Re-loo, Re-loo

Guys. I KNOW it has been approximately 800 years since I’ve posted anything here, but I am going to ignore that fact and instead of telling you what I’ve been doing lately, I present one of my Projects With Bug. This particular one occurred last week when the weather decided to not be kill-yourself freezing and was only face-numbingly cold. It was the first day of spring, actually! First we went to a little place called Coe Lake and walked all the way around it through wind and woods. Bug, who has more knowledge of the place than I, set out for the most interesting trees for posing in.

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Then it was on to deeper parts of the woods, along the way noting  a seagull skull, which prompted Bug to ask why the likelihood of finding dead things goes up whenever I’m around…  My theory is that there are just a lot of dead things in the woods, and if you are always peering intensely at the ground– as I do, in my search for feathers, antlers, cool sticks et cetera– you are going to see some.(Except, despite my recent, obsessive best efforts, I haven’t been able to find a single shed antler… *claws the walls* WILL OUTSIDE PLEASE BE CLEMENT I NEED TO LOOK MORE)

Anyway, we found a bunch of cool fallen trees and climbed on them.

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Then we ventured onward into town, and around to the criscross bridges hidden behind some of the buildings.

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On our way out of there, Bug found another interesting tree, but had some trouble climbing into it…

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She eventually succeeded.

Also, we both became simultaneously taken with the brick wall across the street. Bug understands me, man.

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The last bit of our tour involved the stone steps where we avoided the stares of college kids and chilled out under the pines.

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On our way back, we plotted out some hopes for future, hopefully warm-weather adventures… Islands of ruins and broken glass and geodes, days around the lake, and of course, ever more time spent tromping through field and forest. I. Cannot. Wait.

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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.

adventures in time and space

The past… Well, I was going to say “week”, but to be honest I have NO IDEA what day it is, what time, whether it’s still August… Seriously. Okay, what was I trying to say? Yup, no idea on that, either. It’s two in the afternoon, which means I have been awake for two hours.

What have I been doing lately, you might ask. Well… a lot of driving around the city and over the valley (so many times that I think driving over bridges will feature in a story someday) and back to my house very late at night. A lot of looking at the sky and whatever light source currently glowed in it. Also there was quite a bit of fire involved, and games that I am terrible at playing such as pool and volleyball. It was a really cool end to summer, actually (except I don’t really think summer is over, and for the first time in ages, I really wouldn’t mind it going on a while longer).

Also, I have been thinking of some new story ideas, including one that I described to Bug as “a future world, but with classic stuff… And it has robots, and androids, and MURDER!” This, my friends, is what happens to your brain when you read Ray Bradbury on an excursion to the most behemoth Fakeworld you’ve ever seen. Yeah, would maybe not recommend. (Also, do not read “The Veldt” before bed. Just. Don’t.)

Speaking of which, I guess my somewhat unintentional summer mission has been to read everything of Ray Bradbury’s that I haven’t yet read. I am almost done with The Illustrated Man, a collection of short stories that I don’t like as well as The Golden Apples of the Sun. Next in line is Something Wicked This Way Comes, which was also unintentionally perfect for the start of fall and such. Wait, with all this Doctor Who and Star Trek stuff (I just watched “The Journey Home”, featuring the original Spock and Kirk and the annoying whale lady who the DHFs promised would not kiss Kirk but it was lies I tell you! I had to hide under the blanket), maybe my actual unintentional summer mission was to delve deep (“Probably too deep”, I hear you mutter) into my sci-fi side.

Well, it has been fun. I am especially glad that I have cool friends to share this with… Which brings me to: Eliza is gone again.  Luckily, I got to see her before she left… And I stayed at the DHFs house one night, and this is the conversation I overheard as they prepped dinner.
Francis: “I don’t know, that’s not a lot of food.”
Eliza: “I can make some corn.”
Francis: “I don’t know…”
Eliza: “Let me make some corn.”
Bug: “Yeah.”
Eliza: “Like, corn is corn is corn. I mean… it’s corn.”
Francis: “Well, all right.”

Now it’s time for Bug and I to combat our sadness by embarking on some odd project. Literary magazines, movies, lots of running around the random field in general. (And in costume. What can I say.)

Ah, one more important thing! My driver’s test is scheduled! September something or other. Basically, Mom looked at my temps yesterday and they are about to expire. So. Off I go to fail a test with a stranger in the car.

Oh dear.

I just realized… What car am I going to use for this test???? The big yellow truck, or the lumbering, lurching minivan??? Either way, hoo-rah. More fun than a barrel of monkeys. Rabid, feral robot monkeys that want to eat you.

I guess I am less prepared for this test than previously thought… I am going to have to practice. A lot.

But still! This thought won’t tarnish the last of summer. I am off to ride bikes with Dad and Poncho. They want to do this “Lake to Lake” trail, and I am bringing along the trusty (I hope– we haven’t been through that much together yet) camera, and my cool sunglasses. (So I will probably end up home later today with weird, owlish circles of untanned skin around my eyes. Fabulous, dahling!)

Arrivederci,
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

Things That Begin with the Letter B

(I wrote a long, looooonnnggggg post and split it into two parts. Here’s the first.)

Part 1: Buffalo!
The past week has been realllllly long and SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED that we are lucky my brain hasn’t im-/ex-ploded. So I was going to kind of summarize, but it was so awesome that I simply cannot just skim over it. (Plus I feel like I jipped you guys with the last post not going into extensive detail. So, details commence!)

Mom and I went to Buffalo, NY to visit the H’s, who are some friends you have not heard of on here before. I think. I am not combing my archives to see if that statement is true. Anyway. We left right after church on Sunday, and Mom “hauled bleep through Pennsylvania” and I played a bunch of music and fell asleep once we hit New York. It was my first time in that state, by the way. I said to Mom as we crossed the state line, “Wow, I’ve been so many places for the first time this year! Beach, New York, and whatever state I was in with the DHFs before we went to the beach…” (I am still confused about where the heck we were. Was it Virginia? D.C.? An alternate dimension? I may never know for sure.) Right after I said that, I realized what it sounded like: “Hi, I’m the stereotypical Ohio girl you see in poorly written TV shows where Ohio is like one big cornfield and the people have no knowledge of the outside world!”
Well, get ready for more of that, people.

We stayed with the H’s in their house in Buffalo. Highlights include playing games, seeing ducks, eating Buffalonian food, and generally just hanging out. But did I mention… We also went to Niagara Falls! And Dodge, if he ever read this blog, would get a smug grin on his face because of this conversation before I left home:
Me: “Niagara Falls? Come on. It’s just a waterfall.”
Dodge: “Well, it’s actually pretty impressive.”
Me: “How would you know!”
Dodge: *knowing shrug* (which sounds like an oxymoron, but that’s what he does)

Well, it did turn out to be “actually pretty impressive”. I was extremely enthralled by it. We stepped out of the car and I could instantly smell the water. It smelled iminently drinkable. We stayed on the American side despite Bram suggesting that we walk across the bridge to Canada (and then me suggesting that we run up to the border, put a toe over, and then run away). Actually, I liked the American side, because Canada, I love you but you’re all casinos and tourism and flashy-shiny-shouty stuff over there. And over on our side we had a park. (“WHAT NOW!!!” as Mom would say.) I have to write pages and pages about the experience in my journal I keep of such things (there are scrawly pages filled with things I saw/thought/experienced at the beach and also on random walks around my neighborhood. It was supposed to be an “idea journal”, but now it’s an adventure notebook!) so all I am going to say here is ohhhh pretty and wow and holy cow and… yeah. Also I told Mom that the park had a “vibe”.
Mom: “What kind of vibe?”
Me: “Um… a Niagara Falls park vibe? I don’t know.” thinking: I wish Bug was here!
Later, I called Bug and told her about it, and when I related that conversation to her, she said, “Oh, I know! The only named vibe is a creepy vibe.” So there you go.

Then we went to a Frank Lloyd Wright house, where we were peering in the front windows because it was closed. Or, it was supposed to be closed. Because suddenly a guy came out and he said, “Oh, do you guys want in?”
Us: “Um… is that allowed?”
Guy: “The door’s unlocked. I dunno. Sure.”
So we went in. It was all dim inside, but very fab, and we peered around for a couple minutes and I felt strangely hidden from the world. But then someone said, “Uh… I don’t think we’re really supposed to be in here”, and then we heard voices upstairs so we darted back out. That was fun.

Well, actually, the whole trip was fun. And the H’s were brill!

(Which is a word that begins with B, and as such is a good place to stop for now. Stay tuned for Part 2, aka the second half of my week, which I will post tomorrow unless a catastrophe happens or I simply cannot move, both of which are highly plausible at this point.)

Yours till the butter flies,
Pen

sparrows in the holly bush

Well, I don’t have much to say, but it’s been FOREVER since I blogged and I hate to be away so long.
So.
Here I am.

So much has happened between Christmas and now that I feel like I have to catch up. Christmas was awesome, obviously, and New Years was extremely lame (Mom says we need to come up with a new tradition– I vote for playing games because…) my birthday was SUPER FUN and it involved going to the park, eating delicious food, being with my friends, and playing Spot It with my family. Grandpa kept shouting “whale!” for the dolphin, and it was so fun playing games with everyone. I also got a birdfeeder for my bedroom window (no birds have found it yet even though some sparrows live in a holly bush literally five feet away).Oh, and we had cookies.

Being seventeen is waaaaaaay more enjoyable (so far) than being sixteen. I don’t know why; I just felt like at sixteen there were somehow all these societal expectations– driving, working, being a grownup yet a typical teenager. I hated telling people I was sixteen! But now, I’m seventeen and I feel like the pressure is off– if I’m not driving now I must be waiting until eighteen and the same with everything else. I’m in an in-between age where nothing in particular is expected of me and I love it. (Perhaps that is why I loved being fifteen as well…. So nineteen must be my next fun age. Hm.) I feel like I have the freedom to “stretch” and evolve at my own pace and not rush into things just because I’m now old enough for it.

I wish I could vote, though. (Not that citizens get to vote on anything important [cough, SOPA/PIPA].)

The other main thing that I have been doing lately is writing. I am so excited about the way that White Funeral is shaping up. It’s different from the original in many ways, yet I feel like it’s closer to the original concept. Things haven’t really changed, it’s just that I understand them better now. So things that I’m adding are things that I feel were in the original, just not fully revealed or explored. I’m really having fun unveiling things, and feeling like, “oh, that’s what I really meant when I said that”. Sometimes I think my subconscious writes and I just try to follow along.

Oh, and one more thing: I taught my dog Lily to speak! (I mean bark on command. If she was really holding conversations with me I would have mentioned it earlier.) Anyway, she does the trick perfectly… unless other people are watching.
Me: “Dad, watch, I taught the dog to speak.”
Dad: “Wow, she learned English? When did that happen?”
Me: “Noooooo… You know what I mean.”
Dad: “She does that too much already.”
Me: “No. She’s a good doggie! Lily, wanna treat?”
Dad: “Too much noise…”
Me: “Lily! Lily! Sit. Good. Speak!”
Lily: ………. *tail wagging*
Me: “Speak!”
Lily: …………*staring hungrily at treat*
Me: “Lily, speak!”
Lily: ………. *squirms*
Me: “Speak, Lily! Speeeeeak!”
Lily: “woof-BARK!”
Dad: “Wow. Amazing.”
Lily: *sneezes on me*
Me: “Thanks…”

So…

Well, I was waiting for inspiration, for something to write about on here, but then it became February and I simply can’t put it off any more. I’ve been having writer’s block lately, so work on White Funeral continues, ironing out all the inconsistencies and foreshadowings and weird formatting/invisible quotation marks. Arg. (I’m a pirate!) (not really.)

Mom is off work today due to the massive amount of snow. I guess the National Weather Service was right, the big storm did come. But alas! I have no good books to read, no new things to knit, no nothin’. Bored! Time to shoot a wall? Er, not quite yet.

Speaking of shooting, on Monday I took part in some epic Nerf battles!!! Dodge brought numerous dart guns over to the DHFs’ house and gave a brief training session. Then we went into the basement and hung blankets from the cieling to make a forest/maze. Then the shooting began! I got shot in the face twice, killed thrice, and wounded once. Steph and Dodge worked as a really quite intimidating team, while Eliza, Bug, and I worked together against them. Once, Eliza’s gun ran out of ammo just as Steph was coming for her, so she cocked the empty gun and scared Steph off. Bug staked out a sniper spot, and I shot at Dodge from around a corner. Strange how the basement seems so much bigger with the maze up, and darker, too. I have to admit I wish we had warmer weather, though, so we could play outside again…

I guess that’s all I have to say for now. Hopefully I’ll have a thought or two soon. Before my wall ends up with a smiley face in it.

Yours till the snow drifts,
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