Obligatory Driving-Related Quote

I was going to call this post “The plague of the greasy black engines has gone East” but I figured that was too unrelated/too long (or maybe life is too short to harbor as many Joanna Newsom quotes as one might wish to use). But that is how I feel when I think of the fact that: yep, I finally got my license. Hip hip hooray, or whatever. Everyone is pretty happy about it, including myself. I was one check-mark away from failing that cone stuff but HA HA NOPE I WIN.

Mom wanted to be tagged about driving, since she was the one who had to endure the torture of teaching me the cones. However, after going to the store with her the other night, I have an even better thing to tag her for.

So I decided to be super nice and accompany Mom to the store… I somewhat dragged my feet, and then dragged a cart, and then rode the back of the cart like you’re not supposed to but everyone does. I stood in an aisle of pillows and contemplated lying down in a basket of them and having a nap while Mom debated for the rest of eternity about which one to buy. Then the groceries… Mom kneeling to peer at the bottom shelf while I lolled over the handle of my cart and made bored commentary for my own amusement and that of nearby shoppers.
Mom: “They only have strawberry lemonade and not pink lemonade!”
Me: “Well, that’s awkward.”
Mom: “I know, right?!”
I laughed, and so did the random lady passing by our predicament.

What is it about this particular store– the Target up the street from my house– that engenders interactions with strangers? And I don’t mean talking to the cashier or something. I mean I always seem to have some kind of encounter within those aisles. Like the time I wore my hat (a gray hat with a brown feather in the band) there and found myself mired in the cereals alongside a pair of hipsters who gave me scoffing sideways looks.

Speaking of which. Just now I was sitting at the table listening to my music play through the pair of computer speakers that have somehow become an intrinsic part of our house, and Dodge teased me about being a hipster (Me: “This band is actually well known though. They’re popular.” Dodge: “With hipsters.” “But they get played on the radio.” “The hipster station on the radio.” ….”You just rage quit this conversation,” he said as I finally gave up). Then Dad sat down and took off his knit hat.
Me: “What the heck is with your hair?” It was laying flat and combed back, and in its need-of-cutting state… “You look like Benjamin Franklin.”
Dodge: laughter
Me: laughter
Dad: “I’ve been wearing a hat all day!” (scowl) “And I’ll wear it all night too.” (mutters) “Kids.” He put the hat back on and went into the living room to sulk.
Dodge: *high-fives me*

Yeah I know, I’m practically a comedian. Anyway, I’m off to work.

oranges and lemons

So, our yearly migration ended last weekend (finally) and now I’m back in the comfort (um, relative comfort, I might say instead– as I survey the disarrayed dishes hither and everywhere) of home.

Poncho: “I want a man-sized hobbit house. Like, to legitly live in.”
Me: “Legitly? Legitly is not a word. ‘Legit’ comes from legitimate, so you’d say ‘legitimately’.”
Poncho: *blank stare*
Me: “Yeah, I know, no one cares.”
Poncho: “Nope.”

So now I am trying to think of all the things I wanted to write a blog about since Thanksgiving– but yep, the ideas have flitted into my brain and right back out again. Or, as Dad said tonight to me (as he demonstrated proper shoe-shining technique), “You have all these good ideas, and you end up dead.”
Me: “Thanks for that inspirational quote, there.”
Dodge: “That’s how he always ends his stories. ‘…Well, that guy’s dead now.'”
Dad: “It happens to everyone, eventually.”

A never-ending fount of optimism, my dad is.

Last night we ate dinner with the grandparents, and Mom started reminiscing about staying over there during the Migration.
Me: “I liked how when Poncho started watching Dr. Who over here, Grandpa said, ‘This is the weirdest movie I’ve ever seen’.”
Dodge: “And it’s not even a movie.”
Grandpa: “What movie?”
Me: “TV show. Dr. Who.”
Grandpa: “Dr. Who?”
Everyone burst out laughing.
Grandpa: “Well, what’s his name?”
Poncho: “That is the name! That is the point of the show!”
Grandpa: “I dunno. That’s some weird kinda movie.”

And then there’s “Dr. Nope”, the phrase that Dodge coined and has now become somewhat infamous among people who hear me say it too much. Any time that Dodge or I use this phrase, Mom is bound to ask what we mean. Francis always says, “I don’t get this Dr. Nope.”
The other day was no different, except that the fabulous Marie was there to explain it all.
Francis: “What does this ‘Dr. Nope’ mean? I just don’t get this Dr Nope.”
Marie: “It’s an expression. Right? It means, like, something’s just not gonna happen. Dr. Nope.”
When I told this to Dodge, he said, “Finally! Someone understands me!”

What? I don’t count as someone? Lest it be forgotten, I was the first adopter of “Dr. Nope” (and everyone smacks me upside the head and asks me why I follow in Dodge’s annoying footsteps). (Although, I might add that Dodge has started calling me “Nachos”, which I don’t think I will ever understand.)

Something else I allegedly don’t understand: 1984. I finally read it, gave it another shot… And I’m glad I did. Not because it’s my new favorite book or anything, but it was interesting and it definitely made me think. Actually, you know what, I think I did understand it (mostly… I just finished it yesterday, so I’m still kind of mulling it over). The truth is, though, that both 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, in their own ways, made me vaguely depressed about life and about the future in general. Oh, not because of the state of the world, not because of the dystopian stuff– but because of the majorly messed-up relationships these characters have. I mean, come on, you guys! Some of us are young and trying to not panic.

I should go re-read Jane Eyre to cleanse my mind. Good grief.

But still. If a book has the power to draw me in to the point where, upon a big revelation, I repeatedly throw it against the couch, it must be pretty good.

One more thing… Snow! Glorious snow! And bad driving conditions, and scraping windshields, and that pale grime on everything, and cold hands while typing this. Yay, winter. (Oh, but outdoor skating! And ice! and salt and rolling in snow and every shade of brown and all the woods and soft as chalk and an excuse to drink excessive amounts of various hot beverages! Yay, winter!)

sewn in a sweater you can wear when it gets colder

Recently I found myself in the midst of a conversation about 3-D printers (and also Oxford commas– always use Oxford commas!) and I said how it seems so weird, like they’re making something out of nothing. Even though, obviously, that’s not what they do. It still seemed too magical, or sci-fi, or something. But then today I was knitting and I realized that knitting is a very similar process. You take a very very very long piece of string and shape it into a garment? What? Knitting is kind of like making something out of nothing, too. So 3-D printers are like machines that can knit plastic and metal. Or… Whatever. Maybe that comparison only works in my head.

In other news: it snowed! And it looked messy and weird clinging to trees which are still clinging to leaves, and coating the leaf piles on the curbs.
(Bug: “Our leaf pile looks like the exact shape of a crocodile.”
Me: “What if leaf piles were like the Sandman and they could shape themselves into different creatures, and they came to eat you?”
Bug: “Woah.”)
I woke up on the snowy morning singing “White Winter Hymnal”. And the night before, as I came out of work, I already knew it would be snowing because I had seen it through the windows. But apparently the lady who stepped out of the doorway before me didn’t. “Aughhh!” she cried. I ran out laughing.

Well, yesterday was Poncho’s birthday… So we all went out to dinner. This is how that went…
Grandpa (as soon as we sat down): “Elvis was a drug addict. Did you know that?”
Me: “Why….”
Grandpa: “Looooove me tender, you ain’t nothing but a hound dog.”
Dodge: “I don’t think those are in the same song.”
Grandpa: “Yeah they are!” *plays air guitar* “The girls went crazy.”
Me: “Oh-kaaaay, new topic.”
Dodge: “Hey Grandpa, who’s your favorite Browns player?” *evil grin* “Brandon Weedon?”
Grandma, overhearing this, glared daggers at our end of the table.
Dodge: (snickering, aside, to me): “Look what I did.”
Mom: “Kick Dodge under the table.”
Me: *kicks Dodge under the table.*
Dodge: “Stop it!”
Grandpa: “Hey, be nice to your sister.”
Dodge: “What? She’s the one kicking me…”
Grandpa: “You gotta be a man and take it!”
At this point Dodge and I fell over ourselves laughing… Then all was normal (ha-ha, riiiiiiight) for a bit until Dodge started playing with his knife, spinning it on the table.
Grandma: “Just wait till you cut your finger off, and I have to drive you to the emergency room.”
Dodge: *pretending to saw his hand* “Grandma, in about five minutes I need to go to the hospital. Go warm up the car.”
Grandma: “You better watch out, that’s all I’m saying.”
Dodge pulled his hand inside his sleeve and waved his knife in the air. “AAAAHHHHH! My hand!”
I took the knife from him and dipped it in salsa. “There, it makes it more realistic.”
Dodge: “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!”

Also, I got Poncho a sonic screwdriver, and I have no regrets. Even though he shined it in my eyes (probably trying to verify that I am, in fact, an alien) and pretended to sonic every closed door. I don’t think it has left his person since he got it out of the box.

I guess that’s all for now… Happy 13th birthday to Poncho, and I am off to make something out of nothing (which is to say, I am going to work on some writing).

The Rant of the Sugar Plum Fairy

Dodge has been talking to me in the Batman voice all night.
Bat-Dodge: “Did you know I’m also Dr. Seuss? Bat. Cat. Rat. Hat. …I give up.”

So, today I spent most of the day hanging out at Bug’s. And she was in one of her snarky moods, as evidenced by this little episode…
Bug, Francis, and I were sitting around the kitchen table, and flipping through the mail, which included a catalog of unattractive nativity sets (I don’t know why this was even there, okay….???). All of a sudden…
Bug: “Why do they always make the sugar plum fairy lavender?!?”
Me and Francis: *exchange raised-eyebrows glance*
Me: “Um…”
Francis: “Because it’s purple…?”
Bug: “But it’s the sugar PLUM fairy!”
Francis: “Plums are… purple…”
Me: “And it’s a sugar plum, so it’s light purple.”
Bug: “But it’s not lavender! It’s not the lavender fairy!” *deep-throated snarl*

I found Bug’s snark-at-everything mood highly entertaining, but Francis was a bit put off and imitated it thusly: “Why is there SUNSHINE!?! Stupid sun, it’s so lame! Why does it even exist?!?”

Bug also growled and hissed at her math work until eventually she gave up on it, though not before threatening several fractions with imminent death should they reuse to cooperate.

Then, once again we found ourselves at the kitchen table (oh who am I kidding with this “once again” stuff. It’s pretty obvious that we set up camp there for the day)  and Mom’s keys were sitting in front of me. Suddenly Bug said, “Did something just crawl under the keys?”
Me: “Do we want to know?”
Apparently, yes. Bug lifted the keys. A centipede burst forth, and Bug and I leapt back– and Mom shrieked!
Francis: *running over* “What happened?”
Bug: “Centipede…”
Francis: “Oh my gosh, the way she screamed I thought somebody was hurt.”
Me: “The way she screamed I thought she’d just seen a severed hand on the table, not a centipede.”

So, that was my day… Sugar plum fairies, severed hands, and Batman. Yup, pretty normal, actually.

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

a miscellany

Six.
Days.

That ticking sound you hear? (Or are now pretending to hear?) That’s the sound of me mentally counting down the days until I will be leaving for Kentucky. (Hopefully with Dodge in tow… I mean, no pressure, bro. But PLEASE COME PLEASE PLEASE -pleeeee-heeeease. ) I can’t wait! It’s so, so, fun and cool and awesomesauce, as Poncho would say.

Oh, and speaking of things Poncho would say, this is how my conversations have been going with him lately:

Me: “Hey, Ponch, where are your glasses?”
Poncho: “IDK.”
Me: “Well, Mom called and said she’s on her way home with groceries, so get upstairs to help me unload them.”
Poncho: “BRB.”
Me: “Hurry up, will you? I hate unloading.”
Poncho: “IKR.”
Me: “All right, that’s it. Get AFK now, kid.”For the blissfully unaware, those abbreviations mean, in order of appearance: I don’t know, Be right back, I know right?!, and Away from keyboard. The only reason I know some of these is because either Dodge or Poncho explained them to me. Because I’ve had texting for maybe a year and have only been using the interwebs (Poncho has also started saying “interwebs”; I have created a monster) for things other than school projects since… I don’t know. Back then it was a happy time of sending “ship log” emails to Eliza. (Do you remember those, Eliza?)

In other news… I’m sick with a cold today. Hence the blogging. I’m resting, trying to get better before we leave for Kentucky, but resting is boring. Of course, yesterday– when the cold was worse– was even more boring. All I did was sit in my room under a pile of blankets/shawls/tissues/crumbs from my nth slice of nutella-coated toast, slowly sipping orange juice (every sip goes like this: Ick! But vitamins. It’s icky! But vita– Eurgh! Take it away! But vitamins…) and wasting away between doses of medicine. I tried to distract myself by checking email (I had none), texting everyone I know (OK, actually it was just Bug and Eliza, but same thing), starting to knit a cuff and then unraveling it, drooling over an Irish-pub-food cookbook, and making up a personality quiz. It’s a good thing I don’t have the face-books, is all I can say. Luckily, since then I have done some creative things… I practiced watercolors, which I haven’t done in a while and am kind of terrible at. I’m great at making different colors– I made five different shades of turquoise last night– but it’s the actual painting that needs work.
Like, a lot.

And I don’t really know why I care about my painting skills, seeing as my life is not a Jane Austen (or even Elizabeth Gaskell) novel,  but oh well, I don’t care to contemplate the meaning of life/art/human experience when my sore throat makes the air feel like dust and sand.

Speaking of Elizabeth Gaskell (yeah, okay, sometimes I mention things on purpose just to lead into what I’m going to say next, so sue me), I finally got Mom to watch North and South. North and South: Movie that I thought, after she was so into Little Dorrit, that Mom would love.

Yeah, well, she hated it.
Her comments were:
(imitating the girl) “Oh, no, please do not continue… Because we still have two more episodes before we’ll finally get together!”
“I mean, what is her problem?”
“I can’t read her facial expressions. Or expression. Does she have any others?”
Which was kind of how Dodge reacted to Mr. Thornton:
“Grr. Angry face.”
“Nope, nope, don’t smile… Uh-oh… Good job. Same face. All the time.”
“I bet if he smiled, he would die instantly.”
Me: “You know that’s Thorin Oakenshield, right?”
Dodge: “It IS?” (squints at the screen) “…I liked him better as a dwarf.”
I kind of did, too. You see, until that point, I had only seen the movie once, during which I spent more time trying to understand what the heck people were saying and how that related to the plot, rather than evaluating their facial expressions. The second time around, I couldn’t stand them.

Also, the first time I saw North and South, I had not yet seen Little Dorrit.
Little Dorrit changes everything, you guys.
You can never look at BBC movies, potential suitors, top hats, chicken, French people, prunes (or prisms), watches– your life! the same way again. If your feet are cold inside your shoes, your heart melts into little pieces (at least mine does; maybe I should get that looked at).

Then again, I have not yet seen Little Dorrit for a second time.
Maybe I shouldn’t, much as I want to.
I don’t think I will ever recover if I un-like that one. It’s already too ingrained in my psyche…! If you strung together all the times I’ve talked about it, you could build a raft out of them and sail to Timbuktu. You could also become famous for stringing together invisible things such as time, and then build a time machine, and then–

Oh-kay! That train of thought got a little out of hand… Anyway. I suppose I should go now, and get ready to go to the local public high school on some GED business.

Oh dear.

Yours till the teacups,
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.”

“Double bunny ears! Double bunny ears!”

I usually don’t watch the Olympics when they come around, but this year it’s different. I was initially enthralled by it– I mean genuinely glued to the TV and reveling in the glories of victory and the agony of defeat, et cetera.

Then… Dodge started watching it with me.

During swimming: “Just to troll, I’d start doggie paddling.”
(later during swimming): “How come when they guys win it’s like ‘YEAH! EAT IT, LOSERS!’ And when the girls win they’re like, ‘Hug, hug, oh, you guys all did great, hehe, I win.'”

During the men’s running–
Dodge: “Where’s our guy? Oh, he’s so short! Why did they put a short guy in there? He’s gonna lose. Look, Kenya’s guy is just going for a jog.”
Dad: “Yeah, he could stop and tie his shoe and he’d still win at this point.”
[Actually, he didn’t end up winning, but only because, according to Dodge, our guy “ran under everyone else’s legs”.]
Dodge: “Yeah, just to troll, stop to tie your shoe… No, wait, they have to have pit stops– And a bunch of guys run out with a new pair of shoes– ‘Double bunny ears, double bunny ears!’ And they have to make the noises– Vrrp, vrrp, vrrp! ‘Come on, come on! Tie quicker! What do you want me to do, run on my hands?!'”

So I just laugh through the entire Games now. (Also, thank you, Hunger Games, for making that word sound so sinister.)

And on a side note, watching the runners makes me want to take up running. I keep trying to remind myself that running is not fun, but I actually might try it. Once it stops feeling like the tropics outside.

Anyway, I don’t think it is humanly possible for Dodge to not make commentary while watching something. (Except Back to the Future. Somehow he was silent during that. Oh, except–
Me: “Dad, did you ever say ‘heavy’ like that?”
Dad: “Uh, I actually don’t remember.”
Dodge: “That means yes.”)

But back to the Olympics.

Now Dodge and I have comandeered the couch, remote, TV and refrigerator (Me to the DHFs: “How come you guys don’t watch the Olypics?” DHFs: “We hate the commercials.” Me: “Oh, you mean the snack breaks?”) all through primetime. Then we go to bed way too late, and wake up the next afternoon. Repeat.

I find it ironic that watching the Olympics is making me lazy. I mean, amazing athletes performing their utmost– and then there’s me, still in my pajamas until noon, and only moving to change seats during the day as I read Jane Eyre for the fifth time.

Going for the gold, baby.

we need a hero

Dodge and I were talking about superhero movies…

Dodge: “Spiderman is lame.”
Me: “Don’t insult Spiderman!”
Dodge: “Psh. Ohhhkay.”
Me: “Fine. Well, I like Captain America better anyway.”
Dodge: “Does he have a gun?”
Me: “He’s in the army, so yeah, obviously. And a shield. Which makes him better than Spiderman because Spiderman doesn’t have any cool weapons.”
Dodge: “He shoots a web, oooh! He flies between the buildings! What if he had to fight someone on a farm in the middle of nowhere?”
Me: “That’s why he doesn’t live in Kansas.”
Dodge: “Like, the superhero of Kansas would have to be a tractor or something. Tractor Man! Half man, half tractor! You know, he tried to make a supertractor and then there was a radiation leak–”

Hah. Speaking of sci-fi accidents, I demand to speak with whoever made the weather go crazy. Seriously, 80 degrees in March? The summer is going to be hot as H-E-double-hockey-sticks. And about as fun.

Oh wait. I’m going to the beach. With the DHFs.
Never mind!
This summer is going to rock! Yeah!

Plus, at least our new backyard will be shaded, and at least there are a million birds out there (seriously, Dodge and Dad saw a turkey back there yesterday. A TURKEY. Sitting there in a suburban backyard. Then it flapped off. I didn’t see it, and I still kind of don’t believe they actually saw it and are just trying to see how gullible I am). As a summer project I want to learn to identify which songs belong to which birds. I’d also like to actually go bird-watching, with binoculars and all. And go to the park on a regular basis, in order to keep some kind of hold on my fleeting sanity. Plus I really, really feel like reading a ton. All the Lord of the Rings books, of course! Finally. I think I might at last be able to manage it.

But I’m also enjoying spring… For what I think is the first time, it doesn’t feel like a wimpy season. I suddenly feel like running a lot and planting a million flowers and blooming trees. I went to the home improvement store the other day to get my compost bin, and I saw these purple and white columbine flowers… and then I pretended I didn’t desperately want to get them to plant in our yard. I can’t believe this! I’m turning into a flower sort of girl! How… How… something. At least it was columbine and not gerbera daisies or something, though. I haven’t completely changed!

Yet I am changing. I feel this is going to be a year of transformation.
As long as said transformation doesn’t include rabid tractors or radiation leaks… ;)

~Pen

(When the sirens wail, we need a hero here! And when the air conditioner drones on and on.)

Men of the House

I went out to water the garden this morning. Unrolled the hose, watered, started walking back to turn off the water. That was when I saw it.

A clump of feathers lying in the middle of our driveway. I peered closer. It was a dead sparrow, looked like it might have been there since yesterday morning (when I didn’t water), ants all over the place. I turned to the dogs.

Me: “Lily! Daisy! Come!”
Them: come over and sit.
Me: (pointing to the bird) “Did you do this?”
Daisy: slinks off
Lily: looks away guiltily
Me: sigh.

Dad, our designated picker-upper of dead things, squisher of bugs, etc, had just left the house and was expected to be gone for any length of time. So I found Mom and informed her of the problem.

Mom: “Have the boys do it. It’s a man job.”

I found my brothers playing a video game upstairs…
Me: “Hey guys… Mom has a quick job for you to do.”
Dodge: “Oh great.”
Poncho: “Me too??? She said ME??” He jumpes up. “Are you sure she said Poncho???”
Me: “Both of you.”
Dodge: “Okay, fine, what is it?”
Me: “Go outside and get the flat shovel–”
Dodge: “Already not quick.”
Me: “–and pick up the dead bird lying in our driveway.”
Dodge: “Are you serious?”
Poncho: “Eww!”
Dodge: “Why did they have to kill a bird again? Why?”

I think it was last summer that there was a smiliar incident where Mom saw Lily tossing around a dead bird, got it from her, then said, “oh, where’s the bird?” and Lily ran off and returned three seconds later with a second dead one. Don’t ask me how they do it– kill birds like that. Although Daisy is a good stalker, and Lily likes to snatch things out of the air (she eats butterflies!). It was after that first incident that Dodge took this picture:

in case you can't make it out, the sign on the fence reads: "Instant Disposal-- DANGER!" which is apt.

So anyway. I followed the boys out to the back yard where Poncho strugged with getting the bird onto the shovel, succeeding only in pushing it (and the ginat crowd of ants) halfway around the yard. Finally, the bird was shoveled into a plastic bag, which Dodge used to transport the bird out front, where he dumped it into the sewer drain.

Mom: “Why the sewer?”
Dodge: “That’s what Dad does!”
Because everything Dad does is a good idea. But I digress.

I am so, so glad I have brothers. They shoot thousand-leggers and clean up half-eaten sparrows. Thanks for being guys, guys. :)