Tuesday, February 22, 2011

woe is us,

Dear M. It’s a most inauspicious start to our journey. For starters, the longjohns I ordered 9 days ago have not arrived, and they were completely key to my surviving February Chicagoness. And then J.Lo fell ill Sunday evening with some sort of flu-thing that kept him home Monday from work. I took care of him with chicken soup and Gatorade (but forgot the Chicken in a Biscuit crackers, damn), but otherwise avoided him like plague he had clearly contracted. And somehow so far the children and I are unscathed. Thanks be. But from 3000 miles away, you came down with a similar somesuch? And I’m really not sure if I’ve ever in 11 years say that you’ve thrown up. So why the day before we convene in Chi-town. Just, why.

It better get better. It will. (It better.)

As the death flu tries and fails to take you down, I ponder my 9-year absence from the Chicagoland. Subways and city streets – how will it all seem? And our impending absence from the Internets – will we make it? We shall. We’ll take lots of notes in my English Major journal and retain photographic evidence of everything post upon our return. It’s all part of the adventure.

See you in like 17 hours.


Monday, February 21, 2011


I took amber to Hansen Dam. It's at its sparkly best. I was hoping the clouds weren't going to obscure so much the snow on the mountains, as it usually doesn't fall so low and when it does, it melts fast, but there was more than what i captured. Makes me think I should go on a hike to try and capture more of the range but we know how my leg feels about that. This is LA at its best as we so rarely get weather in the LAbasin/SF valley. But this is the wilderness at my door, and though at the lower elevation scant of a forest- it's pretty magical anyway... the clouds make it ever so. Thanks clouds. This is about 10minutes from my house too. Makes me feel what explorers must have felt crossing over the peaks, and then one more range to go to the west and then the sparkly blue sea. Amazing.

This is the east range.this is the west range. . .

Thursday, February 17, 2011

hello penolin

I went on a hike and it again made my right quad go numb on the downhill portion. I mean i agree with mom cuz she's all, something lower back something, you know? But what exactly? Anyway it was completely gorgeous. I'll post the complete pics buh-low. I do enjoy taking my friends hiking with me and this time I tried out the ipod - downside, no birds + side i don't hear the deafening crunch of my footsteps. Totally torn. But overall its a small mix of offthegrid hikers, hard core mountainbikers, and one or two dogwalkers. I like. It's my wilderness. And yet my body is all eh, oncenawhile for you. And i wasn't photoing well. My poor haggard aging body.

Anyway I'm all wornout from that and medaling in mariokart. I still have 1 to go on the 100cc portion- i got 1star, 2 2stars, and A's. Whatever that means. I mean I'm "unlocking" things so that's cool. The day in itself was pretty idyllic. Had aimee over and we had tea and bacon and GF bread. win/win... win. I just got back from trader joes and i got my darkfairtrade chocolate. Delicious. Oh also I love Downton Abbey. Ah, mr. bates and mr. crawley. *Sigh.

Oh which reminds me of imaginary jobs- the hell. honestly. So lame. Also mine, which interview/letter assignment still not established. I need to show you how i answered the preliminary questions at least... "my future" describe myself"... terrifying. Anyway, I sort of ground to a halt on a hope but here we are trapezing into March with nary an extra penny. I will not lead us too much into the snowy climbs unless I run completely out of money. Which you know... possible. But still. High 40's? But then its Chicago. So all that could change within a matter of days. Like our fortunes. ;) Can we manage on the cheap? Can i manage without a creditcard. I don't know really.
Here's an awkward photo to express my eh, hi, you like? Yes?




Tuesday, February 15, 2011

m -

There are less than 8 days until Chicago? I don’t see how this is possible, nor can I bear to check the weather, but I have ordered my long underwear and it might even arrive on time. And I’ll pack scarves and hats and mittens and hope my pea coat will do the job. Although I assume you’re not going to make me play outdoors at length in bitter wind or anything. Gaze at the pretty snow falalala and then go inside for pedicures or something, right? Although I’m mostly not even going to know what to do with myself without children and will probably be in awe that I made it around the city 10 or so years ago somehow. How?

All this week it’s warm and dare I say it – almost springlike. I can feel it my fingers, I can feel in my toes. And you must sing that smarmily like Bill Nighy or it just isn’t going to work. Although yesterday was so wind-whippy it would have yanked your hat right off your head if you were wearing one. And it’s supposed to be that way again tomorrow? Randomly? I don’t get it. But the plus side is that it might give a little time to paint downstairs and make headway, if being outside is unbearable or whatever.

I don’t know what’s happening with the imaginary job. Mostly I don’t think about it, although I did email to say I was “becoming concerned.” I have concerns. Tim Gunn speaks. I don’t *believe* that it was a setup in which they’d steal my identity and sell it to thugs or anything, but I suppose it’s entirely possible. My gut tells me that they’re a startup with too much happening all at once with a flaky, scattered and/or too-small staff. And the job may or may not eventually happen. I’m kind of ambivalent at this point.

Random note of pop culture: the 101 Reasons to Love Parks & Rec by EW this week is brills. It only took me 3 days to read due to so many interruptions but whatever.

I suppose I should go to bed. I’m still subject to a touch of insomnia and find myself avoiding bed until around midnight or so, usually. Which doesn’t work so well when the charming short people decide a good time to wake up is 6:45. That hurt, this morning. So maybe tonight I’ll do better. Although I’m reading ItsKindofaFunnyStory and that might easily lure my restless mind to wakefulness.


P.S. bird funeral what?

What's up, Pen?

So how goes?

My event was a success i think. Questions were raised, discussion was sparked. I think it served its purpose to put it too lightly. When really even despite some theological soundness questions it was pretty amazing. And the woman who spoke was really an utter delight.

Today is the first day in a number of days i don't have anything going on. I had that one productive day on Thursday and then I'm not really sure what happened to me after that. Did you find your envelopes? I hung out with Danica, event, church- amber brought over Mariokart, so that was pretty exciting. We didn't have time to wii tennis.

This morning I woke up reluctantly with that oh, fine, i'll get up sort of thing. My phone chimed. I could hear Turtle meowing loudly to get in to my parents bedroom. Being an 18 yr old cat gets you special privileges. I threw some stuff away this a.m. Sorted. Where does all the crap come from? I think i'm feeling anxious maybe. Its a fine line between managing that and the clutter which sometimes isn't clutter but just little bits of things that don't have a home but should. And why some days it all seems to be closing in on you and other days its just a delightful palette of color and texture. I don't know. I feel like roaming. I'm going to go now.


-mirror from demo '10 in car for giveaway (why thefck did it take so long?)
-bricks trashed
-pinetree branches trashed
-icicle found
-balloon and trashbag in yard trashed
-fence,box,chords, ladder, hulahoop, etc. to garage
-3 plants moved
-dead bird buried
-held ceremony "go with God little bird"
-2 pairs of shoe to moms room
-2 towels dispersed
-laundry put away
-dishes put away
-boars head bacon is delicious
-tea made
-damn over steeped
-hosed walkway

Friday, February 11, 2011

m sigh,

I’m uber-jealous of your productivity yesterday – I enjoyed the car wash/dog walk pictures, btw. Because I’ve been pretty much useless all week. Such are the tides, but I still annoy myself. It’s like a choice between lazing around and feeling sluggish or half-assing several different projects that amount to nothing, all while neglecting the vacuuming and the dusting and putting away the laundry. Why is it so hard to put away laundry? I mean it’s all cleaned and folded and sitting in the basket. Just put in the drawers, man. Honestly.

Speaking of half-assed projects, I started painting the playroom. I wanted this blue color called Enchanting or somesuch, but that would require purchase, to which I’m opposed at this juncture, and I found a brand-new gallon of cream-colored painter-primer in the basement and was like welllwellwell. Let’s get started. And at first I really was not sure. I did a section of trim just to see. And it didn’t sit well in my mind’s eye. But then it dried overnight, and I was like, huh. I think it’s going to work? I mean it’s obviously as neutral as one can get. But it will really brighten up the space. And I can always add in wall stickers or something arty and painty later.

Congrats on the seaweed sales! That ROCKS. Prayers answered. Love it. Although I’ll need to hear more about these orange seats. I’m skeptical of both the color and the process. But do trust your artistic judgment.

Things I still can’t find: giant box of envelopes, DVD car charger and I’m sure there’s other things. Also, our mailbox flag is still broken, apparently unfixable, and now the mail-lady is leaving outgoing letters in the box. Which is just annoying. And I’d really like my new phone, even though it defies my defiance against coveting things shiny and gadgety. Because ew.

Oh and newjob! It really is imaginary. Didn’t see that one coming. They’ve taken nearly two weeks after I submitted all my Important Paperwork and still don’t have my account activated. I feel really super-great about them having all my info, too. I don’t know what the deal is, but I’ll have to keep looking I guess. Pbbbt.

The proposed Friday itinerary sounds excellent. I doubt I’m prepared for the wicked Chi weather, but forge on I will.


Thursday, February 10, 2011


Well, I'm here. I've had a shockingly productive day. Post office, tidy yard, water plants, wash car, vacuum insides, simple green to the seat spots inlieu of pro-detailing or dyeing the seats orange. Which I may still do. I then gathered 3 writing samples- an old essay on Samuel Johnson and Wit, a short story and a cheeky screenplay coverage sample. THEN i finished a sample of crafty/installing general awesomeness for my website (for someones perusal). Oh and what, 2 more seaweed pressing sold. Out of nowhere. I don't get it. I mean i'm not arguing. Obviously. Oh and someone called from the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts to set up an interview for a mysterious temp job of which i know not the task, length or pay... I managed to watch at least three episodes of Pushing Daisies, a 1945 adaptation of '10 little indians', read one page of my novel, and whatever else. It's a whirl.

I turned down the shower option and what can possibly be accomplished tomorrow... maybe the shower. I don't know. Anyway. Tanning?

This letter is a classic example of being tired, and having too many scattered thoughts to hold glue. Lists shmists... Hold water. Anyway.

What's the undercurrent- anxious thoughts, encouraging thoughts. Too much tv to read between the static. category upon category of self dissected in the blink of an eye twitch to which i think i should write it down. But I won't hold still.

love you, m.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


You're totally making up facts- but wait before I get to that, I dreamed i was on this cruise ship and Parker was there, but weird things were happening before we got to port, stuck infact for hours before we got to dock- somebody was coming into my room to steal shampoo samples, a girl in a red bra disappeared and i was wandering around in my bigcoat trying to find her in the middle of the night - getting waylaid and distracted by various people. I didn't know who she was as i could only describe the short dark bob of her hair and her matching underwear set, and her thin pale features. But I knew she was in danger... Ok, so back to you. Here's an exact quote from February about this time exactly last year: So, can we fast-forward through February, already? I’m over it. Oh wait… Journey. Dammit! It’s just that I’m looking forward to my favorite season and month, March...

Every time I go back to read through the blog I just love us. We're both talking about yoga; I've started to visit you around this time every year. I'm complaining about jobs and popsicles. I forgot that one year I just refused to blog all of January. And then we promised to blog by capitalizing the beginning of sentences. Pshaw. I mean i'm doing it now sort of. But still. Also around this time as part of my lists i'm thinking of doing taxes, which is exactly whats going to happen today. I don't know in this midst of all this consistency how anything changes.

And among those is of course the fact that February is a dark month and it always has been. Something about it seems to stretch forever, malaise comes sweeping across the plain. We doubt all our purposes and intents and with a vagure apprehension are wary of our lists and plagued by them at the exact time. I don't have any dead trees and yet out of some sympathy there is a desolation of leaves in my heart and a network of exposed limbs where life used to be.

Just now a man came knocking at the door, asking for donations for his book. This tome he'd written called "Space Ark". I admit this is a first. And if i had cash to spare I think I actually would've given it to him. He took 20 years to write it. He has an internet site but i just tried to check it out and it didn't come up. Damn. He's been jobless for four years. And his flyer, which he tore out of the back of his bound book reads "Please support Direct Democracy and its most ardent advocate by donating to me, the author of Space Ark!" If only Nathan Lee Carnes. If only.

Meanwhile I put too much cheese on my breakfast quesadilla, and am watching pushing daisies while i gather strength to go outside to read so i can gather strength to yoga, so i can gather strength to do um stuff... ? But already the day is drawing up its skirts and getting ready to run off. And as you say, EH.

But here's to surprises and authors pitching their wares door to door. In all the gloom, the unordinary comes. T-minus 15days.

my love,

double yawn

I appear to have hit some sort of wall re: energy and will? I mean I’m assuming it will pass in a few days as always, but in the meantime I’m just like – IhaveathousandprojectsthatIcouldbedoingbut - meh. Just meh. It’s called recharging-batteries mode. Even though as K.Lo kindly pointed out the other day, “But Mommy, you don’t have batteries.”

Although I do plan on braving 1 1/2-hr yoga tonight, fluorescent lights be damned. It’s a different instructor, so maybe she has a bit of sense about turning the lights out, but I’m not holding my breath. Which you can’t do in yoga anyway, duhh. Probably the lights thing comes down to liability, because doesn’t it always? Well whatever.

I’m itching for spring. I mean really. I cannot stand the sight of dead grass and bare branches one second longer. And I’m not sure why that is – I mean Feb certainly isn’t my favorite month, but it’s usually (mostly) tolerable? Maybe I’m making up facts. But this year – no. I’m already done with you February. Eight days in. Thank God for the furry gopher-creature’s prophecy and may it be true.

What could I or should I be doing? Rearranging the basement (again – I know) to accommodate our recent shipment of crapola from oldhouse. I foresee that I’ll be lazy and resistant until one day when I charge downstairs, biceps flexed, and tackle the whole thing in an afternoon. Because that’s so how it goes. And I really could or should pitch a few more ideas for newjob, I mean other than the fact that they still have yet to enable my account so that I can actually, you know, blog for them. It’s not exactly motivating, and I suspect the whole job itself has been imagined. But we’ll get there. Indeed we will get there. And I feel like there’s maybe 12 something-else’s in there, but I don’t know what they are and nor do I seem to really care.


I do however want to make something Italian today. The latest ep of TopChef did that to me. I also upgraded my phone after hours – okay maybe 2 full days – of indecision. It was a free upgrade, mind. But still, I never did fall in love with my current phone and will be happy to rid my hands of its bulky, cheaplymadeness. And I’d looove to send the kids outside to play today in the dead grass, but it’s cold. February. I really think I might loathe you. If I could muster the energy required.

T-Minus 15 days until our Chi-meet!

xoxo pen

Sunday, February 6, 2011


love, i will take a better picture of the old man for there he is. you mistake his smile for his bulbous nose, and further below his lips are mostly hidden by a great flowing beard and jutting moustache. and the gnarled tree is a magical stand out from the garden of the worlds- its actually a very vigorous wysteria vine and they seem to tolerate it misplacing the lamp. to me it seems wizened and ancient and obviously it talks. so...

next up- buddhists. i don't know. i was like, why are buddhists drinking starbucks. it seemed odd. i suppose they have every right but i don't know. it was like an exotic bird wandering into the street.

what else... oh yes, camping shmamping. i don't even remember it happening. but i'll try to recap it for you.

it all started out on a tuesday, or was it monday? danica and i went into the hills of los feliz. and lo' there was a burning in my lungs i could not place. there was a dim haze over the land and yet, it shouldn't have impaired so readily. it was not smog. allergies perhaps? the next day i went walking around silverlake resevoir with martel, feeling now the onset of rasp and snarf. i valiantly traversed with gingerpill, zicam, hearthealth emergen-c to no avail. it seemed improbable that in a matter of a day i would be camping but i was in denial of the collision of events.

by friday alas i woke up weary, tried to rally and seemed more prepared to go then my mom except she was busy packing all the food. my downfall was to not bring any dayquil or drugging apparrel and of course not insisting we come fully firewood stocked... but the way i packed the car seemed to indicate space...issues. well anyway nevermind. so i make it as far as in'out and we go to wendys instead and then i make mom drive which is always a bad sign. i seemed clear to nod off toward ventura and though there was a tension headache spreading from the base of my skull and radiating up into the flesh of my head i persisted with no drugs once we got there too tired to stop anywhere, and just laid on the beach with the sun warming me and i in a sweatshirt and sweatpants. knowing it was getting worse but only able to complain about the stops to trader joes seemed too much and that getting wood seemed arduous. having got one bundle already and no more--- we set to put up the tent only to find all the cords had rotted and snapped. i threatened to make a scene and set fire to the tent for warmth and the chill on me was descending made me feel cold even in my -35 down jacket. meanwhile the nextdoor campers in their RV's which i loathe, because on clipped the generator and on clicked the porch light- casting us in an ugly pallor against a lamp that would not work despite batteries and a meager fire which is worse than nothing-- all set to trollope me. their ugg boots and chipper talk, their continual drawing from a giant bin of firewood while we sat as death warmed over me and the drip in my nasals and my raw throat drew nigh. i fell to sleep by 9 and merciful grace the lights went off and so did the generator.

mom would want me to obsess over the racoons that stole over all our stuff, but they were unsuccessful thieves and unwitnessed. i did like the little groundsquirrils who almost made off with moms nuts and chewed the iceplants- their chief hunters the ugg boot wearing girls from next door who saw no qualms of wandering into our camp and throwing rocks down the holes of the poor rodents with no thought to squashing, maiming or in general being brats. mom finally did yell at them. then finally of course i got breakfast, i got drugs, friends came up. ellie who wins the prize brought up gluten free bread and made us paninis over the now well stocked fire. thank the God(s).

because after searching hi/low/roundabout to the locals one guy in vons started us off on this quest that there was a guy who had cheap firewood somewhere around these parts. we were determined but i had no strength. mom happened to ask the janitors and they said oh yes, the firewood guy, well he's kind of crazy but you cant miss down the road yonder with a sign past the church down the alley way. he'll be there. and mom came back like a saint with stacks of wood and not too poor in pocket. all hail firewood guy!

meanwhile maryann and kerry whom i love for coming, seemed out of their depth, tired and mostly cranky- i felt bad because i had no verve to delight them to the good qualities of camping. i think i left them unconvinced. they left toward dinner which left ellie, myself and mom to enjoy soup, wine, carne asada, corn, and quinoa salad by ourselves next to the blaze. and the campers on the otherside of us lent us a mag light. camping life i will note... you are the observed. you are the observer. a great amount of critique and assessment goes into each camper at your boarder- will they survive, are they stupid, incompentent, have they been before, what sort of decisions are they making, what is their life like- such a microscope. but anyway, this is all moot because i was never there- i didn't see the sun rise, or the rain come shortly after 8am on a sunday morning and the murders of crows crossing the sky or the various birds bathing. or the lack of seaweed mom had promised more, or the breeze and now wet sticking sand, or the delicious jalepeno/cilantro/feta scramble i enjoyed as i hung my head and squeezed my aching eyes, fingering the orange pills on my lap.

i did not wash it all down with a frapachino and promises to pay mom back for the outlet shirts and underwear i bought or the in/out fries... or the week it took to unpack or the dismal check i got from edd- making certain of my deadweight burdened and financially tapped self. but anyhow where ever i was it was somewhere and the place i imagined was glorious, with the soft sounds of trains in the distance, the jutting mountains at my back and the pounding ocean to my west. mom assured me it was a good time. i will have to trust her judgment.


Friday, February 4, 2011


Your pictures, oh your whimsical pictures! They are clearly proof that magic occurs in the crevices and cracks when you’re not seeking out. I mean – other than the whole mouse thing. Where did the gnarled old trees come from? And I heart Thorne. And the snuggly furry creatures. And I demand a caption at least on the Hare Krishnas – where, what? I don’t know about the old man on the wall. I tend to agree with the assessment that it looks like a smiley face. I couldn’t enlarge it for more detail however. And I’d like to here more about camping with mom although I understand you don’t really remember a thing.

Aside – how genius was Oscar throwing up his hands about the essentiality of irony? The Office is in a quiet recovery year I feel. But this whole get rid of Michael thing, I don’t know. Unless the Ricky Gervais cameo was foreshadowing for his replacement, which would be the only acceptable outcome.

I’m tired. Of everything. I’d like to sleep until noon one of these days, can I schedule that in? That’s rhetorical.

It’s super-awesome that our house has dropped approximately 14% in value, rendering it impossible to sell. Isn’t it? Currently, am questioning the point of it all.

And I got this new job? But after my first story pitch it’s been crickets. Something about enabling my account so I can actually get started, but I’m beginning to wonder if the whole thing was just imagined. Another thing that doesn’t exist.

But whatever. This weekend – a kids museum in RaleighLand. An actual full morning at newchurch. Some big football game or something – yawn. I show up for the snacks.

And we do totally have to do a phone call soon. To relieve your eye twitch and my eye twitch and whatnot. Maybe during the superbowl Smile 



Thursday, February 3, 2011


so you've been like totally busy to talk about my weird photos, which i get. i mean you have this thing you created and she's growing and talking and having birthdays and opinions which, is a little freaky. and you're making her cakes with really alluring frosting hair. and i do get to see you in person soon. so we can talk about all the things i ever wanted. i mean i dont know if we've even had a phone call in like a month or more. and you know how i feel about that. but then i should totally just call and harass you. but then i don't. just lots of internal sulking. oh and my eye is totally twitching right now. no idea why.

anyway i've had a pretty mellow day. there was the waking up part, the lying outside in the sun part, the switching out the drying paper for the seaweed part, going to meet grainofsand for lunch- there was a bit of a harrowing stretch as we tried to figure out where to go. the one thing we did agree on was cheap. but she's vegetarian. i'm allergic to wheat. she wants healthy. and i just want a $5 in/out meal. but in the end though i spent more than i wanted $11- she did get healthy and i got a phillycheesesteak and fries thing, though yes i probably should've gotten a salad. and we tried something new. which is a bonus for both of us i think. i'm about to go to SB to meet a fellow prayer council member who thinks i'm a morning person and wanted to know if 8pm was too late. mom laughed. i know. its weird in what contexts people think you are. now granted i do prayer walk at 815am on sunday mornings which is atrociously early. but i think God is telling me to do that otherwise i totally wouldn't. i have a gut reaction against the dawn, unless i've been awake the entire time. because my favorite time is that dark dark blue. it thrills me but anyway. there was that one job though were i was at work at 6am every morning. but that was some alien quest you know? well anyway 8pm is a bit late but thats mostly because i'm anti-social and its treacherously close to friday and i'm missing the office. but off i go to make connections and build things of things. ok there went my alarm. i'll be back.

so she bought me coffee which you know is like a bribe or something, or an arm twist because i was immediately like, aw, ok, we can work it out.

anyway this eyetwitch is driving me nuts. i've got to go.