Sunday, August 30, 2009

dear m,

The hills aren’t on fire here, and in fact it’s pretty lazy … I’m occupying space but in a good way? With a few tiny concerns buzzing in the back of my mind like houseflies, pesky, but I accept that they are there. Like losing a friend on Facebook and not knowing who it was, which is usually a good indication that the “friendship” was tenuous at best. And typically it’s a case of someone paring down their friends list to the essentials (understood) or canceling their account altogether for reasons unknown, but yet it bugs and fascinates me, the idea of someone going through the list and being all, Yeah… I’m done with her. Hmm! Because granted many are mere acquaintances from yesteryear, but I think of them in only friendly terms? And feel that if we met in person again we’d probably have a real conversation or whatever. So I’ve been the victim of someone's housecleaning, I won’t dwell.

Speaking of housecleaning, I’ve been dying to mention to whomever will listen that Method stainless and granite cleaners are exactly the same, just a different bottle. I would swear to it. They smell the same, clean the same; the listed ingredients: same.

There are still a few rooms I haven’t dusted. I feel like as soon as I get to them, it will be time to start the rotation over again and really, what’s the point.

Today we planted radishes, lettuce, and carrots as one of our end-of-summer crops. Actually, K.Lo planted the seeds, which I love. And this time the bed has been properly composted and enriched with new organic Miracle Grow soil and I’m hoping it will work wonders. The other bed is still in progress, with the okra still producing, but caterpillars are ravaging all, and the tomatoes will probably be done away with soon, the soil treated and turned, and then we’ll try again. We will have tomatoes by summer’s true end.

We never went to the beach. One of these days, when we move to the mountains, we’ll vacay at the beach and be there every day of the week, getting someone else’s sheets all sandy and soaking it all in. I’m just saying.

Meanwhile, I’m reading Percy Jackson, the first book, and it’s a pretty fast and addictive read. I gave up on another chick lit book because I looked ahead like I always do, and it turned out the mother character dies, from a recurrence of cancer, and I was beyond miffed. The cover has a cupcake on it, for heaven’s sake, with fluffy icing. Don’t deceive me like that.

J.Lo marinated some chicken wings in a honey-teriyaki sauce tonight and grilled them, and they were all kinds of tasty.

I’m sitting in the dark with K.Lo as she is on the brink of sleep, although she is curled up with a large, clunky plastic toy, and I totally don’t get it. Will be in later to soundlessly remove and recover child with only soft things.


Dear Penelope, by M

My backwoods are on fire. I imagine that if the winds had been stronger even my home in the flatlands would have surely been in jeopardy. And a monumental disaster in the making. As it is now the fire continues its march into the wilderness and hopefully no serious devastation will occur. Because that would be unfortunate even if the fire itself is good and cleansing for the land and all the years of unburned waste and debris going up and out into nitrogen which feeds the soil and guarntees more growth and seeds and the cycle continues. Still you know no one wants to pick what carfull of things they would save. My aunt and uncle had to evacuate in their matching lexus' and i wonder what they picked. And hopefully their house is ok so that in the end it doesn't matter but still I know someone who's faced the universal question. Though my mom didn't want to bother them so I didn't get an answer just that theyre playing bridge to keep their minds off things. And I myself ever since news coverage began have been wary of living in the "hills" percisely for the perpetual fire and flood incidents which seem in some degree to be absolutely inevitable.

I was with my friends after church, eating mexican food and it reminded me in class when I was young, it was always a discussion- and because i went to a private christian school, invariably a few people would say, of course i would take my bible- 1 thing of maybe 3 lets say, if you had no time. I said, well luckily you can get it online nowadays so maybe just snatch your harddrive or grab your laptop. I'd have a problem with space bcs of all the photoalbums i have. That wouldn't be a 1 object but a trunk full and my art i suppose. Who cares about clothes in the end, except for maybe my passport and jewelry.

Right now its 92 in my room. I find that lack of a/c builds character. It sort of gives you that I'm tough and strong and I can take it. (bragging rights) And gives you an excuse to blantantly walk around in your matching black bra and underpants. With a fan and a spraybottle and a giant vat of iceladen sparkling water. But let that go. You know i'd rather have a/c then all that ridiculous character building anyway. Who cares if it doesn't make for a good story.

Right now I'm watching netflix watch now and waiting till I go out to dinner, which is approximately 1.5 from now. So I won't even get into my thoughts about girls and dating and how sometimes we all just seem to get swept away.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

dear m,

What do you think about vitamins in liquid form as opposed to pill form. Or do you take them at all. J.Lo hypothesizes that in liquid form, the body more willingly absorbs these nutrients, whereas I hypothesize that the liquid substance smells bad and tastes even worse, so it’s inconsequential. I take a pill to make up for whatever nutrients I may be missing in my diet, like an insurance policy, and leave it at that.

I may need the neti pot at this moment. My nose has been inexplicably stuffy all week. But do I want to smell that vitamin drink even more acutely? I do not.

Today in the grocery store parking lot, I pulled N.Lo out of the car, and he was wearing his “shades,” and I was laughing, and then all of a sudden my ankle twisted into a pot hole, and I fell, smacking N.Lo’s little noggin into the side of the car. Awfulness. He only fussed for a minute, but I hated the way his neck slung back and if he had been smaller… anyway, my knee and pride suffered the most damage. After K.Lo came home from preschool, she said, “Hey, what happened to your knee? Where did you get your boo-boo?” And so I told her the story of the scrape, and she said, “Did you cry?” and then, “I think you need a band-aid or something.” And so we marched back to the medicine closet, where she very authoritatively unlocked the door and opened it, all the while telling me about her new stash of Hello Kitty band-aids, from which it was very clear I was going to be borrowing. And then she unwrapped the band-aid and applied it expertly to my knee. And then later, N.Lo began to pick at the pink Hello-Kitty band-aid, and when I told him no, he backed off and gave the boo-boo a kiss instead.

I think I’ll keep them.

Meanwhile, I’m attempting to keep the thinking to a minimum except where it’s not possible.  And I exercised extreme willpower the other day in ordering one and only one item from Old Navy during their free shipping promotion, which was a skirt that I love to wear everysingleday, but it’s in a different color. So now I’ll have two. Khaki and green.

I never did the spin class, which still seems scary to me, but maybe someday? The knee doesn’t exactly hurt, but it clicks, and it’s all weird, and I’m just not sure. Same with step? Why may I ask do they not offer more kickboxing. And/or yoga. I will continue to be perplexed as they keep the schedule the same and even cut classes due to budgetary (schmudgetary) constraints.

Tomorrow is Friday again and we have plans to go to the beach (gasp!) in the evening, just me and the children meeting friends, but then again I feel like there’s supposed to be a hurricane not onshore but offshore exactly around that time? Could prove to be dicey.

Tonight is ProRun, and I’m excited, although I admit last week, I was more captivated by the all-star challenge, which I still can’t fully wrap my head around.



Dear Penelope, by M

I had a weird dream just now. My brothers old mustang, we weren't at our house but somehousethatwasourhouse- that's how dreams go. And there was a bonsai giant sequoia growing up through the ground straight into middle of the interior, almost reaching the roof. I laughed, nature will always get the better of us. And I like that feeling. I looked again and it had been cut in half because naturally trees, giant or otherwise, probably shouldn't be allowed to grow through cars. I took pains to reassemble it and show mom. Because I knew it would delight her also. She was running in her dreams last night. A good exuberant exercise of a run. I told her that it sounded like a good dream to have.

Yesterday I went to a jewelry store and the owner had a shrine to the god ginesh. For a false god he seems to be a fairly nice god being part elephant and all. I always remember that Simpsons episode where Homer ruins Apo's wedding by tramping around as the GodGinesha.

Today I'm going to LACMA. I pronounce the A softly. Like Autumn. So LA is more of a La, la, la. and the C is a hard k sound, M is mmm, and the last A is soft again. But to me it sounds like a crass accent. Because technically L.A.C.M.A. Los Angeles County Museum of Art.... Angeles has a hard sound. But who wants to say L-AKMUH. when they could say LAWK-MUH. Is all I'm saying. And there's a sculpture there that people can add to- their own brightly colored plastic objects. I'm appropriating my moms container of Tide (bright orange) and taking a mostly used chartruse lint roller. Pretty exciting. Last time we tried to go, the museum was Cuh-losed.

Yesterday I picked up Kerry from the airport, because you know, she helped orphans in Africa. And Africa you know is so 80's. and synonimous with aids which is also sooo 80's. India is really where its at if we were to mark cultural interest so she's going against the grain. And she brought me these suedeish/leather shoes called "safari shoes"... I think i must have complimented her pair at one point and so when she went again. And i was just surprised because its random and I love that she's bold enough to buy me shoes. I am never a bold gift giver. Sometimes. But I just don't buy with abandon like others do- like gift giving is a true "gift" and talent for some and a bane to others. She also got me swiss dark chocolate. But I love love love that she bought me shoes. It's like, i know, that if she ever goes to Holland I can tell her to pick up a pair of clogs and she totally will.

Today I will drive to Danica and then we'll go to mid-wilshire together. Hopefully the a/c is working as summer is back up a notch to where it should be for August in LA. And I'm going to get an electric hotwater pot. It's not as idyllic as a kettle but I like the idea of having options and she got it from Muriel and she doesn't need two.

So anyway, I'm off to watch s1,d4,x-files and put vaporub on my toe and drink my iced tea.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Dear Penelope, by M

I almost didn't respond to this in time because I was too busy tending to MY imaginary farm. I think if I can make it to level 30 I can lay off a bit. But once you hit level 25, my it takes forever. Sure before that you're just sailing from one level to the next, collecting friends and various fruit trees then BAM! your stuck. No amount of pepper and pineapple harvesting advances you. So you just wait for the day you can put in that river and buy the new farm house and you finally get there but you still can't buy red crocus flowers or plant blueberries and you get so bored and you have so much money you just start sticking waterwells everywhere and buying llamas. There is always something. That's the thing.

Yesterday in the middle of watching x-files my wheel popped off my chair so i figured out how to remove all of them to even it out- the side benefit of this arrangement was removing about 9 years of hair and lint that came off like perfectly round coils. Makes me grateful for the roommate I had, as unhappy as she was, because her dad worked for a chair manufacturing place and at first they were going to give me this little secretary chair, and I felt like an ungrateful asshole when i said, sorry, it wouldn't work- but really, pen, my ass could barely fit on that chair. And this chair and I, well we've had a good run. And i'm so glad on the next trip her dad gave it to me. And nonetoosoon as the next semester she was gonesville and right when i repainted the front room that beige color to placate her. That beige color was never MY idea. But I still have the chair and that restaurant sign- that's the important thing. That and your health.

Which brings me to whether or not you should spin like your buns are on fire. It's like me and my jogging stints. And now my hips hurt and my right knee screams at me everyday for the last 2 months. Because there was some overdoing it there. It's like as much as I'd want to climb a pyramid or a ziggaurat- the question is: should i? That clicking in the knee thing- that's the real crux right there. True though sometimes you have to push yourself to see where you're at. Give yourself a challenge. It's like me coming back from my trip and jog/walking a 15 min mile. That's fast for me. But there were consequences. And you don't even have all that weight on you. So maybe try it. See if you're in a more aggressive energy phase and do it. Because sometimes its a good thing to go beyond and then come on back down to earth. Maybe its like your a fish doing a flop out of water and back in again? And the coming back in breaks all the old barnacles off your body and gives you a nice new clean feeling.

But meanwhile you're going to NYC and before that I'm going to Chicago. And after that we're going to come back and be in a new month and a new phase of things even though that hardly seems right. But maybe its like that with activism. It's not that hope is extinguished or that it doesn't change anyones mind but maybe its not your fight right now. Your fight is with litmus tests and clicking knees and the weather. And mine is whether I'm going to go back to school and get a degree in Spiritual Formation and SoulCare, no seriously, despite the money, its something I can see myself doing. It seems so right it must be folly. It's like when I moved to Chicago and hadn't even visited the city. Just shipped my stuff to an address and took a taxi into the city thinking what on EARTH did i just do? And my friend at the time said, its actually quite a you thing to do. Maybe its like that. Sometimes we have to act and do and other times God just says, wait... and you think that's not him, thats me being lazy and irresponsible and if i were just a little bit more this way I wouldn't have a problem with this. So if i could just search a little more and push a little harder then it's going to be ok. But really either God is going to reform me or not or use me the way he wants to use me-- like you and like activism and your poison pen letters- a necessary venting, and a very you thing to do. Think of all those refunded bank overdrafts- a good battle. A worthy battle. True activism.

I only have a little bit more time because I'm going to a bead store and then swimming and finding a book on St. Ignatious is in my future. The thing about the school- it was like i had this passing thought and then Danica reaffirmed it for no particular reason. Like dreaming about a red cup, missing it, wishing you had it, and your friend says, here is this red cup. It's for you. I thought of you exactly when i saw it. We'll see is all i can say. And I'll tell you more soon.

Oh, also- i watched ProRun and it did please me to see that warm golden baked skyline of LA but the characters and the tears and the nuttiness suddenly had me thinking, can i do this again?

Right now, before I go, I'm going to watch these guys- i think in light of your suspicion of govt, they're rollickingly appropriate: Clarke and Dawe. They have a slew of vids on the tube and they're brillz. I hope it encourages you.

My love to you,M.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

dear m,

Should I try the RPM spin class tomorrow at the gym? I’m a little scared. I’ve been meaning to for awhile, but… I mean besides that I haven’t done any sort of biking in forever, and the people there are all… scary gung-ho while I pine for the peace of yoga. My knee also has that weird clicky problem and I’m just not sure.

But Fridays require plans. Otherwise, downward spiraling occurs. J.Lo does not arrive home until late, etc. It’s a long day. It can be a very, very long day if precautions aren’t taken.

I do plan to dust, perhaps, as part of my dusting crusade this week, although I don’t feel any more fond of dusting after completing two rooms thus far. And some laundry. Whites.

Meanwhile, I’m loving Farm Town, which I play through N.Lo’s FB account, although I’m jealous of all my neighbors’ pretty farms, and wonder if I’ll ever get there. Will planting potatoes and hiring farm hands to harvest them help?

I’m going to NYC! Woot. On Sept. 11, but we won’t consider any sort of superstition or oddness attached to the date. I’m visiting nephew. And it’s a girls’ weekend, too, with no pesky little children around. Hooray!

Also in the meantime, I’m becoming disillusioned with activism. Like the first question I want to ask any so-called grassroots movement is, what evil corporation is funding you for their own benefit. And then we can talk. Otherwise, I want to stop sending letters and reading the drivel you send me through email.

Oh, and speaking of evil corporations who will be allowed to take over the world if they haven’t already, I hate AT&T for not accepting my return of a clunky, $20 piece of plastic that served briefly as a case for my new phone. Don’t even get me started. I planned on drafting a poison pen letter this evening, but alas, I didn’t even know who to send it to.

For now, I’m thinking Top Chef Masters finale, and some goat cheese.



Monday, August 17, 2009

Dear M,

I’ve been eating Cheetos. Do I care that the cute little corn graphic on the back of the bag tells some such lie about growing the best snacks on earth? I mean, they’re tasty. But let’s not get carried away. My garden’s a shambles in this heat, between the mystifyingly tough okra, the green tomatoes that Bender keeps stealing, and the cucumbers that withered away before fruiting. And the second round of zucchini we never planted. I await cooler temperatures in order to do anything of substance outdoors.

I had a lovely weekend away. Purchased a new phone. Brought home bread that reminds me so much of NY, but I won’t torture you with the wheat-filled details.

Today was lazy. But productive. But lazy. As I filled too many minutes this evening seeking a tiny wallpaper for my phone and lamenting said phone’s refusal to allow “The Office” theme as its ringtone. Whatever. I’m overitalready. The wallpaper is there and is perfect, and I’m moving on.

I made chicken salad with grapes, and watched Mamma Mia! maybe twice. Dragged the company back to the pet store to exchange the wrong-size filters for the right size, but never did clean the tank. Perhaps tomorrow.

Bedtime calls…



Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dear Penelope, by M

I am chewing on a wad of bubblegum containing "XYLITOL". The packaging promotes it like its a good thing. Is that suppose to encourage me? MMM Xylitol! I want some! If anything that, whatever it is, needs a rebranding image makeover. like veggie chips- that's way better. i'll totally eat 1/2 a bag of veggie chips without remorse. along with my 'pomegrante essence' from arrowhead sparkling water. nevermind the ricekrispie treat and mochasoylatte i had yesterday.

But what do i know. i'm living in a perpetual state of adolescence. i am remiss though in knowing how to advance past it. the concept so paralyzes me that i can't even think of what else to write. that and the job i applied for is on tv right now. wait scratch that, the job that fell into my lap that would be really cool if i got is on tv right now. but whatever.

and i have a blister on the top of my middle finger.
i'll talk to you more later.
i need to go laydown.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

on tap

  • Kids outsourced for the evening.
  • Burger, cheese fries and onion rings from COOK OUT on the way.
  • Wearing a new shirt. Think maybe only Old Navy stuff fits me. Had to take another shirt back to Kohls, as putting on a shirt should not be a two-person job.
  • Ordered: pretty necklace.
  • Nephew: cute as a button and doing well. Going home tomorrow! I think.
  • Want to visit: said nephew. We will see.
  • Catching up on: secret writing group.
  • Need to send: m’s b-day present. Only a few months late, in keeping with pact and tradition.
  • Am: a terrible procrastinator, on a few different projects.
  • Need to: step up exercise efforts. Step down sugar-eating efforts.
  • Loved: The Mysterious Society of Benedict.
  • Did I mention we have no children for the evening. Cheers.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Finally Finished, by M

After long last I finished. An admittedly epic tale that I'll soon delete from my computer. All about future predictions and spiritual journies... will we still be blogging at pen&m 5 years from now? Will I be attending my 20th year reunion? The usual: kids, novels and else of the kind: questions? My animals, my friends, my eccentricities, my love of the wagner ring cycle... stuff like that. Oh and some photos.

dreams: dashed

So this lady won my mountain house. A lady named Penny. Insult to injury! If you need me, I’ll be pouting in the corner.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Dear Michael Pollan,

As you know, I'm a fan. But thanks a whole lot for bursting my happy bubble re: "Top Chef" and all the other food shows I like to watch. They exist to sell stuff, sure, but they are fun. I mean, they *were* fun, before I read this article.

Ready to hurl both my TV and myself out the window,


Little Saigon, by M

Who knew driving an hour to Westminster would yield such an interesting experience. Down to none of the restaurant or coffee staff speaking english or no one taking credit card... and the best most tasty beef vermillion lemongrass with rice noodles ever.

Aquarium Outing, by M

Besides the throngs of screaming children I did enjoy looking at the sharks and seals and all the fishies... and having the most tasty pepper crusted red snapper. Thumbs up circus like tourist trap! Go LBC.
baby stingrays are soft squishy slime...
the elusive amber
the queen mary...
non sustainable fish- whatevs!
the most awesome magical leafy dragon seahorse! so exciting. best ever.
mmm made up stuff... totally imaginary art installation.