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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Kansas

As Eliza and I drove into Kansas City, Eliza had to put “the lady” on. Which is to say, she had Siri navigating.
So as we’re jamming to some music (more like performing… Eliza did a striking impression of Mother Gothel, that’s all there is to say), suddenly we’re interrupted by
“Recalculating.”
Eliza: “What are you recalculating? You know, I’ve had it up to here with you.”
“Updated.”
Eliza: “Yeah, you just figure out what you’re doing.” *eye roll* Then she turns to me. “She has almost gotten me lost a few times.”
“Recalculating”
Eliza: “Lady, if you lie to me again, I’ll kill you forever!” *heavy sigh* “I hate her. Seriously.”
“Updated”
Me: “You keep referring to the disembodied voice as ‘her’, like there’s a third person in the car with us. Have you, um, gone a little crazy driving all this way by yourself all semester?”
Eliza: “You know what, that’s it… She’s gone. You be the navigator. You read me the list.”
So I was the navigator. Later, Eliza was saying over the phone to the rest of her family how good at it I was… aaaaand everyone else who has ever had me as a navigator laughs hysterically. Or else they’re wondering why I can be helpful for Eliza but terribly inept otherwise. 

Yep, I’ve been hanging out with Eliza for the past few days… In Kansas! Well, since we went to Kansas City today, also Missouri. My first all-alone plane trip went very well. I actually looked out the window most of the time, just listening to my music (to drown out the whirring of the plane, which I hated because I hate ceaseless white noise) and enjoying the clouds. And the weirdness of seeing other planes far across the way, tiny and black and going very, very fast.

Speaking of things going very fast, the time here with Eliza has flown by… She took me all around campus and the neighboring town, where we explored a lot, and took some pictures….

I loved the houses around Atchison. All very 1800s, and all unique and interesting.
I loved the houses around Atchison. All very 1800s, and all unique and interesting.

 

Eliza sitting in the peaceful orchard behind the abbey
Eliza sitting in the peaceful orchard behind the abbey

 

Looking over the Missouri  River... (See that factory in the distance? Yep. Story idea.)
Looking over the Missouri River… (See that factory in the distance? Yep. Story idea.)

 

Cool old car. 'Nuff said.
Cool old car. ‘Nuff said.

Then there was Kansas City’s art museum, spending time sitting in front of a giant Caravaggio painting of St. John the Baptist, and wandering through Impressionists. “Aren’t you glad you girls don’t have to wear dresses like that anymore?” some guy asked us there. Of course we told him we actually weren’t glad of that, thank you very much. I mean, I actually wouldn’t want to wear that all the time, but if I got to flounce around on a beach looking that glamorous I would do it, just for a day.

We also watched several movies, all of which were new to me… Northanger Abbey, which spawned “the taco”:
Eliza: *sigh* “I just love Mr. Tilney… You know what, I need a guy who’s like, a mix of Mr. Tilney, Mr Knightley, Captain America, Eomer, Hawkeye, and— and a little bit of Kirk.”
Me: “Woah. Woah. Slow down, this is like a taco of guys that you’re making. And Kirk is like the hot sauce, you can’t put too much.”
So then of course they all got assigned ingredients…
We also watched All About Eve, which had fabulous quotes, and then Roman Holiday, which made us want to run out and cut our hair. Last night, to finish off, we watched Star Trek: Insurrection, because Data.

Now we’re sitting in the dorm listening to the Beatles and occasionally grooving (Or in Eliza’s case, attempting to groove… although she taught me a hilarious new dance move which she apparently learned from Francis) and writing this blog and writing letters in the Sunday afternoon sunlight…

I suppose that’s all for now. Off to have some tea and spend my last couple of hours with my gracious hostess and very very dear friend.

Woah.

And that one word pretty much sums up my past couple of weeks. But first (well, second? I have no idea what I’m saying), it reminds me of riding in the car with Eliza…

We are at a stop light, Eliza in the driver’s seat and me riding “gunshot” (as Bug called it). I stare out the window (as I tend to do), and just as we pull away I say, “Woah.”
Eliza: “What, the car behind us?”
Me: “…Nope.”
Eliza: “The dark sky?”
Me: “Nuh-uh.”
Eliza: “What, then?”
Me: “There was just… a super attractive guy at the red light.”
Eliza: *side-gawks at me*
Me: “What?! I didn’t mean to say ‘woah’, it just came out. And I mean… It was true though.”
Eliza: “Well, what did he look like?” (still gawking at me the way you would gawk at, say, a goat wearing spectacles and reading the paper)
Me: “He just had, you know, the face. And the hair.”
Eliza: “Wow, Pen, very descriptive.” And we both laughed.

On another car ride down a two-lane road, a truck passed us by too close and Eliza grumbled, “Road hog!”
As I shook my fist, laughing and imitating her, she said, “I’ve never said that before! It just came out!”

Speaking of driving, I have renewed my efforts in trying to drive officially. I used to have this fear that once I had my license, I would be forced to drive to this distant suburb at night, which would be really creepy. But then, for some reason, I kind of had a driving epiphany the other night that night driving is actually fun and the creep factor is all in my head and also, I am capable.

And also also, I want a car. (“I could be the walrus. And I’d still have to bum rides off of people.” –Yes, I have that whole little monologue memorized. Because I basically want to be Ferris Bueller… whenever I’m not wanting to be Jane Eyre, Sherlock Holmes, Captain America, or some other  awesome character.) (Also, why are all my favorite characters guys? Are there just not that many cool girl characters, or have I not seen the right movies?) (I mean, even the Black Widow… She’s awesome, but I never can imagine myself as her, you know? It’s almost like she’s too cool. Agent Carter is a little closer, but even then, she’s so… shooty.) (I am not shooty. I am shield-y. If that makes any sense.)

Anyway, yeah. Cars. Driving. Vroom. I kinda lost my train of thought.

Now I completely can’t remember what I was going to tell you about? The Dublin Irish Festival, aka a sunny haze of green and food and music and hanging out with Bug? Maybe. Or was I going to talk about how I am finally filming a video thing and maybe sometime eventually when I have got enough shots of bedraggled, sun-spangled flowers it will be done? Or how a tree was cut down in my neighborhood and now there is a big blank spot on my horizon and it weirds me out and makes me panic that one day the distant oak tree that I look at through my eastern window will be cut down too and then I will lose my mind because all the other trees around here have those round, suburban palmate leaves of blandness?

I don’t remember. Clearly, I am in one of those moods where I just want to go on and on about everything in the whole entire world ever.

But I shall not. Because I shall go to work on finishing my book. (“To finish my book,” the DHFs always say in a Bilbo voice.) And also just plain go to work.

Sigh…
-Pen

Things that Begin with the Letter B (part two)

Part 2: I actually forget what started with B at this part. Best friends? Black Friday? Brain cell loss? 

So then, it was Wednesday. Which meant… ELIZA WAS HOME!!!!

Actually, it meant I was at work for most of the day, stuck there with the knowledge that Eliza was within walking distance (erm, if I reeeeeallly liked walking, that is). Everyone was saying “Happy Thanksgiving” to each other, and I wanted to say back, “Happy day before Thanksgiving, a.k.a. the day I will finally see my friend in real life, a.k.a. ISN’T LIFE BEAUTIFUL DON’T YOU JUST WANT TO HOP IN CIRCLES!” But I restrained myself. Be proud of me. (I did do that thing where you jump and click your heels as I went out the door, though.) I jumped in the car and said to Mom, “Go, go, GO!”
Mom: …calmly clips a coupon. “Hang on. I’m almost done.”
Me: “Gah!”
Then I finally got to the DHF’s house, and knocked at the door. That’s when I heard a thud and PoorBill talking loudly and slowly, and I looked through the window to see the DHFs carrying a couch down the stairs. Bug let me in through the back, and then Eliza came from putting the couch down (I guess they were making good use of having their Krypton Girl home) and we “mauled” each other as Poncho would say. This involved me being squeezed so hard I thought I was going to have a bruised rib.

Well, the DHFs were/are in a state of home-interior transition, so we were all put to work holding pictures up to the wall for approval, handing screws to PoorBill, etc. I also did a lot of jumping around. Just saying. Bug and I went crazy, re-enacted Star Wars and invented “crab attack”, which we decided is the part of Star Wars that you didn’t see, and which we spontaneously broke out into for the rest of the time I was there. At some point all of the excitement died down and– just kidding, I don’t think that ever happened.

And the next day was… Thanksgiving!

So, we got up and made some apple pie. We (well, actually Eliza) had made sweet potato pie (I know, I know! It shouldn’t even be mentioned to people who don’t have a piece in front of them, that was very cruel of me) the night before. Everything was tra-la-la; we were expecting Grandma Vegas to show up in the afternoon, followed soon after by the rest of my family. But then I got the call. (dun dun dun)
It was Mom. Poncho, apparently, had strep. Also Dodge had a similar ailment. So it would just be Grandma and Grandpa Vegas and my dad who would be joining us. They arrived with turkey and other food, and as we waited for the stuffing to finish cooking, Eliza had a little chat with Grandpa.
Grandpa: “So, I hear you’re dating. That’s not good.”
Eliza assured him that her “beau” (as I call him… I am still trying to think of a good blog– or real life!–nickname for him) is a good fellow.
Grandpa: “No, all boys are bad! I know. I was that age once and–”
Grandma: “Ah-ah, don’t even go there.”
Grandpa: “Well, I’m just saying.” Then he made sure to ask all the right questions. Including, “Is he Irish?”
Eliza: “No, I don’t think so. He does have Italian, though.”
Grandpa: “Hardheads! I know all about that. My wife’s Italian.”
Grandma: “Yeah, and I’m right here.”
And, the ultimate question from Grandpa: “What kind of car does he drive?”
You have to understand that this is the question in Grandpa’s mind. As a retired Chevy worker, he won’t even let foreign cars park in his driveway. (I don’t know if Fords are allowed. Maybe only if you let him say “F-O-R-D: Fix Or Repair Daily” every time you come over.)
Eliza: “I don’t know.”
Grandpa: “You don’t know!?!”
His closing advice was “Think with your head, not with your heart.” (But I’m not so sure he ever listened to it himself…)

We ended up having quite a lovely Thanksgiving, even though this has been The Year of Holiday Catastrophes (the Mother’s Day Dog Disaster, the drama surrounding Halloween… I’m thinking of getting my family a bomb shelter for Christmas at this point.) Oh, and after my family left (and I stayed behind, hehe), the C’s came over! Which was wildly fun, and involved mad hairdos and an improvised play. Then it was time for Black Friday.

Which was really still Thursday in my opinion.

I mean, I know it started at midnight, but this entire thing felt like one neverending day. Anyway, we went to Kohl’s. Waiting in line outside, we talked, and did weird voices, and Eliza and Bug started singing something that I can’t even spell onomatopoetically (nor can I spell ‘onomatopeotically’ itself, don’t judge) and dancing. Then the line moved! Then we got in! Then we ran upstairs and went straight to the shoes area, where Bug snatched a pair of boots, tried them on, and decided yes, all in under four seconds. I stood with one foot on the box and pretended to be Napoleon (or someone like that) while Bug looked for more shoes. Then we went on to the rest of the upstairs, and then downstairs, and then all in squiggly lines. We tried on a few items (yes, we did, despite it being against Mom’s “Black Friday Rules”), and then stood in line for what did not feel like such a long time, and then we were out of there. My big purchases?
A pair of tights. Also a shirt.
Wow!

We went home and fell asleep for five hours, and then we got up early to go to a resale shop and Goodwill. (I know, wow again! We also wished that we could pop into a couple of used-book stores. All during Black Friday I kept yelling, “BLACK FRIDAY: SHEETS!! YAAAAHHH!” Or “SOCKS!! YAAAAHHHH!” or whatever else we ended up getting.) After that, we all took a nap in the sunshine upstairs.

Oh, and then I had to go to work.
Yeeeeahhh.

Having Eliza back, and hanging out and talking (oftentimes about Little Dorrit, which has risen way, way above and beyond obsession status, believe me– Bug and I have decided that it’s eaten our brains, and we have resigned ourselves to the fact that we’ll probably spend the rest of our young lives talking about it) (so much so that I could not even wrap up this post without mentioning it. Jeez Louise.) and being crazy and being together… it was just so good.

Whew. That was a long post.
Yours,
Pen

the long fall back to earth…

Day one of being home: “Ahh, it’s so nice to be back…” 
Day three…
Me: “Oh, what a delicious dinner, I love pita bread!”
Dad: “As long as you don’t pita bed.”
Me: …”I miss being with civilized people.”

Really, though, everything did fall right back into place when I came home. Besides inordinate amounts of weeds in the gardens I tend, and Poncho clinging desperately to me for two days, it’s kind of like I was never gone.

Except every few hours or so I think, WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?!?!??
Sigh. I miss the peacefulness of the beach and being away. Oh, need me to do something? Well, too bad, I’m on vacation, can’t take care of it right now. It’s a procrastinator’s dream come true! 

But at the same time I’m glad to be doing things. For example, last night I took my first ever dance-that-is-not-Irish-dance class. (It was, in fact, contemporary ballet.) I think I did surprisingly well, all things considered. Now I am sore in strange places. It was a lot of fun, though! I’m not used to arching my back and flinging my arms about (OK, maybe the flinging was just me) and dancing to music that actually has words. Also, despite my obvious newbie-ness, I didn’t feel completely lost because I knew how to watch what the teacher was doing and mentally break it down into which foot goes first and that sort of thing. Except sometimes I would watch and think: All right, we go down, then do that hoppy thing, and UP one two! And the teacher would say something completely different with official terinology. Irish dance has no official terminology. Half the time, the teacher goes, “No! It’s not dot-did-diddly-dum, it’s da-dum-dot-dadada! Try again.”
That’s usually the point where my head metaphorically explodes. Either that, or I experience the strange sensation of actually understanding such gibberish.

So anyway, I’m glad that Eliza had the idea of getting me into the contemporary class. Brill!

Oh, and something else that lingers with me from The Trip…
Eliza singing “Clang, clang, clang, went the trolley! Ding, ding, ding, went the bell! Zing, zing, zing, went my heartstrings!…” And I kept accidentally singing it the past few days, due to its catchiness. Later on, I heard:
Mom: “Clang, clang, clang, went the trolley! Ding, ding, ding– Oh, I don’t want to be singing this.”

Also, the first time Eliza sang that song, we were all in the car and Rachel jumped in with her own verses… “Blub, blup, blup, went my liver! My kidneys ran off down the street!…”

I think the sea air does something to people’s brains.

Perhaps I shall post a bit more about The Trip later. Maybe with pictures. Maybe…. 

Oh, here’s one picture, at least…

Wawa!

Unfortunately, here at home there are no stores with names so endlessly entertaining. ;) I am glad to be home. The long fall leads to a soft landing.
~Pen