Monday, January 31, 2011


Enclosed please find photographs for what turned out (according to the pictures) a very strange and winsome January. With each photo see explanation. I am loathe to analyze what such pictures might say in total as with the blog for instance one can only wonder what one gathers about the two of us. Though only brave and determined voyeurs, moms and best of friends read such a thing as letters back and forth between friends.

And unless otherwise noted there was a trip to Gardens of the World which was really quite ordinary but nice, some thorne/danica outings, walks, laying out, walks through the church basement, and of course camping, and camping while sick is just awful, though mom persists she had a good time despite my dead weight. both financial and otherwise.

Note that Marley is actually tucked into my sweatshirt. I am convinced he would rest quite well in a baby sling.

joanna sent me a christian calendar in which to mark my days, and following is my lions share of the holy day collection.

here we are finally covering the dumpster up in the lot next door to church. the morning glories are actually not at all visually assulting as i previously had feared. carole is the awesome greenteam director.

these are a couple of pictionary attempts: firing squad and moustache.

oh and do note the friendly old man in my ceiling.

after this we finally got some safe traps so that we can release them into the garden. 3 survived marley and it seems we've gotten them all.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

oh, yawn

It’s gray and drizzly and cold, a yuckadoodle world out there today. I anticipate a day or haphazardly attempting to squeeze in some article writing whilst feeling like I’m accomplishing nothing at all. Which is always vexing. My eye is twitching just thinking about it. Twitchtwitchtwitchtwitchtwitch.

But I fixed the mailbox flag! Not unlike Chevy Chase fixing the newel post. It was laying on the ground, sad and broken, dirty and sun-faded. I took it inside and scrubbed it, then marched back out to the mailbox with certain supplies in hand, first and foremost the formidable glue called E600. And a giant paperclip to hold it all in place overnight. I think (think) it even worked. Miraculous.

My madwoman cleaning spree has also continued. I mean I suppose it’s not a bad thing. I could have taken up meth or something. Drained funds and health and relationships. And teeth. Teeth could have fallen out of my head. Instead, I have shiny furniture and glass, and a coffee bean grinder that is considerably less cloudy. You may intervene when necessary.

Our ex-real estate agent finally let us break up with her. I mean honestly. At first she was all lalalaIcanthearyou! and I’ll just stop by the house and see if it really smells (it does but only a little with the windows closed) and take new pictures and basically do everything I should have been doing all along in a last-ditch effort to show that I’ve done my job, even though I haven’t really, because I have enough pride to not want to be fired but not actually do a good job all along and avoid being fired. It was like that. Basically a completely wasted four months. But I think St. Joseph needed a change and in fact might have been asking for one all along, so maybe the asshat agent who showed our house a few weeks ago was really a blessing in disguise. To shine a bright light of truth and exasperation onto our listing agent, who totally got in her parting shots in her exit email, in an attempt to make us feel insecure in our next relationship. True colors.

May the next listing teamofagents be what St. Joseph needs.

The Methodists! I haven’t been to a range of Methodist churches, but I assume there is a range. And if there is a range, I’d say the one I visited Sunday and have settled on falls on the more traditional or formal end of the spectrum? Well anyway, it’s a nice service. It is yet another historical church from the 1800s, with a circle of stained glass on the ceiling. The kids’ portion of the service emphasized that the Methodist God is a loving God and not a judgy God, which to me is very key. And the sermon about discipleship in 2011 resonated with me. I didn’t take the kids yet. Although the very next day I got a lovely email of welcome, along with a regular business email saying choir practice for kids is at 9:45AM. Which I think K.Lo will love. I hope. My biggest challenge I foresee will be N.Lo and making sure he is a happy little camper in the nursery for two hours without his taller twin.

But we’ll get to that in a few weeks. The challenges that lie ahead this week are meeting deadlines, renting a truck, packing a truck, signing a new listing teamofagents, de-doggifying the air and capping it off with some sushi and drinks.

xo -


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This is what i'm talking about Pen,

So you know, I email them:

Checks - Where is my check?

You wrote us the following:
I went to webcert but my form wasn't listed, so as requested I submitted my paper form to be mailed 1/16/2011. The benefit amout is for 2wks is $Xxx. I had over $X,xxx left in my claim amount on this 3rd extension. I received my continued claim form today to be submitted on 1/30 but there was no check attached. Help!

Here is our reply:
Dear M., A check for week ending 01/08/11 was issued on 01/20/11. Please allow up to 10 business days for delivery. You are potentially eligible for a new claim effective 01/09/11. Please visit to file. Thank you.

(So then, I email them again cuz, it's totally NOT clear. And I did receive something but there wasn't a check, like i said, and then...)

Thank you for submitting your information to the Employment Development Department on 1/25/2011 at 9:15 AM.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Do NOT respond to this message through email. If you need additional information or assistance regarding this matter, contact us through the Ask EDD Web site. Be sure to select the same category and include your Reference Number: 3945444.

Checks - Where is my check?

You wrote us the following:
REF#: 3943171 Hello! The email stated I would be receiving a check. I wanted to verify the amount. Thank you!

Here is our reply:
CHECK WILL BE MAILED TOMORROW: Your check is being processed today and will be in the mail tomorrow. Thank you.

Your Reference Number is 3945444.

Please note, all i wanted to do was verify the amount. And the first person said i was mailed a check on thursday. Today the person says it will be mailed tomorrow. You can understand right if i am sort of breathless in antcipation over whether i will or won't be getting a check and if it will or wont have any money attached to it. Is all IM saying. ok amber's here- its time to farkle and watch something about coco something.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Pen over here,

i only once thought about stabbing myself in the chest with the wirecutters. probably because i was too full on primerib and creme brulee. jobsearching. i found something to apply to. found mostly nothing to apply to. consumed by my failure to be someone else and not myself. i know in another time i wouldn't be in debt, i'd be in a convent and i'm pretty sure i find myself longing for those times on a daily basis. alas. checking my bank account was also unuseful. tomorrow i may try to look at a couple more sites and see if i survive. oh also my edd check form came and it was blank, as in no attached check. as in unable to eradicate 0.00 balance issue in said bank acct. whatever you know the rest. you know the word i assign to all of it.

murdershewrote is on. and today passed not at all well. except for the awesomedinner. (thanks mom!)i mean it seems unfair to the day. there was lots of official emailing and scheduling and planning. and i'm bored of myself. but i wanted to write and say hi anyway. and tell you that today i am a mysterious crusty bit on a white cashmere sweater.

and i debate staying up for another hour watching nothing at all or opting for bed. i mean i did just eat a banana.

tellme about the methodists,

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I just returned from the basement -

Carrying in my hand a box cutter and Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook. Which might prove that I’ve begun my true descent into madness. If anyone asks later where it all began, you can point to these moments. The lingering dog malodorousness that followed her from the old house and lingered there still and there was nothing she could do about it from afar. So she researched and amassed her weapons of vinegar-based cleaners, lemons, cloves and possibly something called zeophyte, as well as a list of plans to chuck everything that retained any wisp of mustiness or eau du dog.

I mean I seriously want to go back down in the basement this instant and rummage through the boxes of unpacked linens and banish everything that holds that scent. It’s irrational, obviously. I can totally wash everything and make it fresh and it will be fine. But I’m having a moment. I’m lashing out against linens because my house isn’t selling and only one person has looked at it and they didn’t even give it a chance. Because in spite of a Molly Maid cleaning, not to mention my hours of pre-move cleaning with bloodsweatandtears, it’s just closed up and unoccupied and stale. With traces of dog. This all reinforces my theories about how human beings never really grow out of the 2-year-old stage that features fits and tantrums over lack of control. We just manifest it in a range of ways over the course of our lifetimes that are as varied as our bodies and souls.

But anyway. Let’s move on. I’m so tired! But not necessarily in a bad way; I just lost a lot of sleep on Friday evening as was up chatting with bestie-friend J til nearly midnight. Loveliness! I do like living closer. Oh and allegedly I’ll be heading off to check out the Methodists in a mere 20 minutes. We’ll see. And then questing for Podunk Sushi? Again, we’ll see. It would require some things like hair brushing and changing out of one’s PJs. Which let’s be honest is questionable at best.

happy sunday -


Saturday, January 22, 2011

when last we left off,

you were in the woods and klo was afraid of getting lost. i am now in my room watching a movie called 'red shoes' from 1947?something? i don'tknow. heartbreak is a foot. that much is clear. but we'll proceed. we always proceed don't we. we cannot help it. in situations like these, like being lost in a forest, i imagine we would want the company of as many woodsprites and fairies as possible. but barring that the trees speaking to me for company would do. as long as i wasn't lured into the dark by some horrible portent, curse or looming witch. because there is always that to be concerned about in any story. unless one doesn't care for the imagination. that saves one from a great many things.

today pen while i was in yoga i imaged myself on my mountain staircase sitting and enjoying the sun having finally come out after a long rain. the air is still cold and crisp but the sun illumines. i am still however, a long way from the bottom, whereever that may be. its still too high to see. of course since writing the above paragraph some 2 hours have past and the heroine, well it doesn't look good for her in the red shoes. quite the antithesis of dorothy and her red shoes, who made it back to kansas where she appreciated things and didn't take anything for granted anymore. its close to making one a feminist, all these women being dragged about by men and desire and if not men and desire, society and impossible choices. because i won't spoil it but we all know what awaits them in the end always...and if its not a husband or a convent or the madhouse i can't say where. anyway my mind is trying to get at something, but i've had the wrong diet for arriving at deep thoughts and my feet are cramping. and they're cold.

so its best to get away from this desk where i've been lingering all day. there was one moment i laid on the grass but the sun kept vanishing and i had to keep moving further and further back toward the orange tree until it was impossible and i had to face the fact the sun was setting and go inside. nevermind that there was only .91c in my bankaccount. or the ponderance of lingering malodorousness in yoga spaces which necessitate copious amounts of incense. that was the sum of the day. tea. fruit. wonderings. popcorn. faraway places. and quiet whispers. something vague like the semblance of thought and nothing else but breath.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

we went for a walk in the woods -

Because it was warm out today! Unexpectedly. And J.Lo informed me we have a stream that divides the woods and the farm field beyond – which might explain why the dogs haven’t yet ventured to the field. As far as the woods go, they wander like puppies. One of them, who shall remain nameless Bailey, seems to have un-aged several years in these woods, which also applies to her willingness to listen/come when called.

But anyway. There’s a stream. And trees. Penelope approves. And so (apparently) do the children.


K.Lo, concerned that we might soon get lost in the woods – note that our house is still in view.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


there's a santa type face in my bedroom ceiling. he's quite lovely. big round cheeks. flowing beard. kindly eyes. you may yet find a pattern to call familiar. so obviously wall gazing is totally acceptable.

today is uncertain. its warm out. there's a light breeze. in all respects what seems to be lovely. but i am leary about doing anything about it. if i were anything today maybe i would be molten red glass with a hint of orange. not sure what's forming. just a close up of its almost transluscent almost opaqueness. the sleeping and waking are reluctance, maybe resents being moved, fatigue. its in an almost liquid state. best let it be...

maybe i'll read.
a firewithin.

i think you should go to the methodist place. godlyplay is a good sign. though liturgy will be missed. which i realize just now i keep misspelling- litergy litirgy. poor neglected u. but maybe you'll be able to fill that in another way. or be a voice for it there. bring it in. usher in the celebration of the holy days and all the rest. we can give you books over here and calendars.

my love,

Monday, January 17, 2011


Howdy-doo. I hope your weekend was full of fabulousness. Mine included lobster ravioli, also referred to as “circus ravioli” due to its audacious red stripes, and a super-awesome roast made with brown sugar and garlic and coke. Yes really. So it wasn’t all bad. Also, it was our second Saturday Swim, which is obviously going to become a thing. And I like it. I *might* try a weeknight class in le pool – power walking? Does that sound weird? I think I have to peek through the window on that one first.

Episcopalian church #2 is nay. It’s another old church with a ton of history and is just – small. Which is simultaneously part of its magic and its downfall. Because while I like the small-chapel feeling of it and even the entrance doors, like you’re stepping straight into 1890 or 1903, it is, on the other hand, too small. Not enough people, and no young people, period. They run Sunday school if and when they have 2 or more students present to enroll? Which at this point they do not. Also, biggest fail, the incense made my nose burn and my stomach turn. Or possibly it was the guy-who-sat-next-to-me’s cologne. I’m not normally averse to church incense, so who knows. It just wasn’t it, this week.

So maybe next week I’ll try on the Methodists for size. Whatevs.

My house here is super-clean. My house there? Apparently not so clean. I want to go there immediately and finish what I wasn’t able to finish due to being sick-like-death on Moving Day. I want to make sure everything is as spiffy and sparkly as possible for a not-lived-in, windows-closed house.

I’m a little frustrated about that.

To do: Find another rare writing job that suits me perfectly and doesn’t care where I live. Find a new realtor. (Phooey on the old one.) Plan another cheap thing or two to do while in Chi. Catch up every single email written to me over the past week or so. Plan K.Lo’s birthday day-of and weekend. (Will Tangled still be playing?) Research 3 parenting articles. Research parks and hiking trails to visit in Spring. Dream more about spring. Dream without too many expectations but rather openness, if that’s possible. Continue to unpack. Continue reading House of Night series until it runs out. Choose paint colors for kitchen and play room. Execute K.Lo’s birthday present, somehow, at night. And other things. I don’t know what yet.

love to you and you and you…


Friday, January 14, 2011

I find myself staring at the ceiling -

A lot. It’s vaulted, and I like the applied texture. It’s not popcorn. It’s actually very nice and interesting and I bet if you stare long enough you could find shapes, like in the clouds, or maybe they are all just dandelions, like the kind you wish on and blow into the wind.

Anyway, I had a mild meltdown yesterday about the propane bill. It might have involved some tears and a slamming door. Because I can be a total baby sometimes. And can’t stand to have the children see me cry over something as stupid as money – so why not just make a smaller, less obvious scene... I knew it was coming and should have had a glass of wine before opening it. Anyway, we’re responsible for the last fill, which I totally get, but we also have to “buy out” the fuel that was already in the tank before we moved in. And it’s a big tank. Grand total $610.32. Crap – it’s not even 2PM yet. Too early? Wine? Oh no, just some whine.

This week I’m grieving the loss of my job, which admittedly, I had the “luxury” of quitting due to, um, creative differences, but it’s still a loss. The snipping of a tether. And I have absolutely no idea how I’ll connect it again, if ever, although I fully assume if God wishes it to be so, it will.

That God. So mysterious is He. At what church will I land? I mean, I really had sort of counted on the Episcopal church continuing to be the awesome place that it has been for us, but contrary to appearances, their kids’ programs are not actually very developed. Little ones are left out, relegated to the nursery, which is an okay place but not very… populated? Where is everyone. So I found a really terrific program at the Methodist church a little further down the street, and the staff there are super-nice and intelligent and welcoming. And the kids seem to like it already. But um, it’s Methodist. To which I say, what about me? I really connect with the Episcopal service. I suspect the Methodist service is not nearly as… ceremonious.

Anyway, blah blah blah. Maybe it’s a trivial distinction or even a trivial problem. I’m sure it is. But I do feel like throwing up until a boot comes out when I think about what we had at the church (beautiful sanctuary, service, youth programs, friends, and more) we left behind. Sadface. I’m not good at this whole “building up a new life” thing. In fact it might be for the birds. Or maybe I can blame the month, or winter. I certainly hope it’s not *cough* 2011.

And I guess mice are cute. But I think I’d have to adopt an extra kitty, for backup. I’mjustsaying.


fair penelope

i hung a new picture on the wall,

dusted mostly, swept the walls, vacuumed and figured the mice are probably hanging out by the dryer. of course its all moms fault. if she had got on this bird feeding (altering the course of nature) kick she wouldn't have so much feed everywhere which attracted the mice in the first place. it did bring more cats into the area. so i'm not sure why after 20 years of no mice we now have a problem. we had a cat once that eradicated an entire network of gophers... so marley is doing his job. we see him readily laying in wait. i blame the neighbors. its probably them. i also blame them for this cockroach problem we had many years back but boric acid took care of that too but i don't want to poison mice. they're so cute. i cringe as nature takes it course and the cats got a tail sticking out of its mouth. ah the fall! anyway i also finally took the dismantled christmas tree out of the house for dicing up and burning. and i'm feeling an upswing of energy that general housecleaning seems to bring me.

though last night as i attempted to assemble my quilt pillows sleep over took me and sarah insisted that if i wasn't going to craft we should have something better than the princess diaries on in the BG. i don't know what she's talking about. the movie is-aW-some. i did play around with some beads eventually. and bodo (bow-dough) is staring at me wondering about why i won't help his arthritic hips and take him for a walk. ok bodo. ok. did i mention i got rid of 5 pairs of socks!?

renoucement of worldy possessions is next. i say that totally flippantly. sorry jesus. i know i love my stuff too much. (iamtrying) i look through the full house and all of it is like, what?! are you looking at!? i'm here to STAY. where, penelope, where do i get my love of knickknacks? i do blame mom. i know you you knew that i was going to say that. but before her? and before hers whoever, who? sometimes i feel like those cockatoos in austrailia that kept unscrewing all those lightbulbs and hoarding them because they were shiny.

anyway, next up besides some crafting maybe? is a walk, and that brings us to dinner and helping kerry clean out her apt. tomorrow is yoga and sunday is beyond busy with the praying, the meeting of peoples fiances at exclusive gatherings that make me uncomfortable and then a prayer night addressing peoples sexual brokeness. there went the day- poof. the weekend. bye. and then 2 weeks till feburary. yikes. plenty of time to get stuff on course right? i mean jan. is like a grace month until 2011 loses all its new sheen right? we have plenty of time.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

oh find me by the mulberry tree,

i'm out of sorts and staring off into space. maybe its too much netflix or the book about the sanitorium or the pile of boxes where christ=mas used to be. but my to-do's arent very convincing and the waking and sleeping are dubious requests.

right now i might be a pencil covered in green glitter with point balancing upon lined paper. or a piece of gum being pulled out by a finger in between clenched teeth.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

I'm stress eating a bag of butter popcorn.

Time! Where is it going! I also just ate a carrot and a pickle. All of it completely unnecessary. Except I didn't realize i could chew gum until just now? Or something. I'm watching old eps of the office and pondering my to-do for tomorrow. And previous to that I did just pay bills. Which I'm able to pay them so that's a plus. Minimums this time. Maybe double after that? Maybe? I mean sure I saw that it would take me 24 years to pay off one card if i just paid the minz, opposed to 3 years if i doubled the payment. And i know we've been having this convo for like-ever. It's old and familiar like the weather. One of my memories, you, me, luker sitting in a greektownrestaurant we probably couldn't afford and glibly talking about our debt. I'm not sure who always won or if we just considered a draw. But we all knew he'd grow up to be something responsible. But i was very dubious about me. And life is just life and we're learning right? Going through it and if we die still in debt will it really matter? Preferably not. I don't plan on being bitter about it when I'm like 75 and have just paid it off. if I live that long. I'd at least celebrate with some chocolate or a trip I didn't plan on living long enough to payoff. We might as well enjoy what we can in the meantime and stop buying crap we don't need. (Obviously the stuff we do need is necessary and therefore totally permissible. Like that book or 3 i just bought from amazon.) I mean i need something for the plane ride (hee!), and mom and me need reading material.

This morning, Danica and I, oh yes, i know i'm using it incorrectly and i'm going to do it anyway. suck it. Were praying through the basement and i started weeping over some 30yr old pretzels and there was that swastika sign i kept wondering on how to eradicate. Oh this basement. I really should photo all the rooms for you. They each have a story. There was a bicycle with a missing seat, toilets, chairs, boxes and old desks, and a largish circular sign, and the pretzels... the theme of this morning had a definite anti-hoarding sentiment, and that God can reach any-one. Any-one. Any-where. No matter what. Each room actually deserves its own story. But then I'd have to start writing fiction again... or well, creative non-fiction... what do you call it. Hmm. Fingers to a keyboard and eyes glued to the sky.

But anyway i want to tell you more about that and the lot beautification day and the tour guide named dave who told me about the 4,000 roses that used to be where i was planting the wildflowers, 100 years ago, but got torn up and hacked down because the land was valuable and it got parceled off to developers... And what a beautiful thought that was. Not the idiocy and greed of people part but the planting flowers where a painter and grower of flowers lived... reclaiming my past as Californias daughter. But I've got to go to bed. Just because I'm full of pickle and my feet are cold and i'd rather send you something than some imaginary perfect thing that will never be seen- so for now, take these half eaten thoughts and have a beautiful today. Because you're here living in it and somewhere the sun is shining.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

we are leaping forth into the great unknown,

So… I quit my job? Yeah. For good this time. Although let’s be honest, we all knew it was a long time coming. You can’t just suck away all the soul from a job and expect me to be okay with it. Although where I go from here, Idontknow. I just know it will not be the armchair version of a door-to-door petition collector. Ew.

I’m still vaguely traumatized by the fluorescent-lit yoga of yesterday eve. I mean it’s just wrong on so many levels. So I don’t know if I can go back? It’s at the Y, so maybe the poor dears simply don’t know any better? Everyone knows you’re supposed to do yoga with the lights off. I foresee myself sticking to the pool, cardio equip and possibly the outdoor track. Because ugh, drop ceiling fluorescent yoga. That’s just not okay.

And the effin’ townies, man. Why must they be so dementor-like with their disparaging comments about the sticks? I like the sticks. I mean literally, I like seeing the trees outside my window and the quietude of our little neighborhood. So anyway I guess I’ll just have to carry a bar of chocolate and my Patronus with me at all time, and tell them I have a house to sell them in Wilmington if they want to move there so badly.

I’m occupying myself with the curtain-y fairy hideout for the play room, and it’s sort of awesome so far? I mean seriously, it cost me less than $6 for the quilting hoop and everything else I already owned. The curtains go perfectly on there. Am adding some ribbons and sparkles and possibly some flowers if I can find them. We’ll see.

And um, for the moment that’s about it. I’m holding out for all other answers to the Big Questions. I assume they’ll drop out of the sky and land on my head at any moment now.

By the way, WE’RE GOING TO CHICAGO. Squee.



for m - the inner landscape - and pls excuse the mess