Fall… and it all starts again

I’ve often that I think fall should be the New Year, at least by my life’s calendar. For me, this time of year is when everything feels like it has come full circle and we’re on the brink of going around again.

See: Migrations. I used to joke that my family was cursed, because every fall for the past few years there has been something (power outages, sewer leaks…) that drove us out of our house for a couple weeks. But since Patrick and I moved at the end of last fall, the new joke is that I was the cursed one all along. In fact, I don’t think my family did have to migrate last year…
And now this year, Patrick and I have been planning our schedules (as far ahead as we can), it turns out that I won’t be in Denver for much more than a week in October, and who knows about after. Let the migrating begin. (Or… continue, as I haven’t been in Denver much in September, either– not that I’m complaining! Spent a few weeks in Cleveland, a week in Arizona, and a weekend camping in the mountains. Now I’m in Fort Morgan, which is still in Colorado even though it looks just like Nebraska. Crazy how this state is half and half like that.)

See also: Mindset. At the very turn of the season, like lifting the corner of the page… I could feel it, the other day. It was hot and sunny but the breeze had a bite to it. The sunshine looks different (but maybe I’m just crazy– sometimes I think it looks different in different states). Anyway, things are changing, and this makes my mind start gearing up for some kind of “Phase Two”. Like getting home from work and changing your clothes to go out for the night. I find myself making lists, making plans, wanting to focus myself on certain things with an almost studious air. I even do research, which is something I hate. Suddenly I want knowledge, discipline… Wait, this sounds like school. Crap. Okay, I want to hone my self-disciplining, self-teaching skills. All this? Sounds like New Year’s resolutions to me.

Fall, I guess, is a lot different from the New Year, though. Fall isn’t about marking off, “the end of that, the start of this”; it cups you in the time between that and this. At the same time, it stabs right now into your brain and heart. It’s too beautiful and too short, but you know it’s going to come again, around and around.

it’s the stone of a home you know

Yesterday was the perfect almost-fall day. Warm but not hot, sunny but not blazing, and just enough people out and about in the late afternoon and evening to make the neighborhood seem alive as Patrick and I took a walk through the parkway. At night it was perfect sitting-out weather, so we sat on the front stoop listening to crickets, frogs, and passing trains.

It feels good to finally be settled in after all the crazy previous weeks. Wedding, honeymoon, getting home and trying to get a working sink and a fridge and stuff like that (all of which Patrick fixed… Speaking of which, he also power-washed the back patio so it’s now usable.
Me: “You’re covered with dirt. You have little flecks all over your face.”
Patrick: “Hmm.”
Me: *goes inside*
A few minutes later…
Patrick: *walks into the kitchen* “Hey. So did you know. If you power-wash the dirt off your legs… It kinda hurts.”).

But now everything is becoming the new normal, finally. It’s even normal to refer to Patrick as my husband, which is funny because it was so hard for me to call him anything when we were engaged. I think it’s because the word fiance sounds dumb, but “husband” (and wife!) sound super cool and legit. This is just a theory, but I mean. It’s obviously true.

I have to say, one thing that is kind of weird about living in my own house is having all my stuff out in the main rooms. I haven’t had other people go through my things this much since I was a kid and had friends over to play with stuffed animals. My books are stacked in the dining room, and a few friends have come over and hunched down, cocked their head sideways to read the spines, and asked me: “Did you actually read all of these?”
I’ve also had my record collection (or lack thereof– I’m working on it) analyzed by one of my friends, which went like this: “…This one looks sad, this one looks– just terrible… Ew, the Beatles… More Beatles?!? Man, I hate the Beatles… Oh, some Rush… Who is this? Nah, too sad… WHAT is it with you and the Beatles?”
However, the Chieftains records I bought for five cents at the library were the unexpected crowd-pleasers, so there you go.

Also we are kind of starting to meet our neighbors. Or, my dad met one and Patrick met one. I think they are too scared to talk to me… or maybe it’s the fact that I always seem to be running out the side door. But not today. This weekend, I am content to chill here mostly, enjoying the sunlight and the sounds and the fact that I’m at home.

all my bones are dolorous with vines

The title is what I keep thinking when I see the native flora lately (Thinking, or singing). I love how everything around here in the summer gets thick and green and any untended patch gets matted with overgrowth and wild grapevines. Actually, a lot of things lately remind me of quotes from either the song “Emily” or T.S. Eliot’s Prufrock poem.

But then there are some things that don’t remind me of quotes but instead inspire me to make my own words about them. And it’s frustrating in a way, because I want to be able to express things in the moment, but it takes time to formulate and I end up staying up late at home just writing it out in different forms. Usually I just make notes in some way or another, but the night of the 5th I actually wrote a poem, all in one sitting, which I haven’t done in a while. It was mostly based on some fireworks I saw/a drive along the highway at night, but it came after a day of seeing so many things I thought were cool or interesting or lovely (and fueled by how in those moments I just kind of babbled something dumb– I wanted to actually say something that made sense). I feel like I’m always grabbing someone’s arm and going “omg omg omg look at that it’s so cool” and they’re like, “Um. That is a brick. But I’m glad you’re so easily entertained.”

*cue the Prufrock references* Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets et cetera.

Some of the things I babbled about were:
-a weird development that was an eerie old-70s-future style, all dark wood. And on a slightly overcast day, too. (I said it seemed like the setting of a creepy suburbs movie, but Oliver said, “No, it’s like a Star Trek episode…” And he proceeded to act out the parts of Kirk and Spock: “Ahh! The geometric shapes!” and stalked around with an imagined phaser.) I actually saw a cloud of bluish smoke breathe from the upper window of one of the houses, and then, obscured by a tree, the shape of a man smoking a pipe and looking out.

-a power plant across the street from all this. You could see the chimney things from the development and then when you crossed the street, the whole thing on the edge of a park dim with locust trees. It loomed over this little beach that we walked along, climbing on a stone wall and stepping over a stream of water that spilled from a gross grate to the lake. Anyway, have you ever seen a building that you think, if this was a story, this building would be alive/sentient/possibly hungry? No? Well, then I guess you haven’t seen this power plant. Some of the high windows were open and I could see scattered bright lightbulbs on, burning with that particular incandescent yellow-orange light. The lights on made it seem like the building  thought it was nighttime but also didn’t sleep.

If at least one of these things don’t make it into a story someday, then I just don’t know.

Yesterday, I was at a baseball game and from up in the stadium facing out I could see across the city and its thick green clotted coat, patched with bridges and train tracks and neighborhoods and big factory-type buildings whose purposes I don’t know. Later we walked through downtown, and drove the side passages beside the river and down the straight stretch of road in the steelyards that lives in perpetual night in my imagination. All of this, I wished I knew how to grab hold of, or inhabit, instead of always looking and looking and maybe grazing it occasionally.

Hey! My half birthday is in a couple of days, I just realized. So, there’s that as reminder that I haven’t only been thinking of poetical stuff. I also think about half birthdays and how much I love blueberry popsicles (eating one right now).

Oh noooooo. I dropped popsicle on my shirt, I kid you not. Well. Typical.

though my memory rusts, I will always see the icicle tusk.

So we were supposed to have this life-threatening winter snowstorm deep freeze thing today… but at the moment, it’s just extremely cold. Which is bad enough, okay, but seriously….?

People’s obsessions with weather used to annoy me, but then I got obsessed too. Or at least mildly interested, maybe because of my interest, always, in the atmosphere of everything. Some of the most lovely and interesting weather I have seen happens very late at night when Oliver has to drive me home and try not to crash. Fog, mist, rain, sleet, snow– movie-set snow, snow like moon dust or sand, and last night’s snow that seemed to hang in the air like fog, casting everything mysterious and white.

I don’t very much appreciate the atmosphere of danger that ice imparts, though.

Darn! I wanted a snow day, an excuse to drink excessive hot chocolate and lie around listening to records and reading books and maybe finally topping off the candles I made with Bug and Marie, which have been sitting in a box waiting patiently while I gallivant around in everyone’s Christmas break. “Yeah, you really need a break from… nothing,” Oliver said.

But it wasn’t a break! Actually, I think my brain has been more active lately than it’s been in ages. I’ve been reading every day, chewing my way through alleged classics and The Secret History (yum); I’ve been researching and gathering materials constantly for my current “Robots” story; I’ve been absorbing my surroundings better than ever, remembering more conversations, getting better at character sketches.

This probably still sounds like a break, actually, and I’m not saying that this was super difficult for me, or that any of this felt like work. But lately I keep remembering what someone in my writer’s group once said to me. She was talking about the advantages of keeping a journal as a writer, and she said that you start out just writing things down when you’re looking for inspiration, or when you’re waiting for the “grist”, as she called it. But then after a while you realize that you’re not writing stuff down while you’re waiting for the grist anymore; that stuff has become the grist. For me this isn’t all totally intentional, gathering grist– but thinking about that advice, I have become more aware of (and hopefully better at) the practice.

This probably also sounds like I’m all, “I’m taking time to focus on my Art” [*adjusts tortoiseshell glasses*], but… I did lie around a lot, too. Whatever.

This is my jam!

Lately I’ve been thinking about the radio. I don’t usually listen to the radio, but my (*coughs out the word*) boyfriend (I cough this not because I dislike the current state of affairs, but because it just sounds weird to say. Like I should at the same time be flipping my hair and chewing bubblegum with vigor.) listens to a particular radio station in his car, and it’s starting to grow on me.

Because what happens is, you hear the same songs all the time, and it’s like the soundtrack to your life, but it’s one you don’t choose and have ultimately no control over. Which I guess sounds kind of depressing, but that’s not how I mean it. It’s like inspiration that you don’t and actually can’t look for. Plus, you’re listening to the same thing everyone else is listening to. So not only is it the soundtrack to your current life, but also everyone else’s current life. Somehow that’s a comforting thought, although I don’t know why. Maybe I’m just tired of being the only one in the whole city who sees fog and starts singing, “See how the fog from the port in the bay / lays like snow at the foot of the roanoke / hear the frog going courting / til the day he croaks”. (Sorry, but once the weather gets cold, it’s like my brain is a CD player in which a Joanna Newsom mix is permanently stuck.)

Which reminds me of what the radio reminds me of: Weather. Or maybe the constellations. You can’t control it or when it changes, though it does. And even though it’s kind of in the background, it still somehow affects you and everybody who is currently experiencing it.

I used to listen to the radio. Not in the car– I had a little yellow portable radio thing, and I used to sit on the swings in our backyard listening to… I don’t even remember what station or type of music. (It could have been NPR, who knows.) (Actually, it was probably the classic rock station. My childhood musical taste pretty much consisted of whatever Dad was listening to.) And then some years later I had a teacher who would put the radio on whenever the class was doing mindless homework, and everyone loved this one pop station so much that even I listened to it at home. Now whenever I think of it, I remember cold, sunny days and open windows and late afternoons.

Deeeeeeeep, man. I know. I am having all these deep thoughts while I avoid eye contact with my manuscript that I should be editing right now, so that I can instead sit here blogging and eating leftover mei fun.

Last night on the way home from the Chinese place I ate all the fortune cookies. One of the fortunes was, “There is absolutely no substitute for a complete lack of preparation.” I read it aloud to Mom, and we tried to decipher its meaning. I jokingly (sort of…) said that it must be a bad omen for my trip to Kansas. Yep, I’m leaving for Kansas in a couple of days, to visit Eliza at her college Out West. It’ll be my first-ever all-alone plane trip (or trip of any sort). And even with her and Poor Bill’s helpful tips and advice, do I feel totally unprepared? Pretty much.
Mom: “I think it’s backwards. Wait. Read it again.”
Me: “It just sounds like a spam robot message. They have computers making this stuff up. You know they do. Nobody actually sits around writing these.”
But people actually do sit around reading them, apparently. What, I like to have something to read at meals! Why do you think they have stuff written all over cereal boxes, huh?

Although once, I did get a pretty interesting fortune that I still remember, and relate to. It said, “Life is like learning to play the violin in public.” I’m pretty sure some variation of that was already a saying before I found it in a fortune cookie, but whatever. I relate to it both on the intended simile level and through the fact that I actually do learn to play instruments in semi-public, since I always used to play the flute on our front stoop and I still prefer to practice my whistle outside. Amidst the ceaseless smacking of basketballs and the weird disembodied voice that calls from the school up the street, and the churchbells sounding and the trains in the distance, why shouldn’t I join in? I add to the character of the neighborhood. Or at least that’s what I tell myself as I chirp out yet another imperfect rendition of “Blackthorn Stick”.

So that’s kind of what’s currently going on… Kind of. An overview. Not really. Actually a side note. Actually I don’t know what’s going on.

But you get the gist. Soon to Kansas. Travel. Musical obsessions. An overactive brain. Also fall.
Also, I should probably go get ready for work.

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

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

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

such a long time since I heard from that girl of mine

Today felt like, dare I say it…(do I dare? and do I dare? Do I dare disturb the universe???) (I like the line about daring to eat a peach better, I have to say)

Today felt like spring!

And not Spring.
Because guys. We do not capitalize the names of seasons. It is not grammicly correct, as Bug would say.

Anyway, Mom and I went on an antiques odyssey today to a bunch of places we’ve never been to before. Usually we head into Lakewood for antique and vintage, because it’s riddled with cool little shops. But today we had to pick Dodge up from a retreat in far-flung Avon (I think someone should add “Stratford-Upon-” to that, because why not) and we decided to make a day of it. The weather was so warm that I wore only a sweater, and it was sunny and wonderful and meanwhile I guzzled hot tea from a paper cup anyway because I have a bad cold. So basically I also touched a lot of cool stuff with my germy fingers. Whatever.

First we went into this neat old house that was packed the brim, but still bright and clean. All the way from the enclosed porch to the attic to the basement, there was stuff to hunt through. I was dazzled by the sight of the house’s actual kitchen overflowing with vintage kitchen stuff and completely nonsensical antique cooking implements. I mean, you pick some stuff up and you wonder, Is this a utensil or a tractor component? It was at this house that I bought a big glass light fixture thing that is yellow and brass and shaped like a flower. And it’s epic. (Because I said the word epic!) We also went through a huge barn-turned-antique place where Mom became keenly interested in shutters; another house that was connected sort of in a way; and one more antique store that creeped us out because it was basically junk thrown everywhere in cobwebby corners and dim lighting and different music in every room and a slanted floor like a funhouse of DOOM. (*gasps for breath*)

Then we came home and collapsed for a bit, and I made newspaper pots for my seedlings, which I will plant tomorrow. (If I have soil. I kind of forgot to check… I’m a little disorganized this year for some reason.)

Oh! Oh! And! I forgot! This past week was the week I took my GED test! The actual test-taking was fine and surprisingly not difficult, which has the reverse effect on me than you might expect– I’m actually more apprehensive of what my scores will be since I found it so easy. (Everything has to be more complicated, said my overthinking brain.) And the part where we all sat around in the waiting area during the breaks in between sections of the test? Yeah, that was an experience. The guy I was sitting next to called his mom and asked her to bring him food…
Him: “I need food… No, I’m not trying to yell, I just need FOOD. … …Ew, no. Baloney is inhumanly disgusting. No. No…. What?… I said, baloney is disgusting. I’ll– I will gnaw the flesh off my own leg before I eat baloney.”

My thoughts: Please can break time be over.

So, once I am officially marked “Passed” for the test, I will be graduated! Now I can further my education in the school of LIFE. As if I haven’t already been doing that. As if I actually sat down and did actual schoolwork at all this year… Cough. It was self-guided study, okay?
Basically I’m unschooled, OKAY!?!?!

Also, people keep asking me what my “plan” is now. It’s not so bad when people I actually know ask me this, but when it comes to acquaintances and/or strangers, it gets kind of awkward because I don’t have “a plan”. (“If we sticks to the plan, the plan will work”, as my dad always says.) Well, actually, I do, but since I’m already implementing it (finish my novel and get moving on that writing career while working at the library and possibly moving up in rank there), it sounds lame. Life is so unfair.

Maybe I should start steering the conversation in a different direction. Like this:
“Wellll, technically, it’s not so much a plan as a goal…”
“Oh? So what is it? College? Career?”
“Heaven. You know. The usual. The great thing is, you can get a full ride.”

I mean, who can argue with that, right?

Yours till the ink smudges,
Pen

PS: *News Flash* (Or, as Francis would say, “News for you FLASH!!”)… Radar is real. In case you were wondering if he was actually just a really convincing hologram or something.
PPS: Also, while Radar was here, I became suddenly aware of the fact that so very many of my conversations with the DHFs are, like this blog post, laced with oodles of quotes from not only movies and culture, but also from each other. (“She’s leav-ing to-mor-row!” etc). We have a quote-addiction problem.
PPPS: Like how Eliza can quote the entire “Potato-Head Packing Scene” from Toy Story 2. Just saying. It’s that bad.

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