Saturday, March 31, 2012

btw the blusters i write you,

good morning love,  (now night)

i hope the honey thing kicks in or that you stop being progressively repressed by the weather. completely unpleasant. i understand the plaintive cry of discomfort. but you are terrific for painting bugs room. i think i had to paint all my own rooms- at least i think from 12 or 13 on. and the room divider i made is kind of a disaster in the sense that it's really just a prototype of something that might one day be really good if i scrap it and do it over. maybe? as it is now it falls short and is mangled but hanging... oh also, love your obsession with jalapeno dip. what can i say. delight. and i know you didn't respond back about me loving the mouse in your car thing but i think it's seriously allegorical or magical or something. i can't quite describe but truly. there's something to it. it's like my meowing neko. she's here. i have her sent by the wind and she's annoying and loud, but i don't know inevitable?

the other night i picked up a bamboo pole which after a bit i realized was a fishing pole. it didn't occur to me to put it down, and that someone might come back for it, the top was a bit damaged so i'm hoping maybe it was abandoned. the better part besides theft (there's some scandal finally) was that it's now thee perfect toy for the ward. who is sadly lacking in stimulation. oh and also out late and drinking (not me) in a small town... which is how i came across it.

in other scandalous news the sheer amount of skin i show is bound to be scandalous. that's all i can give bruckner really. every morning when the sea is calm and the sun is out i race down to the water pull up my pant legs and take off my wrap and bask my bare arms- to the curious glances of every covered head to toe korean who passes and happens to notice me tucked back along the shoreline in a place overcome with volcanic rock and waring crab. so there's that. they changed my schedule too so i have to start getting up earlier so i can bask longer. must align priorities rightly. and getting around to waxing. though i love hair, it is a bit unkempt in all it's various arrangements.

anyway the anxiety is less and my appetite is back- maybe more to say on the other.  i got two killer gift boxes from mom and danica+wendy which leaves me floored with not only the good things but how much i feel the love across the divide. neither tried the korean grocery store which bums me out a bit but honestly i can't knock the awesome. or the luckycharms and loose leaf tea. it's all sitting there in the box just looking lovely. and its miraculous that the last three packages have all come when i'm home. i have the most awesome friends. postcards and boxes and letters from cathy- i never thought it would mean so much. but it really does. must.find.postoffice. i did find the bank! so come monday or next and a good exchange rate and off i go. it hit a high when i was sick. it's taunting me retroactively.

besides that it was a good day- laundry... which wasn't working until i realized i had shut off the water valve. oops. and taking out my recycling which almost blew down the street. my only hope was that the wind was keeping my pants up as i crossed the street. perilously close to a mishap. washed the dishes. tidyed the table. i even went grocery shopping. i bought a $15 scarf- a bit pricey. it's 100% something. silk or polyster- i'm not sure/ or how effective of a belt it'll be but maybe? i felt i had to have something before i bulk purchase a new wardrobe from nordstroms or ask kerry to send me stuff. since i know she will... eventually... i think?

anyway, tomorrow i'm going hiking with the head teacher and her two kids 8months and 2yrs something... interesting yes? i know. let's just leave that dangling.

otherwise danica sent me a book on contemplation- the first sentence filled me up: contemplative prayer is a world in which God can do anything. love.

and love to you across the waters,

Thursday, March 29, 2012


In which penelope whines a little, or maybe a lot.

my love,

it appears that I am deathly allergic to the state of virginia this spring. it’s not that I’ve never suffered seasonal allergies before. but this year has knocked me flat on my face. the allergycast/allergen threat level scale indicates we are damn near maxed out (11.4 out of 12 on saturday!) and meantime my sinuses and ears are leaden, my throat sore, my skin crawling. neti pot you say? it’s most uncomfortable and sadly unproductive. the old standby zyrtec? I can’t tell if it just doesn’t work on me anymore, or if the 2010 expiration date truly has meaning. I’m never inclined to think it does, with meds, but maybe. and local honey you say? I’m attempting, but so far no luck. the honey is produced in our neighborhood, like a mere mile from our house, maybe less. so it couldn’t be more local. or more delicious really. mmm honey. mmm hot steamy tea. but so far the whole antibodies theory is proving to be an oldwivestale.


so I’ve been largely unproductive/completely lethargic really since our return from athens, ashley, andi and le hunger games. and head and the heart! which i ‘ve been hearing in my mind eversince. I love love love them. the trip was grand, really. and you noticed my mug! on our video call yesterday. I really do love that mug. and your new dishes from the market.

I am meandering my way through “no angel,” feel like I’ll reach the end soon? possibly? it’s like watching an entire season of downton, except I cannot read nearly as fast as I can watch. and nearing the end we’re in the midst of an epic affair, and I do not love affairs. like if only I could reach through the pages and shake some shoulders, wring some necks. although at the same time I loathe when men are condescending, demeaning, to their amazing female counterparts, and so I suppose I’m torn. like did oliver really deserve that? his misogyny is a product of his time. and celia’s like a hurricane. and then the war, the terrible war and its psychological aftermath…

upcoming projects allegedly include painting the Bug’s room dusty lavender with pink polka dots and white butterflies. I mean the polka dots are stickers and the butterflies are wall hangings that were leftover from a friend’s own decorating ventures. and it will all be a surprise, when the children and j.lo go away for easter weekend. so shhh, don’t tell her. I hope I’ll be able to pull it off in time.

and of course sewing. so far completed: 6 napkins and a dish dryer. have some minor mending to do and then will be perusing box o’ fabrics for inspiration.

my eyeballs are leaking and the head vice is tightening. going to go sip some tea. from my new mug. with local honey. and some self-pity.


update us on your scandalous life when you have a chance….


Tuesday, March 20, 2012



~ completely forgot to mention that after purchasing the jalapeno artichoke dip last week, I began eating it immediately. like in the car on the way home. another car looked like it might pull out in front of me and as I raised a chip to my mouth I thought – but if I die right now? I would be happy. mmm jalapenoartichokedip.

~ SEWING MACHINE PROGRESS. I threaded and rethreaded and made it work. omg. had been missing a step that was explained - I swear - for a different model in the booklet because it did not look like my machine. although I am apparently slow when it comes to black and white 3-d illustrations, so I could be wrong. anyway. I fixed a hole in N.Lo’s little shirt!

~ have changed my bookclub selection for May bc we were all beginning to notice that our selections are completely depressing and possibly soul-sucking. so there’s one more soul-suck book for April (which I really have been wanting to read) and then The Dovecatchers, which promises to be not without strife but filled with badass epic girl power.

~ had oil changed in car this morning… possibly it’s almost been a year… whatever. it’s nearly as bad as a haircut, getting one’s car serviced. anyway, THERE HAS BEEN A MOUSE LIVING IN MY CAR. as evidenced by the filters. I don’t even really want to talk about it.

~ have you found/downloaded antm eps yet? I mean I’m not really impressed with this season, to be honest. kelly c. has always scared me down to my toes. and the girls seem especially obnoxious, esp when juxtaposed to the brits, who generally seem more, I don’t know, worldly? human? like they know how to do up rivalry, but they manage to act better than 10 year olds. who have been raised by wolves.

~ my sinusessss are killing. me. curse you, allergies or cold or whatever you are…


love to you – jeju –

Monday, March 19, 2012

good morning m ~

It's nearly dinnertime here of course. The loveliest weather ever, as I sit on the back porch and watch the children play on their swingset, which you can see below they do not like at all. 

Still hateyou blogger, for your formatting ridiculousness as I compose another post with no reasonable way to reorder photos and absolutely no margin on the left hand side of the page, which is making me twitchy. 

But here is the weekend recap in pictures. 

K.Lo in her new work space.
It was a long day building that sucker.
J.Lo especially can attest,
but I did assist wherever possible.
Birthday love!
Cards from each employee and Management.
And material/thread for my first sewing project.
Provided I am ever able to properly thread the machine.
Green drinks! St. Patty's eve.
I added green dye to the wine,
which was given to me by my book club friends,
who clearly know the way to my heart.
And J.Lo's beer, which is lamely not green,
but bottled green.
Next time I'm making him wear a leprechaun hat.
But we did have corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots!
Randomly at book club, we also did a craft.
Monster and owl bookmarks!
From Pinterest. Which someone at church has been calling
"Pin-interest." Perplexingly.
I love crafts. I think he is a cross between a monster and an owl
and distinctly Muppet-ish.
Wild pansies!
Everywhere, everywhere, everywhere,
all over our yard.
And the lawnmower mostly even leaves them alone.
That is the magic of spring. 
And speaking of Muppets!
The cake.
Alight with 14 candles -
because that's what we had.
But I blew them all out in one go,
so maybe my wish will come true!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

magic ingredients

hello on the island. 
Let me say as a brief hormonal aside, I don't know how you deal with so many pint-sized, life-sucking forces on a daily basis. Teachers are a-mazing. I am not wired to work with littles. I mean, I love my own littles. I even like them very much. But a group of them? Bleh. I had been asked to assist with the 7 and unders on Wednesday nights after dinner, for 3 weeks, and it's not terrible. But it's not awesome, either. Would much rather go to the discussion group in an adults-only room. Rather than absorbing the fire of 7 little personalities. Although to be fair, said hormones were more than likely skewing my opinion last night, and I might also have felt hostile and unnerved in the discussion room, too. 

Well anyway. Stewardship. 

I'm repainting the coffee table top yet again, and I insist that it will be right this time. Apparently outdoor shellacky paints are not the end-all be-all in warding off chips, scuffs, sticky smudges, etc. So this time there is minwax shellac and sanding and 3 coats. And dancing around the table insisting no one breathe on it, so much as look at it funny, until is ALL DONE. 

Discovered at SamsClub: this. Serrrriously. It does happen to contain the dreaded HFCS, but I'm ignoring that now as I inhale it with both tortilla chips and those awesome crunchy rice cracker thingies. Cold, warm, whatever. My soul is arrested by its spicy genius. And I feel like it would be easy to make - basic artichoke dip with that added magical ingredient, the jalapeno. 

Purchased with birthday money: this. Yay! It hath arrived! I have been daydreaming about it for months now. This is not to say I actually know how to use it yet, or have even acquired thread, but still. Possibilities! 

Tomorrow is my 20-14th birthday, and dareisay I'm looking forward to it? My cake is going to have Kermit on it, for starters. And there is bookclub. And either pizza or spinach ravioli for dinner, I cannot decide. 

That bookclub book, though. I zoomed until about page 100 and then ran into a brickwall. Just, no. The little brother in the cabinet things was too much, is all I can say. I looked ahead. I skimmed, I perused spoilers. The plot is pieced together in my mind enough to discuss it all. And it's not that it's badly written or that I'd never recommend it... movingon. 

So instead I'm reading another Cath recommended/Downton Abbey-esque, No Angel, which I think she also recommended to you. Are you going to read Forsyte? Because the appeal of free and online and a possible virtual bookclub discussion to boot... 

love to YOU

Sunday, March 11, 2012


A weekend recap from our world, in completely haphazard order because blogger and I don't get along lately. With pictures anyway. And finding things. And whatever. Posterous is even worse. Fancy schmancy "minimalistic" designs. But speaking of posterous, this was part of our weekend, rehearsing Saturday and Sunday and then watching the actual play. Which was really good! And sweet! They pulled it off really well. K and N mainly had to sing one song, not act, but perhaps next time? They are getting there. Mainly I'm impressed there were no signs or semblance of panic attacks at participating. 

The rest - garden formation! walk to the pond! for which we now have the mysterious key! Secretly I feel like the dogs were all - what! this place has been here all year and you're just now telling us. But somehow it worked, with K.Lo managing the Bender most of the way there and back. The Bender. She listened to K.Lo and didn't drag her around. I'm so glad that temporary lobotomy paid off. 

Meantime, I cannot be-lieve you are so sick. again. And after our delightful call our Friday night/your Saturday morning! You did amuse us so. Anyway I hope you're feeling better enough. And that this hard ball of daily anxiety will gradually dissipate into your being. 

Tonight we're watching Moneyball, lamenting The Lost Hour of DST and then I'll continue attempting to zoom through my latest bookclub selection, which is a Holocaust story, which. Enough said. It's best to zoom. Literally every chapter with the 1940s girl is making me ill ~ the in-between chapters in contemporary France are like a breathoffreshair.

N.Lo showing K.Lo the Big Rock he's about to throw in the pond.
Or the chunk of brick, as the case may be. 

The geese swam by, all business.
Checking up on these imposters.
There's our garden! Aerial view.
It is right next to the deck. Tilled directly in the earth,
and the dirt is good.
N.Lo winging sticks.
Me and K.Lo.
K.Lo, lit by sunshine.
The action.
Leashes on post.
Flying Bailey.
Garden entrance, under the deck.
The fence wraps all the way around
but hooks onto the deck post,
so it's kind of a gate.
Does that make sense? 


here i am.

highlights of the week do include trimming nails, and painting them pink as well as watching the kitten eat my ikea curtain. i'm going to come home and find the whole thing on the floor as it's only tacked up into the ceiling and she'll have gnawed her way out of it. i mean i dont want to take away her fun per se but there are limits. and yet how really to limit it... i meant to blog preflu, as now sadly things have turned- so now i'm sitting here on a sunday chewing the mint gum i have left after my 2nd shower of the day, and trying to think of other things besides, yea, i have the @(*$&! flu again. awesome. and i had meant to celebrate the beginning of my 8thwkontheisland.

does this ever happen to anyone- it's friday, you feel some weird tickling crap at the back of your throat, and you lightly cough, and somehow you know it's the inevitable end of you? and the writer of the novel you're in puts the pen to his tongue and nods his head. that's how my friday felt. i was optimistic until around 12ish or so the next day- we'll call it denial- , whenever it was that i was talking to you. i remember laughing and twirling my hair and telling you actual things about my classes and my students, like a normal person who is amused by such things, or relating the more mortifying accidental fling of my underwear off the balcony- the stained defunct pair that shouldn't live but does, as i unfurled my comforter to dry, which also eventually betrayed me when the wind picked up and did the same plummet to the inbtw space of my building and the next. and then after j said to not push it, and i was like, well the museum is close. i lasted about 20min before i stopped to stare at an indoor display of boyguardian grave statues illuminated by these square white and purple blocks of color before i wondered what vomit would like all over them- and since i usually never think of scenarios that involve that, and there were very few people in the building, my eventual humiliating stumble to security where i pass out and they just leave me there like a dying sea mammal unsure of how to save me, seemed a sure thing. so i left mocked by serene music and magpies where i eventually and conspicuously laid myself out on a corner of the small beach where no one sits but only takes pictures by, incurring glances, with my face the only thing uncovered facing the sun, and then stupidly paid $3.5 for a tiny plate of fries and $7 for an awesome ginger/honey/lemon tea- today not to be outdone i paid $8 for a plate of potato wedges coated in wheat and the same $7 tea, thinking that if nothing else, it might save me from all the ill done to my body... after the fact.

and now i'm sitting here and rubbing chapstick on my dry forehead, which is now tingling with menthol from the burtsbees and praying to God i don't wake up worse than before.  and thinking, yea, 2 months! here we go! well nevermind, like all cranky people i need to be put to bed, or out of my misery. i imagine the rest of my time in penance and my hands postured upward in surrender... which isn't so bad as long as nothing goes wrong and i'm in perfect health always.

my love to you over there. in your idyllic wonderland ;) of gardens, forests, and magical instagram pictures... to bruckner who i'm sure when he ever eventually reads this, will find he's entered into the yet another tale of woe set in a bleak manufacturing town of 19th c england, will be over tired if he's even read to this point- my only consoling fact is that i will most likely live another day.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Last night I made one of my somewhat notorious, accidentally way-too-spicy dinners that J.Lo rejected. You’d think I’d learn by now to hold back with the Tony Chachere’s? I used to find the rejection insulting, now I just call him a wuss. Because the jambalaya didn’t actually taste bad. Just a bit, um, warm. Would totally be tolerable with some sour cream on top. If I hadn’t run out.

Related news – I had the great misfortune of slicing my finger yesterday on the box of aluminum foil. Which, ouch. But I’m also eating the aforementioned jambalaya leftovers, and accidentally just licked my finger, and apparently cuts don’t like Tony Chachere, either. Oopsie.

I finally finished Graceling. I wish I could read fast like Cath, who I think secretly holds volumes up to her forehead and absorbs them whole. Although I understand that’s what her brain is wired to do, read voraciously. I perhaps read too ponderingly. Anyway, I almost ran out to procure the second Graceling book from le library, but then I realized that it’s not about the same characters. So, hmm. Will read eventually, but follow-up doesn’t feel as dire. Reading now: The Shack, finishing up Crossed and then somehow or other am supposed to procure and read book club book by 3/16? Um. 

Am totally with you in spirit on your journey. I don’t suppose Korea partakes in the ridiculous institution of Daylight Savings? so on Sunday, we’ll only be 13 hours apart. Until fall. It’s the little things. Anyway, I hope you are learning in increments how to thwart the children’s shenanigans with an inspiring mixture of aplomb, grace and evil mastermindedness. I can only imagine the little emotional roller coasters that they are, and the rides they try to take you on. Settle down, children! and listen to your teacher. Honestly.

I did in fact miss the consignment sale, although in a Herculean organizational effort yesterday, sequestered and sorted the Toy Pile that will be consigned in the fall. It’s possible I’ll even have the wherewithal to price them out over the summer with tags and everything, but then again let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Tonight is another potluck dinner at church and I secretly want to eat all the cookies I made. Would anyone really notice…. couldn’t I just pick up a few dozen donuts and put those out on the table instead? Am just saying.

Related news – I have perhaps been eating too many sweets.

And not exercising enough. Why do we rebel so hard against common sense?

In addition to the flag on the front porch, we have a birdfeeder on the back porch. The kind that thwarts squirrels. So far they seem to not like our kitchen-side observation, but I imagine they’ll soon feel brazen enough.

Today (and this week?) I feel mostly aimless, like I could do xyz123andabc, but can’t decide what to do when and so nothing really gets accomplished without true, concentrated effort. And I only have so much energy for all that…



Tuesday, March 6, 2012

photo roundup

pen's scattered world in pictures ~

rosemary ~ it flowers, i did not know.
JD Tennessee Honey ~ mmm.

magnet wall! i conquered it. 
there is a flag outside now
this made me laugh.
epic sky
our house ~ closed ~ cheers
katniss. entertainment weekly. it's almost movie time!
and this is just horrifying.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

hi you,

the recklessness of last saturday gave way to cautionary tales of, yes you're still allergic so no you can't have fish n chips everyweekend. sorry, no. and the ward that is my japanese bobtail, has some eye conjunctivitis that if it won't clear up needs a vet check and she seems like a cat in heat, which gives way to murderous thoughts at night and ipods at loud volumes and chucking pillows and closing windows. which validates all the anxiety i had the very first night i got her. she sits on the very edge of my bed. she knows. and further then deliberately knocks over some things because why are they there she wonders... meanwhile i'm powering through dickens and it's really enjoyable and wonder constantly at how much or how little time i have- not sure what i'm missing out on doing but it's all that ridiculous rhythm finding i despise. i don't find comfort easily.

especially with words. i need the concrete, and so the day off was really godsent and the weather was perfect. and just touching the water and sand made me remember how grounding it really will be as the weather warms and how it will become a central and pivotal point of my peace and not as through winter, my tormenter. of course when i had to go back into work on friday i became violently angry again and further irriated that i still cant wrap my head around paying bills here and banking. luckily the day was consuming enough that i snapped out of it to a good weekend- laundry, painting nails, food, searching the internet for the precise locations of the PO and the bank i need- for another go at the adventure maybe next weekend? or if i'm feeling really spry perhaps in a morning before work. i wonder at the days when my lists will stretch long. . .

and am going to try and remember that i have money coming to me so that the coin that seems to be rapidly flying out of my hand will constrict into a budget come friday and i'll figure all the damn things out and i have after all only been here a bit over a month. on this scrubby godforsaken island! i jest, mostly poor thing. it's been good to me. it did strike me in church today- though the sermon sucked- that my next focus was to have God give me a heart of gratitude for his provision and to be a steward of it right? a proper, ah, life on loan sort of thing. and that though i want to lock the students out of my mind i really should be asking God which ones need prayer and whatever else. let the Lord invade all the far reaching corners right? meanwhile the guy preaching on sin just thinks we need to do all we can do to turn away from temptation and though he did vaguely mention the help of the holyspirit i can't help but think, he thinks, the bulk of the work is done by sheer will and not addressing the heart or the wounds of life... so that if we just cut the behavior/addiction out- poof problem solved. it made me cringe. it did lead to a good conversation with one of the girls here which followed from an even better conversation the day before- naturally i was at starbucks and she was walking by- divine right given that ive only met like 10people on the island. and she messaged me with 'what did you think of the sermon... well let me tell you! i did regret i didn't stick around for lunch but it's a tall order if no one is immediately engaging with you besides offering you donuts you can't eat and pamphlets on monthly devotionals...

and besides my drama professor, i emailed her and she's like - find so and so ! as he lives somewhere on jeju- and i know the island is small but that seems a tall order... though it's tantalizing to me to try and connect to the art community here as an avenue of community over the 20 something church peeps- like that alone might keep me interested and engaged when school becomes a routine of challenge and the ups and downs of success and failure. i wonder at it. anyway, i did yoga sort of before i began to regret that i didn't bring my yoga mat on these now feeling ridiculously hard concrete floors with strange veneers over them and i ate too much pineapple. and how many things can i watch and download in a day and how much can i read, to what walking in the rain!? to how much free cell to really? do i have that much to do? should i be doing something else? surely there must be something... and to say then, hmm, i don't know. i just dont' know. maybe i'll think of something tomorrow. night is the hardest- because it's all piled up and there's no one to call and no one's online- except for a couple blessed exceptions of my early rising east and midcoast friends- sometimes.

allright i have to kill the cat.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Everything’s been a jumble in my mind, so here are lists ~

good things in March

  • birthday!
  • garden creation!
  • green beer!
  • possible camping?
  • road trip!
  • to Athens!
  • to see Ash and Andi!
  • and The Head and the Heart!
  • and The Hunger Games!
  • and let’s not forget spring
  • and the fact that February is OVER.

vexing things

  • the magnetic primer paint, which was expensive, oil-based, toxin-filled, messy, ugly, reeking, and did not even work
  • it’s taking too long to read my book really
  • I haven’t done anything to prepare for that upcoming consignment sale and see it sailing on by
  • tax return errors
  • my entire relationship with writing
  • necessary appointments for tax return amendments
  • children that say whinily, “I don’t want to plaaaaaay.”
  • Parenthood is over for the season already
  • how does that guy on Survivor keep his hair all spiky without product
  • two new game apps: scramble with friends and word whirl – one I can’t ever win and the other I spend too much time on
  • am too easily derailed away from a life with comfortable margins
  • it takes very much energy to keep up with two kids, two dogs and a husband and sometimes I do not have said energy. and then things crumble. and then I feel even more derailed.
  • I don’t understand “consistent” personalities. I am moody and fiery and then calm and really anything but. as far as consistency.

things I like

  • budding trees
  • emerging tulip magnolias
  • coffee, lots of it
  • texas pete and other spicy condiments
  • an evening glass of wine like the girls drink on Mike & Molly (full. very full.)
  • the multigrain bagel at starbucks, warmed and with cream cheese
  • lenten reading plan
  • hiking
  • strawberries that look fresh, not old. that’s nice.
  • ANTM British Invasion ~ #anglophile
  • Muppets.

disheartening things.

  • FB threads detailing car accidents, death of a long-ago friend’s child, and the ensuing drama over who is at fault. gutwrenching, all of it.

things I am proud of

  • less than 2 skeins to go on the 2006 Afghan
  • not actually losing my shit about the magnet paint, in spite of aforementioned loathing
  • the yellow paint over the horrible/nonfunctioning magnet wall
  • my idea for a magnet white board w/ black frame instead
  • my children singing, playing, participating and more with no reservations, at church
  • k.lo for being k.lo and the recent school feedback that says “a joy to teach,” “enthusiastic learner” and “top of her class”
  • sticking to budgets/shopping lists
  • perhaps I’ll also learn to knit.