a bit of pre-Thanksgiving

Francis: “Sing to it, it likes to be sung to.”
Eliza: *singing* “There once was a lass I used to knooooooow…”
Bug: *singing under her breath* “It’s just a piece of doooough….”

Because yes. They are singing to pie dough. According to Francis, the pie dough “needs to be loved” as you make it. Apparently pie-making is a magical process, one which requires the utmost concentration combined with a loving touch and–

Eliza: *singing* “And at last I seeeeeeeee the liiiiiiiight…. Okay, sing something new to it.”
Me: “When the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie, that’s–”
Eliza: “No, he hates it. He liked my other singing better.” Now she has started singing in her Mother Gothel voice… “Rapunzel knows best, Rapunzel’s so mature now– And, the crust is done.” (to the pie) “I’m glad you were finished under Mother Gothel’s hand.”
Me: “This has gotten progressively creepier.”

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musha ring dam-a do, dam-a da

So, the other day I thought it would be really fun to climb on these stumps that Dad brought home and had not yet chopped up into firewood. (Yes, this is his most recent obsession: Free Wood. There’s this thing called Emerald Ash Borer that is killing trees in our area– or rather, it infests some of them and then everyone freaks out and chops down EVERY ASH TREE IN SIGHT WHICH IS NOT COOL BECAUSE OF REASONS WITH HISTORICAL BACKUP but I will not get into that, although it reminds me of a quote I saw: “Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. But those who do study history are doomed to watch everyone else repeat it.” Aka, this is exactly what happened with Chestnut Blight and do you SEE any chestnuts still around? NO. So, yeah, just, GAHHHHHHHHH. OK. Anyway…. So all these trees got cut down and then the people are giving the wood away and Dad likes to prove how macho his truck is by hauling away an inordinate amount of stumps. *end of tangent*)

Well, these stumps all stacked in the yard looked really cool, and up I climbed. Dodge was in the yard, too, and as he watched me he said, “You’re going to fall and break your face.”
Me: “I am not.” *dances around on a stump*
Dodge: “Yes, you are. And I’m gonna laugh and go inside like nothing happened.”
Me: “You wouldn’t leave me here alone! And anyway… I’m not going to fall.”
Me: *falls*
Me: “My broken face!!!”
(Or, for people like the DHFs and me who have watched Tangled excessive times: “You broke my smolder.”)
Well, I didn’t actually break my face or my smolder (I don’t have a smolder, apparently, because the other day the DHFs and I were trying to do that, and eventually just goofed around. Francis said: “Yeah, that’s how it would really be. Pen would look spazzy, Bug would look… like whatever that is, and Eliza would have that sweet smile.”), I just bruised my arm. At any rate, there goes my career as a stunt guy.

I mean, it’s bad enough that I can’t climb trees– but I can’t even climb a wood pile! Pathetic. What a city kid.

In other news, the past few days have been: write, write, write, and while not writing, practice the tin whistle I got over the weekend at the Irish Festival. Not to brag, but I’m pretty good. Thank you, years of regular flute training. Also thank you, Youtube, for basically being my Professor Of Everything Including How To Clean Out Spit.
Dad: “That thing is actually pretty loud.”
Me: *gleeful and excessive jigs*
Dad: “Ok, well… Bye.”

Now begins my second phase of learning, which is memorizing songs. I’ve always wanted to do this, so, we’ll see. Anyway, the Irish Festival was fun, and… interesting. It is a long (and now told approximately 800 times) story, so I’ll spare you. But there is another Irish Festival I’ll be going to, this time with Bug! I am really excited. Although, as we all know, the laws of physics dictate that every time we take Bug somewhere, the unexpected will most definitely happen. We never know what the unexpected will be (see: the weird train place, the Ripe festival failure… the only unexpected thing that didn’t happen was, we never did see the Mythological Rory. However, maybe that’s because I expected that would be the unexpected thing. “Reverse psychology!!!” Poncho would yell– even though it’s not exactly reverse psychology. It’s just his new thing. As Inigo Montoya would say, “I don’t think it means what you think it means.”).

I guess the only other thing that’s been going on around here is Poncho’s enormous obsession with Doctor Who (he is firmly a Matt Smith fan, and refuses to watch any of the other doctors even though there was a really long wait for the next season at the library). Whew. Lots of parenthesis today. Also movie quotes.

Yours till the TARDIS lands in our backyard (it could happen, just ask Poncho),
Pen

the snow’s coming down, I’m watching it fall

It’s snowing!!!!! YAAAAAYYYYY!!!!!

I was so excited when I woke up this morning and saw the flakes sliding past my window. I stood up on my bed and announced “It’s snowing!” to the world. Or, um, myself. Whatever.

Well, I’ve been sick with a cold for the past few days. (But poor Mom had the flu…) Of course that didn’t stop me from my volunteering job! This time I worked with a med student named Erin who was very nice, and also formed an… interesting… view of me.
Her: “So, are you a med student too?”
Me: “No. Well, I’m not really any kind of student.”
Her: “So what do you do when you’re not volunteering?”
Me: “I work at the library and I write.”
Her: “Oh, that’s really cool. So, did you go to school for English?”
Me: (stifled laughter) “Erm. No.”
Her: “You just started writing out of high school, then?”
Me: (thinking: holy cow, she thinks I’m in college or out of college…) “It’s kind of something I’ve always done, so yeah, even before high school. Yep.”
Later I overheard her telling someone I was a librarian(!) and, well, it was kind of a nice fairyland that I was experiencing there, where everyone pretty much assumed I was an adult. I didn’t confirm or deny. As Mom would say, “That would be true, and also, not a lie!”
It was also very fun giving her book-present suggestions. (Mom said, “Now look what you’ve done, she’ll give that to someone and say it was recommended by a librarian!” To which I replied, “It’s a classic, okay!?!”) (Because yeah, you guessed it: I recommended Alice.)

Hey, I know, let’s jump around in chronological order so that I can tell you about all the fun things that happened recently!

Like the…. JARS OF CLAY Christmas concert! They played Christmas music! They played “Closer”!!!! Aaaaaand we were the only ones dancing? (By we I mean: the DHFs, me, and Poncho the Awesomesauce, of course.)
DHFs: “I mean, how could you not dance to that?”
Me: “I think they drank the poison cool-aid, you guys. They were dead as doornails. Bumps on a log.”
Francis: “I don’t think the band could see us dancing way back there.”
Me: “Of course they could see us. We were the only things moving in the whole place!”
Oh, and did I mention that we all had to sing “The Twelve Days of Minecraft” (thank you, Youtube parodies, for killing my sanity) on the way there to cheer Poncho up? (“Fiiiiive gol-den blocks!”) It took PoorBill half the song to figure out that it was a Minecraft thing… Yeeeeeah.
The next morning (we slept over), we all discussed how apparently no one understands “The Long Fall Back to Earth” album even though it perfectly sums up a CHUNK OF MY SOUL.

And… The Hobbit! (I said this in a singsongy voice.) (In my head.) I had a more detailed critique,  but my main thoughts were:
Hi, Mr. Thornton.
The singing is lovely.
I want some dwarf friends.
Bilbo is awesome.
The end.
Oh, and Dodge came. :)

Speaking of movies, I finally watched “A Hard Day’s Night” yesterday while resting from my sickness. I had meant to watch Captain America, but my DVD was damaged (it looked all burned and weird. I blame HYDRA). So I found A Hard Day’s Night online and watched it, and wow, it was weird. It kind of reminded me of Alice in Wonderland (possibly the movie versions more than the actual book, due to disjointed-ness) because it was so nonsensical.

I also went last-minute Christmas shopping (mostly for craft supplies, as I made most of the presents this year, but also for some hard-to-find items) with Eliza and Bug. (I just realized that I do basically everything with Eliza and Bug.) (And they’re going to comment like, “What do you mean you just realized? This has been going on for years!”) Now I am almost done with all of my Christmas presents, even though I’m now going at a somewhat breakneck pace and will probably be finishing some on Christmas Eve. (Bug knitted through The Hobbit in order to finish a present! Now that is some dedication!) Or The Second Day of Christmas. Ironically, the ones I started the earliest are going to be the last done. My life in a nutshell, people. But oh well, they’re fun to make.

Then I shall commence with wrapping. Well, I have already commenced somewhat. I am really excited to wrap everyone’s differently and with much more creativity than in previous years. And we also have to finish decorating and tidying the house… Excitement! Anticipation!

(O come, O come, Emma-a-anuel…)

Yours from beautiful snow-land,
Pen

PS: As I wrote this, Mom and Poncho were wrapping presents at the table where I am working… Poncho said in a creepy robot voice, “I want to be the wrap-inator.”

I have seen the sea…

I.
am.
at.
the.
beach.

And I can hardly believe it. I have never seen the sea until now, now when for the past two days I have stood neck-deep in the Atlantic ocean! And I get to be here for a whole week!

So far, the trip has consisted of…

As I said, standing in the Atlantic ocean. The first moment we got to the beach, I ran with Eliza down to the water and got right in. I was actually kind of impressed by my own bravery, because, you know, big scary water. But I just bobbed happily along for some minutes. Then a big wave came up and pushed me under and I tumbled around and came back up spitting saltwater. I also got dragged along the shore by a wave. Basically, Day One was a lot of me inadvertently drinking five gallons of the Atlantic. But yesterday I had it all figured out and we were diving through and riding on top of waves and that was fun.

Also I am not yet tan.
Dun dun dun.

We have been going back to the beach in the evening to watch the sun go down behind the town and the moon come up over the ocean. Last night, the moon was completely full. Huge and bright. The tide came in really strong– one minute I was standing up on the shore, the next minute I was up to my knees in a wave.  Then we saw a group of dolphins out at sea, and I was like Dolphins! Dolphins! Which surprised me because in normal circumstances I am about as excited by dolphins as I am by beans for dinner. (Oh, not this again. Everyone loooooves them except me.) But these were real! A couple of arched backs appearing and disappearing. Then we watched the stars come out.

Plus, I do indeed feel like an impressionist subject during our evenings at the beach.

I think at the beach in the evening is the most calm I have ever felt in my life. Hardly any other people, everything is beautiful, and the waves sloshing in.

Ahh.

Also eating ice cream, sleeping in, watching the Lord of the Rings movies, and being with the DHFs.
Also we are in Delaware, so it feels like home (except for the ocean part). (And the seagulls are cuter here.)
Also we saw ships last night, the lights of ships slowly drifting…

In summary:
They will have to pry me out of here. 

Except…
I REALLY MISS PONCHO!

So I’ll come home willingly after all. Because Poncho said he misses me and that when I walk in the door I should prepare to be “mauled”, and also that he has invented a new game called Zombie Assault, which I am sure involves him growling “braaaaaainnnssss” and me pretending to shoot him.

Till the sea gulls,
Pen

LOTR moviegoing adventures

The Lord of the Rings trilogy was being shown in theaters, each of the movies on a Tuesday for the past three weeks. One night only! Well, the DHFs called me up and asked if I would like to go to see The Fellowship of the Ring (the first movie) with them a few weeks ago. I went, and we all dressed up– I in my Lady of Shalott dress and green cape and borrowed leaf necklace (thanks Bug) as a “random elf”. It was a lot of fun, and the movie was… awesome. The sound was really what made it so cool. Every time the ring-wraiths or whatnot (seriously, why do those things have like ten names? Nazguls, ring-wraiths, black riders… really? Pick one, people!) shrieked, it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
[Side note: Sort of. I mean I don’t really think that I’ve ever had the hairs actually stand up, which according to Dad is what happens before you get hit by lightning. He tells me this as we stand out in a storm at camp… “Yeah, if that happens, crouch down real fast, OK?” Me: “Uhuhyeah. Let’s find cover somewhere.”]
Oh, and we sat a row in front of a bunch of teenage boys, who were talking rather loudly. When the movie came on, one of them clapped, and then everyone in the whole theater clapped (sheeple, as Dad would say), and the guy was like, “I started that clapping.” Apparently he was very proud of himself.

Sooo… I HAD to see the second movie, the Two Towers. (Mom thought it was called the Twin Towers, and I was like, umm no.) However by this time the DHFs were going to a conference in Florida (not to mention, they went to the beach, cough cough). Thus, I called my friend Cory and he went with me. It was my first time going to the movies without adult supervision. I was warned vehemently about creepers, of which I saw none, luckily. Actually, it was pretty uneventful overall. We came, saw the movie, left. So that was good. It was weird, though; during the movie, it rains a lot, expeically at the Battle of Helm’s Deep, and when we came out of the theater it was raining outside in just the same manner.

Then I went to see the last movie, Return of the King, with Steph on Tuesday night, but this time we went to the theater at Fakeworld. OK, seriously, the sidewalk at Fakeworld sparkles. Yes, it SPARKLES. How fake can you get, man? They also have brick streets, a bus stop, a roundabout, and… well, I’ll get to that next. So, the movie was also really, really good. And again, just like at the Fellowship, we sat a row in front of a bunch of teenage guys who were also talking really loudly, and being generally annoying. But when it came to the part of the movie that brings tears to my eyes, and made Steph cry, we heard the boys behind us sniffling like they were crying too! Then the credits came up at the end of the movie, and one of the boys started the clapping. “I started that,” he announced to his friends. Is that a new thing now, or what?
Back to the Fakeworld stuff for a sec… When we got out of the movie, we had to walk to the parking garage. All the streets were empty and silent, and sort of shadowy… It was really creepy how suddenly dead the whole place was. And the outdoor chairs, tables, benches, etc were now covered in cloth… It was spooky! Like walking through an abandoned movie set!

But anyway. Those were my movie experiences the past few weeks… The DHFs and I plan on going with a whole possie to see The Hobbit when it comes out… dressed as hobbits of course!

The main thing is, I think I’m becoming a real LOTR fan. Honestly. Be afraid.

Love,
Pen

Notes from Within the Shelter

I have just had the most wonderful 2 days! Because:
A) I got to sleep over at the DHFs’!!! Which of course meant that we were hyper, and silly, and dressed as opera-singing pirates with a bunk-bed ship. “Gimme the mascara, I need a mustache” is one memorable quote by Bug, and I believe it was Steph who admonished the crew, “It’s a pirate ship, not an art gallery!”
B) We went to see Jars of Clay in concert!!!! WOOO!! It was awesome. They played a bunch of old stuff that was new-to-me, on account of it being the 15th anniversary of their band being a band. Which means their band is about as old as me. Weird. Anyhow. Flood, Dead Man, Work, Worlds Apart, Out of My Hands, Small Rebellions, Weapons, Two Hands, and Shelter are songs that I can remember them playing at the moment. We went into the mosh pit! (Which was not really a mosh pit, more of a group of people standing around the stage and intermittently swaying/clapping/dancing/singing). After I tripped over myself to get out of the pew thingy, of course, because what fun is anything without falling on my face? But the moshing part was fun and I was not injured. I think I accidentally stepped on someone’s foot though. Too bad. I had to dance.
But after the concert was over….
C) We. Met. JARS OF CLAY!! In person! Bug and I were star-struck and I handed them my CD to sign. They were friendly. Eliza asked the singer to sign her CD to Poor Bill, because PoorBill was supposed to come but could not due to illness!! So when he said he couldn’t come, we said, “Poor Bill…” and that is exactly what was written. One of the guitar guys asked if we were all sisters. Sadly we are not! By blood anyhow. So yay!! That was really cool. Of course Dodge is soooo excited (note the sarcasm) that I got a new Jars of Clay CD. Now he gets to hear all new songs and find them annoying! He calls them Cans of Pop. I am not really sure why…?

Now I’m home again home again jiggety jog, sitting on the couch with a sleepy dog. Hey, that rhymed!
As you can see, the randomness has yet to wear off.

Sigh… So tired… But so happy….

Yours till the carrot sticks,
Pen

Reporting Live from the DHF’s!

We are internet-less at my house because the internet box broke. :( So I’m writing this quick dispatch from the DHFs’ house!! I am waiting for them to get back from their dance lesson.. Following a day of making rosary bracelets. Also my Grandpa Vegas took me to the Lakewood Farmer’s Market earlier today, which may I say was wayyyy better than the West Side Market. Less variety, but no one was shouting at me and I knew it was all local. So, that was sucessful. Plus everything was a good price (13 ears of corn for 5 bucks, and they were picked this morning!).

My before-end-of-summer-to-do list is coming along as well. I can’t believe Mom is already thinking about school. Luckily I don’t have to buy new notebooks or anything, I’m just reusing from last year… So what I need to get ready for now is the county fair. Lots of stuff to do for that! Bread making, dress-finishing, watercoloring, gardening. Yay! Summer is awesome. Even though it’s still hot. Blarg. But at least the evenings are nice. Actually it’s very peaceful here. I was sitting out on the front porch, admiring the DHF’s hard sanding work, thinking, pondering, listening to the cicaidas. I stared at their sunflower. I watched a few birds that hopped into the yard, apparently not noticing me. This summer I have discovered the art of sitting still and having stillness inside as well, stillness in my thoughts so that I can actually enjoy the twilit sky and the warm breeze, not have a hundred thousand thoughts running wild through my head. Being still is becoming increasingly important in my days…

Well, Mom calls. Tis all for now.

Much Love,
Pen