Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dear Penelope,

as you wish i'm writing to you to tell you about our prayer walk through Ecclesia. Bill, Mick, Aimee and I. Mick asked Simone (she's the one who wanted us to do this) if there was anointing oil- all you really need is olive oil and she had some. He wanted to anoint all the areas we went in, and i said, ok, yes but who's anointing us? It was the first time we've actually systematically sought to cleanse the building of darkness- lets be clear- demons, legion, oppressive spirits. Sort of like when we went on that ghost tour but we actively sought deliverance. In the back of your mind you sort of think, in no way this is real, and yet? The theatre itself is the largest in Hollywood built in 1926, and reported haunted, long before our church took residence and the guards who work there are in no way happy campers when they have to go through the basement or up beyond the 2nd floor, apparently- And as renters none of our community is allowed to venture beyond the "sanctuary" either.

So first things first, each of us in someway had others pray for us, had been in prayer, prior to this- a sort of confession, cleansing prayer like, Lord forgive me for this and definitely for That and please help me to be of use to you, worthy... and all the rest. Also this same day we had adult baptisms - do you renounce satan and all his ways? And Mick and I prayed a brief blessing over them after they got dunked in our coy pond cutout. I've never been in a role before to have taken things like these so deadly serious. Earlier I'd prayer walked over the sanctuary and had been amped up and apprehensive to go for it and prayer walk in this cleansing and resistance way and was sort of chomping at the bit to get this thing going, had for days previous had trouble falling asleep for thoughts of the basement.

We finally circled the wagons and Mick blessed each of us in the rite : in the name of the father, son and holyspirit... i prayed the prayer from ephesians: 10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand...
We climbed the stairs to the 2nd floor, armed only with a flashlight as most of the lights weren't on and prayed through verses and our thoughts and then occasionally from room to room, up through the balcony, singing, loudly. It was a good thing they remembered all these songs. I didn't. It makes me smile to think of it, and if I didn't believe what I believe I wouldhave thought us foolish or insane. As it was we didn't really have a game plan, but then I feel, we didn't have to. And even mentioning what we've gone through there is a definite disconnect. No one gets it or can sympathize, no one really understands, how much it seems a vivid nightmare to me. There was one particular room that effected me more than the others. It was empty and strangely shaped, like a rectangle bent in half and shaved down, painted this awful mint color. There was a dark antique chair to the left and to the right layers of dust, the light was on in this room. Mick got in the room and said, "what do we think about this room?" And the room to all effects started to grab at me and I gave a thumbs down sign. Mick said, "why don't you start us off." (in prayer) I said, "give me a minute". I closed my eyes. I was having a hard time speaking as I took a deep inhale and exit. Aimee had hold of my left arm, and i felt something cold just below her grip, and I felt a terrible sense of oppression and sadness that I actually started to cry- the idea that this is what people are surrounded and enslaved by... Mick and Bill must have sensed something too as they put their hands on me as well and we all prayed. I opened my eyes surprised to find the light in the room on, so dark it still seeemed. And after that we just kept going up, floor after floor thru bathrooms, and niches, and hallways, all the way to the roof, lamenting over hollywood and for the world.

And we had already sensed how thourough we were being, but were on this inevitable course, feeling in varying degrees tired, and consumed, but Aimee and I had a very strong feeling that we had to keep going to the basement. Mick gave us an out, Bill had to leave, but we decided to keep going.

Down into the belly of the beast.
As big as a block. Not just one room. But an entire world.
The first impression is the sound coming from the boiler room, or fan system? or whatever it is but its a very loud churning sound and produces a great amount of air flow down the hallway so that there's a breeze that seemingly comes from no where. We started off in a room with a low pipe hanging through it and i could feel the door tremoring against my hand. I had through the whole thing a distinct impression i was to hold all the doors open for us to pass through. The 2nd room was an old dressing room, still had the mirrors and the lights, now discarded seats from the theatre, the stars dressing room. I put the sign of the cross on the door and my finger was blackened with grime. Then down the hallway we got to a room with the stench of decay, moldering seats, rotting boards and tables- if i were the psychic type i would have said that there was an older man in a white shirt and brown pants underneath this one working light above the table- this room had to have been the saddest room of all.

We then reached the main mechanical room and thats when we started hearing rumbling from above, popping sounds from the pipes and Aimee and I both put on guard as it seemed the place was now awake to our presence. Though conversely i felt warmly protected through the rest of it, no hair raised, no cold on the back of the neck, though a hard pressure on my back, and all the thoughts just rolled right on through- you know the ones i mean, like, run screaming, or, this is impossible or i hope our light doesn't go out or i hope the door doesn't swing shut or I hope these boxes don't fall on us bcs of an 'earthquake' ensuring that we'll never be discovered or rescued, or i hope we aren't eaten alive or i hope whatever is down here doesn't latch onto us, or i hope i don't see a face or a body or whatever it is i could see that would set me running down the hall death griped with fear.

I had a very sure sense that we were being allowed to see but not necessarily to overtake. We went up a set of stairs and turned to see this hallway stretching a literal block, in pitch black, and i thought, oh my god, how vast is the darkness, how are we going to find our way out?- door after door, ladders, traps, rooms, gated off areas, stuff, all with a tangible aura of making you want to shake and hurl up your lunch. I said facing one pitchblack room full of boxes floor to ceiling, "are we going in there?" Mick responded, "well I'm going in there"... and then i said, "then we're all going in there." There was one room besides that I literally felt we were interrupting a nest of demons mid lunch- like you know the gag where the people who are clean and sparkly wearing pearls walk into the seedy bar and the music stops and the conversation comes screeching to a halt and they all look up with a WTF? Thats sort of how some of the rooms felt. And once we reached the end of the hallway I started reciting Psalms 23 and we rounded the corner and opened this large steel door into a dark room, down these steps "and ye though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death" creeeeeaaak went the door, thud thud echoed our footsteps "i shall fear no evil"...

We made it out of the basement shortly afterthat with more singing and more praying through the back of the stage and out into the sanctuary. Aimee and I laid down on the platform and suddenly realized that as we prayed blessing and protection over us we were being soaked at the shoulders with the baptismal water... that life giving water of being dead to sin and alive in Christ. And we woke up a bit and were aware of how accustomed to the dark you can become and that it was a surprise to me particularly that we'd been praying through the building for 3 hours... So then we went out and ate a little something and debriefed and talked about our impressions, confirmations and thoughts. And for the last few nights I've felt a palpable haunting of me about where i'd been and what i'd seen as if i what i had looked through and witnessed were not just meer spaces or abandoned places but some other place entirely that this barely even describes. Though fully armored, safe and sure of it- It is literally the scariest place I have ever been.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

dear m,

I’ve been working here and there on embracing What Is, or specifically, What Can’t Be Changed, and one of those things is the weather. I really can’t say I’ve made much progress, because as you well know, I wilt in the heat, and today and yesterday have been heated. And it’s made me not very happy at all. It totally does affect my mood, or at least that’s what I assume the problem is at the moment. So, not that this will work or anything, but I thought I’d try a *pro* list of sorts re: changing weather. The thing about our weather is that it’s like a see-saw. It’s up, it’s down; unless it’s summer, it never stays the same. I can think of a lot of cons here, one of which is wardrobe, although practically speaking, I guess it’s all about layers. The biggest con is prime sick weather, because 20-degree shifts over a day or a week provide an optimum environment for germ development. I’m not sure why this is, but it’s true. Erratic weather simply messes with you, and in fact, I constantly feel like I’m fighting something. My throat, for instance, has had that sore spot on it for like, 4 weeks now. And my sinuses are always either filled feeling if it’s warm/lukewarm out, or dry, if it’s cold and the heat is on. Anyway, the point of this post was to do the opposite of whining about the weather and What Is, so here I go:

Reasons Why Erratic, SE Coastal Weather ROCKS

  • Variety! I hear it is the spice of life. You get a few days of brisk cold, where you can wear a scarf and a heavy jacket and someone is always burning some leaves (one of the world’s most wonderful documented smells), and days later, you are back in flip-flops and a skirt. Weee!
  • It never really gets THAT cold. Bitter, bitter cold is no fun. I’ve lived in upstate NY and Chi, and I can totally attest that any amount of time spent outside in the bitterness just plain hurts. Especially if it’s windy.
  • Whenever it snows, if it does snow (boo), it never snows enough to require shoveling. And that’s a plus, because you know, J.Lo’s back isn’t great, and I sure don’t want to shovel, either.
  • We get plenty of rain in there. And the garden loves rain.
  • We also get plenty of sun, and the garden loves sun! Who doesn’t love sun. Why, just the other day, I got a little sunburn on my shoulders…
  • You can technically go to the beach year-round. Which granted, I don’t do, but whatever. It’s there, as an option.
  • Even if the weather completely sucks and never does what it’s supposed to, the mountains aren’t that far away for visiting… And I totally am, in December! I hear there’s warm cider there.

Am I convincing you yet? Please assist, as perhaps I am not the best list-maker for this topic. I feel it’s wishy-washy at best.

love, penelope

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

dear m,

I know what you mean about lack of yoga and “should have” but “didn’t” and I’m regretting the absence today in advance. It would make me feel better and reel me back in a little, but yet the to-do list for today remains long. Birthdays are exhausting! And yet so fun. But still. Some semblance of normalcy and quiet awaits on the other side. Sort of. I hope.

In reading your last letter, I have worries about the feeling of anchorlessness and I hope for some sort of project or direction for you, just to throw you a line. Something to hang onto and pull you through the day in a more significant way. Not that aimless journeying does not have its place. But I hear a tiny note of desperation there and of course I worry. It’s my job. I do it well. Find your anchor, my friend.

Tonight is crab legs and creme brulee (from a box, don’t even try to be impressed) and I look forward to it. Yesterday was all low-key adventures and pizza buffet. And appreciating the gifts in life, of which there are many.

Saw Where the Wild Things Are on Monday night, and it’s really good. Yet tragic? In a very everyday way. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before, a film that made me want to cry the whole time, and there was never really any big moment or culmination where I did cry? Yet I felt like my heart was breaking at every turn. The loss of childhood and whatnot.

This past weekend: Birthday celebrations with fam, lasagna and Nemo cake, all sorts of wonderfulness. I’ve always been an icing person, but not really a cake person, and then for a short while I wasn’t even interested in the icing anymore. But all of a sudden I want it all. Icing, cake, mmm. I’m the only one eating the leftovers, but what can you do except enjoy it.

I’ve switched book tracks temporarily and am attempting to plow through a 7-day library loan, Her Fearful Symmetry, by the author of an all-time fav, The Time-Traveler’s Wife. It’s good, so good. But eeek, I have just a few days left and am only 150 pages in. Will finish eatpraylove after that and perhaps discuss. It makes my mind and heart buzz.

In the meantime, the blogs and the emails and the virtual farms lay slightly in neglect but on my mind…I shall return in full v. soon.

A lovely Wednesday to you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dear Penelope,

it was a strange restless day. i should've made myself go to yoga. but getting up at 9 and leaving at 930. . . its just a different kind of waking up to do and i should've done it. i regret it. i'm sitting here now having taken an inch or two off my hair- all the blonde chlorinated bits, letting my hair grow out in the meantime until it changes its mind. eating a sugarfree popsicle, one of my current addictions, watching a mightywind. i tried brownrice tortillas today, that went over pretty well. along with some peas. and a bbq chicken salad.

i went outside earlier and it was glorious and i felt so lucky to be home and experiencing such beautiful blue sky. but i still felt aimless. the word that LL had for me was "stay the course". she said, that's what i got. seriously. she said. and i felt like i was wandering around a ship unsure of what was next on the agenda of staying the course. yesterday that lightbulb came on and i went clicking away on my website. still unconvinced of putting paypal on there. and after all that, went to load the new look and the password didn't work. (i'm going to go get another popsicle.) so then today i was clicking away at various photographs, sorting, ordering... i'm still 2 years behind on ordering photos and that makes me about 3ish years behind from my albums. that masterplan of redoing them and setting off from the beginning hasn't quite started yet. its like when i was examining my 'cum laude' status for college and regretting that i didn't go back and retake those courses that lowered my average. i mean still, its a twinge. and at 33 i recognize its complete irrelevance and yet still. i tilt my head and my left eye twitches. i guess though some of my photos start looking ridiculous- i think, wait, why am i printing that picture of a tree? that's stupid. even if lets say its a spectacular sunset- one among many i've captured. jaded. maybe i think it needs to be part of a story. i don't know. and yet such a shame. you almost think, this is what people are missing. so i have to take it back, capture it in the magic machine that actually sees what the eye sees and records it.

makes me think i don't want to carry my camera around anymore. and so i stared out at the blue sky and the hummingbirds and finches and my dog bodo and let a couple hours fly by. when i got back inside i put my french cds in a ziplock bag so they wouldn't get dusty and clicked at more pictures. and somehow the day passed. and here i am now. and i don't know exactly whats been done or where i've been but who wants to go to sleep on such an indefinite note as that, and nothing on tv to watch and nary a netflix. it occurs to me that i could've been reviewing french the whole time, but its like i said, things aren't clicking right into place for me until its sort of absurd that i remember it. like now, when i'm about to go to bed. but the list is failing me, because as much as i stare at it, it doesn't mean anything. kind of a thing that makes you pick at your cuticles and get a re-fill on iced tea.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dear Penelope,

i wandered thru the garden and the butterflies were fluttering too fast but I did manage a few snaps. Including a giant mutant spider eating flies and a brown preying mantis that was wandering around on the grass and i put back in the mint where it belonged, oh and a mocking bird and my cat marley. enclosed please find the following pictures:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dear Penelope,

Even though blogland fails us sometimes, and the commenters have long since gone, we still stand, 9 years knowing, 5 years of typing to the void and some 1800 blog posts later. Happy Anniversary.

Those still reading won't begrudge our continual letters to one another. In our last vestige of narcissism and our tender affection for the written word, we don't mind opinionated witnesses, and cohorts in the continuation of a friendship that should usher us into that good old woman age. We hope. Even if we've long outgrown our quirky impulse at nicknames, I find that overtime we've quite become them and I'll always think of us as Penelope and Mendacious. Even if our birthcertificates say something else and no one knows why.

I'm watching x-files right now and its raining. The first rain in at least 7 or 8 months. To me, after its absence, its like reminding me how much i needed it, residing over me like an ache all over. And I keep wanting to wander out into it but don't really have a reason to. So i've lit a candle in lieu of a fire in a fireplace, and don't resent the heat its giving off, looking at my nails, realizing i need to wash my hair and pondering why my 2 right fingernails keep chipping and breaking- which you know probably has something to do with dietary imbalances but i'll never know as my holistic person flew the coop. I can only guess now and chastise myself for not cutting out enough starch or something? Being allergic to dairy or chocolate which according to the energy points hand chart i found can cause excema on the tips of fingers and other such things... i'm still going to eat chocolate until i guess i dont. Or I find another person to cause ripples thru the body and purple lights to appear.

I was going to close the letter with a "today i..." but i thought i'd tell you about my spiritual landscape. I'd been on this technical climb in the dark craggy mist of some far off and mythical rock place- grey and treacherous, and very high up, and a perilous drop to the left, and it started raining. I didn't seem to mind it most times but there was no getting out of it, being soaked through and just dangling there, waiting, occasionally trying to advance up a rung on the rock face, and just last tuesday, while in yoga, i reached a top of a crag and the sun was out and pink and cream colored rose petals swirled past me and off the cliff as i sat and watched them float out into the dawn.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Dear Penelope,

That we could dream dreams my penelope. Claim that the work in the world has everything to do with the spirit that we breathe into it...

on another note, as much as i swiffer the walls and ceiling there's an obscene amount of dust and hair that filter into the house. Just a day for instance and there's a little inch of it everywhere and did i tell you i have people coming over? Just the prayer council folks but still... stranger types. And you know i haven't been really social since 1998. There was this brief moment in 2002? or '03 I think where I had those paramountpages over. But I think that was the last time. So i've been setting up tables and mom wiped down the corners of the doors. And we're changing the dogandcat covered duvet covers and sucking up all the cobwebs. I like it- the race to be meticulously thoroughly clean and what not, though do not check the top of the bookcases. I mean, there has to be balance. But the roving giant retriever hairs have been reined in. That dog, I mean- seriously, out of control. We gave them baths even and will be confined for most of the morning to the bedrooms, because who can council people to not tolerate Bodo barreling into them or Zep using them as giant snotdepositories.

And since its a return to fall-ish weather for us which means gloriously temperate I might have occasion to turn on the floor heater in the hallway. So in the vacuuming fest I removed the grates and let me tell you- the amount of hair and dirt that ends up in them, its gross but a small mercy so that they don't take legs and kill us as we shuffle to the bathroom late at night. Well anyway I got distracted and left it unattended and I turned and did a pratfall right into the open grate. Luckily I hit a flat metal band which caused me to naturally tip forward, arms flailing into the open sprawl of me vs. the wood floor. My knee is cranky, which it always is, and now bruised, and my pride is wounded and of course you realize that in your contemplation of life and the universe people die this way, in such a random, perfect freefall into space, an oblivious moment, an open grate and poof. Perfect timing.

I was reminded of this as I got off the offramp. A car came and almost sideswiped me. But I always go into the side pocket before totally entering the lane and sure enough, this car changed lines right at the offramp point. Who does that! Anyway, small mercies and my natural inclination saved me. This time. ;) That youngfuckingpunkandhisbeamerandidontknowhowto driveattitude. Anyway.

Was it just me or was the wedding epi of the office a total disappointment? I mean there was that beautiful transcendent moment of them on the maidofthemist or whatver, all wet and married and entering into the entire epic nature of life together but the rest? I don't know. And why doesn't Pam have more girlfriends? But i digress. There were more niceties and then annoyances and what does it matter. Its not real. And yet.

As a complete contrast I saw the 3rd installment of WagnersRingCycle. Fairly epic. There was a point though in the first act where we were being hit with the a/c and i was wrapped up and it was dark and i was just so cozy. I reached into my bag and had a few pieces of cut salami which I knew right them must be reeking and completely inappropriate but I thought maybe a little food would just sort of jumpstart me or something and it was just so tasty. It kind of worked. And as much as I wanted to nip at the tequila I brought i just kept thinking it might warm me up for a minute but then its just going to put me to bed. But anyway in the third act brunhilde finally is woken up from her slumber by siegfried and as she is rising from this sort of casing, time starts ripping parts of clothing/costume off- i was like woh! brutal! Then i realized it was to symbolize the fact that she was becoming mortal, part of the curse... so she went from white (near god) to red and black (earthy and aging). And then all this redfabric started billowing out under her. So intense. I have to say the 5 hours flew by. Because the art direction could not have been more impactful.

Alright I'll sum up by saying I'm reaching new energetic heights free of wheat- yoga for instance is at this wholen'other level. Swimming is good and the garden is good and books are being read and I'm going to hear more about what a degree in spiritual formation might look like next thursday and i have this feeling that i'm back at some sort of graduating point where people all around me are leaving and transitioning and i'm right where i'm suppose to be but sad everyone else is all liquid and sifting away from me and yet the days, october, ticking on by right? And so this is a season of change and then...

the basics:

ah, cupcakes
ah, zero% at fault
ah, i do not like soup really in that i don't or rarely specifically crave it.

and off to nordstrom rack with joanna, and dinner and whatever else the night holds- hopefully all good and true things what with the harvest moon waning gibbous.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

dear m,

Ahg! I still owe you an email. I know.

So I should mention that my throat has been a little sore for maybe 3 weeks now? Just a nagging thing where it seizes up on certain “notes.” Like, for instance, whenever I say, exasperatedly, “K.LO.” The soreness inflames in that moment and sometimes my voice even disappears. It’s the Universe trying to teach me something, I’m quite sure.

I bought some pumpkin bisque soup at Costco today that I was all excited about, and J.Lo was all eyebrow raises and hmmm. “That sounds… interesting.” We will SEE! It’s pumpkin bisque, for heaven’s sake, Fall in the form of soup. And all Costco’s soups are good. So far. Speaking of soup, I made potsticker soup today. Which was delicious except for the fact that I burned my tongue, and I hate that, because then you can’t taste the rest of your meal.

Tomorrow, I’m making about a million Elmo cupcakes for N.Lo’s party, and it occurred to me today that I have no way to transport them. May need to discuss these matters with my neighbor, who does cupcakes semi-professionally. Otherwise…? Balance them on my head while driving, Carmen Miranda style?

I did meet my deadlines, although I realized today I may have left some things out of one article… could have done better. But I guess we always can.

At this moment, I’m thinking—bed. The weather’s all screwy/teasing with a/c required during the day, but windows open at night. I guess I’ll take the windows open where I can, but I still dream of my mountain house. When will we get there?

Oh—and, and! The damage on my car was estimated today at $1200. Because I wasn’t in the car at the time of said incident, my insurance has no part… which is pretty much a godsend, because seriously? Talk about the unfair. Monday, I get a rental car, for 4 days, while they fixit.

love to you,


Sunday, October 4, 2009

dear m,

It’s been too long since my last letter. It’s a magazine deadline week, so if I’m not busy working on meeting said deadline, I’m busy procrastinating. Thank you for your contributions to this procrastination effort with offers to harvest the FarmTown Jungle. It seems like I had a bunch of money from this last time, enough to build a new version of NeverLand, and I did spend it on… something. But I don’t know what. And yet I still don’t have enough to buy a manor house.

I can’t remember all the events of this past week, so I’ll work backwards from today. Went to see “Fame” with girls, and well it was a fun movie, but underdeveloped all around and cobbled together as though with scotch tape. I did like the dancing and singing and such. But wanted to know more about pretty much everything.

Oh, and I took the children to church this morning. Is this a separate post/email? I feel like it is. We will return next week, is all I’ll mention for now. I’m simultaneously trying to wrap my brain around these matters and attempting to shut my brain off? If that makes sense. I can’t say way either approach is working. I’m thinking: not yet.

Yesterday, oh yesterday. I clipped coupons in the morning, found one for Jersey Mike’s sub sandwiches and rushed out to get some before my haircut. All these trivial forces of the Universe combined so that I would park in the spot right next to two empty spaces, into which an old lady driving a Lincoln would pull, badly misjudging time and distance and scraping up the side of my car. Erg. Ugh. Another lady followed me out to tell me after I paid for the sandwiches, and so it was like “oh.” *defeated.* And then the old lady came out, and admitted to it, and was basically unfazed-seeming, but from my perspective covering up embarrassment? Sadness. She had a whole pile of cards and couldn’t find her insurance, and so I got her digits and J.Lo called today… It will be taken care of sometime soon, but mainly it’s just a badly-timed moderately-sized pain in the ass.

But I did get my haircut. And as always, it was done fabulously. Although my hairstylist did get into a tussle with a neighboring hairstylist over a curling iron, and for a few long moments it was like, um, *awkward…*

On tap for this week: Return to the gym? Because I’ve been a big, giant slacker. Deadline Tuesday, have one more article to write. Prepare for N.Lo’s b-day party on Saturday, which means going to the store and buying some things and also making about 1,000 Elmo cupcakes, for which I’m excited. And perhaps a side project if there’s time: sorting through N.Lo’s clothes, deciding what he needs, and hitting the store. And picking up socks for J.Lo and maybe some shirts for me while I’m at it. Maybe. Oh, and purchase advance tix for the Toy Story double feature, which I’d like to attend with the children, but probably next week. And a return to Little Dipper on Wednesday with some cool Managers I know. Busy. Busy. More busy. But fun? Lots of fun. Yes.

In the meantime, I’m ebay bidding on an extra camera body for a Canon Eos Elan (an “advanced amateur” film camera that will possibly trump the current quality of my pictures, or at least will be fun and different to use), so I can fix the bottom piece? It’s all an experiment. We will see.

My complicated daughter hasn’t been sleeping, and my happy-go-lucky son has received a personality transplant from the Twoville offices.

I ponder Halloween options, and have currently landed on go-go dancer, but could just as easily be vampire, or whatever. There are options. There is time.

Lastly, the weather should be off and on cool this week, which I thoroughly love.

And tasty lettuce in the garden.

hugs, kisses,