty.
  • Costco is still the most convenient place for me to buy produce. Even if it’s mostly not organic, and definitely not local.
  • Whatever. It’s like, wherever and whenever possible.
  • I love dark chocolate, a whole lot.
  • Farm-fresh eggs? Yes.
  • Pure & Natural soap smells really good and comes in a container with baby’s breath seeds in it. You can plant the container, for real, and thusly enjoy the plant.
  • However, despite its Pure & Naturalness, it still makes me break out.
  • Aveeno soap remains the only soap that doesn’t make me break out. Fragrance or fragrance-free, doesn’t matter. Aveeno, thumbs-up.
  • J.Lo hates the Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap I bought, which is rhubarb-scented. Upon further examination, I don’t blame him. Will probably donate said dish soap to a better cause.
  • The glass and countertop cleaners, however, are not not as offensive. And, they work.
  • I still use bleach to clean the bathroom, occasionally. Don’t foresee this habit changing. Mainly because it works. Kicks the shit out of some mold and germs.
  • Are you still listening? I totally don’t blame you if you aren’t.
  • Actually, I’m not sure we have a substantial blog audience anymore, anyway.
  • Everyone’s on Facebook, or else living their “offline lives,” or whatever.
  • And that’s fine. I’m glad that, in addition to a Facebook account and a life offline, I still have a journal.
  • And a space that is just Pen & M’s.
  • However, if you are still listening, we love you.
  • I can’t think of anything else to say. And it’s bedtime.

Penelope out!