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

I’ll let you understand; I am not a lonely soldier.

So. The above quote (of course it’s a quote, this is me we’re talking about) seemed fitting considering that tomorrow is Memorial Day. It’s from Spirit’s “Soldier”, which is a song that I uually listen to when I’m a: depressed, or b: practicing various Irish dance exercises. The beat is perfect for doing ups and downs, points, and turnout practice.

Speaking of Irish dance, the Feis was today and it was so fun! The DHFs came!! I got second place in treble jig!! I wore my new school dress!!

Then I came home and baked apple cinnamon scones. Yum.

Uh, what was I talking about? The thought of scones distracted me. Oh, right, now I remember.

So, back to the topic of depressed music… I think my dad’s theme song would be “Why Can’t I Be Free?” because that is the question he asks about every other day. Someday I’m going to bust him outta this city. See if I don’t.
Mom says that she would like her theme song to be “All My Tears” by Jars of Clay, which is a nice thought but she totally stole my idea! Just kidding. No, really though. That was going to be my theme song, dang it! It goes “When I go, don’t cry for me/in my father’s arms I’ll be…/it don’t matter where you bury me/ I’ll be home and I’ll be free/ it don’t matter where I lay/ all my tears be washed away.”

Now you see why I wanted it, and now you probably want to adopt it as your anthem, too. Hmph.
As for my theme song… I guess it would change. I tend to pay attention to the drum parts in songs, since I like a driving beat, but I also tend to pick apart lyrics. I always talk with Mom about what I think lyrics mean. I had to explain the song “Good Monsters” to her, and a few weeks ago we tried to decipher “Heart”. Maybe it’s the poet in me, but I love to think about what the different things in songs might mean. Maybe that’s why I generally dislike country songs. They’re too obvious. They’re always about love or fishing or being a redneck or something. They don’t have more than one meaning, or more thna one way of being interpreted, which is the whole fun about discussing what one thinks a song means.

For example, “Closer” by Jars of Clay is my favorite song. I like it because you can take it from a God-to-person/ person-to-God POV, or from person-to-person. It can be about God asking, “I don’t understand why we can’t get close enough”, like, “why won’t you talk to me? Why won’t you get closer?” or it can be a person feeling like they are disconnected from God or that he is a far away, and they don’t understand what they have to do to feel closer. (I can relate to that sometimes, for sure.) From person to person, it makes sense too. All the references to the leaky boat, tears, a bomb, it’s like saying that “we’re falling apart here; I’m trying to keep us together, but if you want me to love you you have both get closer to me and allow me to get closer to you”. 

Maybe I over analyze, yeah? But anyway. That’s what I think.

It kind of gives me an idea… Maybe I could ever so often post my thoughts on certain songs, and how they relate to life as it is right now…. We used to do something similar at schoolschool, but I forget what we called it. When I brought in a song the whole class wanted to know what band it was, which made me wish I’d brough some Jars of Clay instead of whatever I did bring. 

Hah. My musical taste was deemed cool for a day. How funny.

To close… Take a listen to this and this.  (My favorite and second favorite songs… The second, you might recognize if you’ve read some of my earlier posts. I quote it a lot, ha.)

Yours till the kite strings,
Pen

Sorry, Nature, but you’re not getting a mother’s day card from me.

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of “The Earth is our mother” stuff, so I just wanted to clear things up. I do not consider Nature my mother. I’m not trying to be anti-green, or argue about animals and plants; it’s just about the earth and nature itself, and I don’t consider it my mother. Don’t get me wrong, I see the analogy: we are fed by the fruits of the earth, we can’t live anywhere else, it gives water and shelter and basically takes care of us.

But… That doesn’t make it our mother. Because there is one thing that a mother does that Nature, or the Earth, does not. And that is: a mother loves.

Sure, the things on the earth, and the things in nature can love, but the earth itself is just a ball suspended in space. A ball suspended in the perfect place in space, supplied with everything we need, but the earth itself does not love. The dirt doesn’t say, “Hey, I’m going to be really fertile so everyone can grow stuff”. Nature does provide, but not out of love. 

But there is a mother that we all share, a mother for all humanity. The Blessed Mother. She provides for us, and out of love. She prays for us, watches over us, sets for us a great example. In honor of May, the month when we especially honor Mary, and in honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday….

~Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.~ 

To my mom here on earth, and the Blessed Mother in heaven, Happy Mother’s Day. <3

-Pen

roses are red, violets are–shouldn’t they be violet?–blue.

Today being Valentine’s day and all, I decided to compose this love poem.

Ahem….

“Roses are red, violets are violet
my brother Poncho will never be quiet!
 Some flowers are white, like freesia and such
and so is the snow, except where it’s slush.
Tiger lilies are orange with little black specks
kind of like ladybugs after they’re dead.
Sprigs of holly and such are usually green,
quite like the mold that on bread can be seen.
Carnations are pink, carnations are yellow
and I must inform you that I do not like jello.
Bleeding hearts are pretty in a pink of deep hue,
and plastic flamingoes often are, too.
There’s lots of flowers of all colors and shades
though none of them rhyme, so there’s not much I can say.
Violets are violet, roses are rose
and flowers are better sensed through the nose.”

I am sure you found that very romantic, didn’t you? In fact, much like the White Knight from Through the Looking Glass, I am suprised you aren’t crying right now. It always makes me cry! Oh, love!

xoxo,
Pen

PS: Dad got Mom some chocolate-covered strawberries for Valentine’s Day…. cue the “awwww”s!

“I better get written about on that blog”

That’s what Mom jokingly told me last night as she carried laundry downstairs to be sorted and washed. You see, we were talking about how much she spoils me. Well… I don’t really think spoil is the right word though. It’s not like she just gives me anything I want and I never have to work for anything. I mean, I actually do a lot of work around here. In addition to my full-time job as a student/novelist, I cook, clean, take care of pets, whatever. (Call me weird, but I actually kind of like having to do that stuff. It makes me feel all old-fashioned and in-charge.) But Mom is always… ah, here’s the word: nurturing me. Just last night she took me to dance, got me dinner and whisked me away to a beekeeping class I signed up for at the county fair over the summer. She sat in it with me and offered encouragement despite the fact that she does not like bees. Any bees. At all. (Although half the things people think of as bees are really types of wasps. Real, true honeybees are really gentle, especially if they’re just out collecting pollen, because they only sting to protect the nest. If they’re out in the field the nest is not nearby, and so they don’t feel threatened if you come near.) 

She takes me to writer’s group and when I’m being critiqued she takes notes for me. She edits draft after draft of my novels. She diligently looks for solo dresses on the internet, helps me practice my hard shoe dances in front of a mirror, and takes me to dance twice a week. She’s signe dme up for/ecnouraged me in so many activities throughout my life that, if she hadn’t I think I would be just a boring sort of person now. I mean I would have like no interests such as flute, dance, knitting, writing, botany, beekeeping… I owe her a lot. It makes me sad when she feels like she’s a bad mom because she forgot to do something (like help me with algebra… yeah I was real broke up about that) or whatever.

Also, she is very funny. I don’t know why but she cracks me up. We have a lot of inside jokes, I guess because we spend so much time together, and a lot of people might think it’s weird but I’m glad that we’re so close.

So, anyway, Mom– I’d basically be lost without you. You’re incredible.

<3,
Pen

Paris and Juliet

So this morning, over my usual bowl of cereal, I had a very long and detailed train of thought, which I will now share with you in its condensed form.

Romeo and Juliet: the much-plagarized and re-imagined classic star-crossed love story. (wow, that was a lot of hyphens.) Look at Juliet, the lovely girl character. She is supposed to marry that guy Paris or whatever his name was, right? Now think about it. Juliet meets Romeo. You know the rest of that.
But look at this: when she’s “dead” (aka under the effect of the sleeping-so-she-looks-dead potion thing) Paris comes to her grave. Paying his respects to a girl who was supposed to marry him, who he cared very much about, who he was rejected by. He probably knew all about her and Romeo, in fact. But he still comes to her grave. He’s not off sulking in his bedroom, clinging to bitter feelings against her and her descisions. See, I think he still loves her anyway. Poor guy.
Then Romeo shows up. We all know he’s supposed to be the good guy, but see this from Paris’ POV! Paris is probably thinking, “This jerk has the nerve to show his face? After Juliet killed herself because she couldn’t marry him? He made her kill herself, which is basically like him killing her because he had to be an idiot and yell nice poetry up to her balcony and–” Well, then when he fights Romeo he’s kind of just defending Juliet’s honor because he loves her, blames Romeo for her demise. We all want to blame someone in a situation like that, and from Paris’ point of view Romeo is a nasty Capulet who ruined everything, which is what Paris has been raised to believe Capulets do by nature. Then Romeo kills Paris. The End.
Paris never knows that his love Juliet is actually alive. (Romeo doesn’t either because of the whole personal messenger mix-up… perhaps this play is not so much a tragedy as an advertisement for unlimited texting. can you imagine? “rmeo, jus thot id tell u im not rly ded ;]” ) 
And maybe…. maybe if Paris had known Juliet’s plan all along, he wouldn’t have fought Romeo that night. Maybe he would have loved Juliet enough to want her to be happy, despite his personal thoughts (none of them very nice) about Romeo. Certainly, if he loved her, he would rather have seen her and Romeo escape into the night instead of both lying stone cold in a vault somewhere.

That, I think, is the real tragedy of this play. Paris.

AHHHH! *shrieks* Paris is Peeta!!!!!!!!!!!

OMG. Just made up my mind.
Dang. I am gonna so hate the ending of the third Hunger Games book now. Because you know Katniss is so not going to end up with Peeta. 
I can’t believe I never saw it before… Wow. about ten minutes ago I didn’t care if she picked Gale or Peeta, but right now I see that if she picks Gale I would not like it very much at all. Curses on thee, Capulets!! But at least Katniss realizes that she’s going to hurt someone either way, and that it’s going to hurt Peeta the most. At least she understands that he really loves her. I wonder if Juliet was aware of the extent of Paris’ devotion.

Sigh. Shakespeare thought of everything. His story has just revealed a layer that I am sure he thought about, but we watchers of plays never saw before. Another round of applause for the Bard. ;)

home again, home again, jiggety jog

Hey! I’m back from Atwood!!! It was such a great time. The weather was amazing (except for this morning it rained and I got soaked… but it made cool fog afterward so it was totally worth it. :) ) and I felt very energized just from being outside, moving around, running through the woods and hiking for two hours on Saturday (whew!), and having snowball fights, and all that. Ironically our Wii Fit is going to scold me for not doing exercise for three days. Ha on you, Wii Fit. I probably got more exercise this past weekend than in the past three months combined! Oh well.

I decided that I love winter because it’s here and it’s gorgeous and foggy and icy… ahhhh. Lake Atwood was so pretty in the mornings and evenings, because it was frozen but the 40 degree weather was making it melt a little, so the result was fog/mist. Lovely.

Ice fishing on Lake Atwood… I wasn’t really sure what those little huts were for (porta potties?) but then this morning I realized it was to shelter them from the wind. Ohhh. ;)

Hiking the trail to the Airfield took Dad and I two hours (there and back, five miles… we did stop to talk to a rabbit hunting farmer we met though, so probably we were actually walking for a shorter time.). But the airfield is pretty nifty, and the scenes along the hike are great.

Snowball fighting (dads against daughters) was another highlight. I didn’t get hit once, but I did hit a couple of the dads. I loved ducking and throwing and running using sleds as shields. Eventually Karen, Lisa, and Sam convinced me to sled down the hill. We raced each other and I totally wiped out and got soaking wet in the melting snow. I have no pictures of it, basically because if I did not keep moving I was going to get a snowball in the face. ;)

Dinnertime Saturday we all went to the Dellroy Community Center about two miles from camp. Some ladies from the little town made us a big dinner (with mashed potatoes that were soooooo good… and amazing cookies and pie…). Afterward we had a pig race with those walking Mr Bacon pigs. Every cabin gets a pig and they decorate the jockey (a little teddy bear of some sort) and name the pig. Our jockey was dressed as an angel so we named out pig Heavenly Ham. There was also a very clever person who named their pig “Senior Pigsesses”. LOL. Anyway, Heavenly Ham made it to the final round only to lose by a centimeter! Here he is valiantly crossing the finish line in the qualifying round, and then being comforted after his eventual defeat.

Late Saturday night I roasted marhsmallows with Lisa and Sam at the fire Fireman Jim made. Then we went back to their cabin and talked until about three in the morning, and had hot chocolate. Lisa about died laughing when we were talking about our hair, and I said, “Some of my hairs are grey”. They are because my hair is a mix of different shades of bonde and brown so some look kinda grey, so I was being completely serious but we cracked up because Lisa’s laugh is hilarious. I ended up just sleeping over at their cabin.

At the end Dad and I went on a hike around the mist-shrouded, thawing-out lake Atwood to say goodbye even though it was raining. Then we hung out with Lisa and Sam for a while before leaving…. sigh. Leaving camp is always sad, but at the same time I really wanted to take a shower. The roads were all foggy and cool and there was an awesome tree by this farmhouse. There was also a field full of black cows roaming around, and since they were so dark they popped up out of the mist very suddenly and flapped their ears at us.

Of course, the best part of camp was spending time with my dad. It always is. :)

Soooo…
that’s all. The End. As they say at the end of the Madeline movie, Fin.

Fishy Fishy Fins!!! Wow, hyperness. Haha, it made me think of the Salamader, “It’s a fish show!” LOL.

Peace,
Pen

PS did you know that haddocks are fish? I didn’t until today. So now I know what a haddock is from that poem in Through the Looking Glass, when the white knight meets Alice. “I search for haddock’s eyes/among the heather sweet/I make them into mutton pies/and sell them in the street…” sigh. That is next on my list for memorization…mwaha. ;)

Heat Wave!

Dude, we’re having a heat wave here. It’s upwards of 30 degrees! I think it might hit 40 this weekend, thank goodness. Dad and I are going camping this weekend at Atwood, and I am so excited!! Last year it was really fun but soooo cold. So hopefully we’ll get a break this year and I’ll actually be able to go outside without having to bundle up everything except my eyeballs. It’s so funny though– whenever I go camping, I always end up wearing clothes that used to belong to either my grandfather or my dad. And they fit me. Especially my grandpa’s (my dad’s dad, not Grandpa Vegas) wool shirt thing from when he was in the army when he was seventeen. And here I am and it fits me very flatteringly. Haha.

Our icicles are melting, too. :( We had some on the front of our house but now they’re shrinking. Nooo! When we used to play elaborate gams outside in the snow we would always knock them down and use them as knives, spears, and ice picks. Good times, good times.

So what else is up today? Hmmm. Well, I am dying because AP says I have 0 posts and I NEED to put up part 6 of White Funeral!! I hate having 0 posts. Alas. I need to write some poetry, too, though. I haven’t written any AP-worthy poems in a while. I did write one weird poem that I will probably never post anywhere about this hill that my dad told me about.

Oh! Speaking of Dad, I had him read The Hunger Games, and he just finished yesterday. He was totally glued to the book all of Tuesday. I knew he would love it! So yesterday we had a little book discussion and…
Me: “What did you think of the ending?”
Dad: “I can’t believe it’s only the first book! Glad she ditched the doughboy though.”
Me: (a little incredulously) “But… But I liked Peeta!” Then again I was pretty undecided the second time I read it and then Catching Fire was total torture because I could not decide if I wanted her to pick Gale or Peeta. Sometimes I think Gale because, well, it’s Gale and they’ve always been together, they’re so alike, they make a great team and Gale really loves her… But then I also think Peeta because, well, it’s Peeta and he’s very sweet, he and Katniss are different so they kind of balance each other out, and let’s face it, he’d be completely crushed if she picked Gale. But Gale would still have Madge so it’s not really fair.
Wow. I have no life. But I love those books anyway.

Well, I guess that’s all for now…. Peace out, homies!! LOL. I was saying that to my mom and my ASL teacher yesterday because my ASL teacher said soemthing about “peeps”.

Yours till the tea leaves (oooh that was a good one!)
-Pen

it’s a wonderful life

That’s what I said this morning, along with a nostalgic sigh, when I finished reading a book I have been waiting two years for. This book was… My Yearbook!!! From my last year at schoolschool (as in, the last year at school before I was homeschooled)!!! Why did it take so long for me to get it, you ask? Well, it’s a long story that is pretty dumb anyway so I’m not going to tell it. Too bad.

It was kind of sad to look at, though. There are a lot of people and feelings that I greatly miss. There was also a lot that got my blood boiling in anger when I went there, and a lot of things that I am SO THANKFUL I no longer have to put up with. Cough, cough. Not mentioning specifics but…. They know who they are. Grrrrrr. (“I AM THE MCGILL!!! LOOK UPON ME AND TREMBLE!!!”)

Ah. But there were some pictures that I was like, “sigh…” There were a bunch that both Amanda and I were in. I miss Amanda so so sososososososososooooooo badly!!!! Plus I feel like a terrible friend because we already had plans so I couldn’t go to dinner with her for her birthday. D: Oh, Amanda! I’m sorry! So of course, right after reading the yearbook I zipped over to Facebook  and sent Amanda a message. I have a plan. We may not be able to see each other every day, but we could certainly get together more often than we do now! We only live 15 minutes away from each other, for goodness’ sake! So I have devised a plan. I will see if it can work when she replies to the message. Also, I wanted to do something together over Christmas vacation. Allie will be in town until New Years, so the Lemon Sistas can reunite!!

Amanda and I were completely inseperable since becoming friends at school. We were this close for 6 years!!! We are still best friends, but we hardly talk so much anymore. Mom laughs at me when I say, “I talked to Amanda on the phone”  because it’s actually like shetalkssuperfastsothatshesaysalotinlikefiveminutes and then I get a few words in butifshe’sexcitedthere’snowwaytogetawordinedgewise and so when you hear only my end of the conversation, it seems like there IS no my side of the conversation, except for when I laugh becuase she’s so Amanda. I miss that.

I miss Father Hoban, too. And Allie! And Bednar, and butterum muffins, and ice/snow, and bats in the early morning, and encrichment class in the other building (ohmygosh the way that room smelled!…). I mean, I have a lot of good memories. But I also look back and think, I am glad that I left when I did. While the good memories I have were untarnished still. I was ready to move on. There were pictures of the 50’s&60’s show we did, and I thought of how we had to sing “Hello Goodbye”. The song says, “Every time I say goodbye you say hello.” I think it’s very true. Every time I said goodbye to something, God showed me that there was also a great “Hello”. I left my old-old-school after first grade, and I was so upset about leaving. But if I hadn’t, I would never have even met Allie or Amanda, or anyone else. I wouldn’t have done a lot of the cool things I did, or been happy in quite the same way. And in the same way, when I said goodbye to schoolschool, I said hello to the entire world, it seems. I said hello to time to write, to writers’ group, to being so mcuh closer to my family. I said hello to Botany and Literature, field trips, and a lot of freedom!

It really is a wonderful life! And there are so many times when I just think, I am so thankful. Incredibly, incredibly thankful.

Peace,
Pen

PS:I guess the whole “Hello/Goodbye” thing is probably not what the Beatles were thinking of when they wrote the song, but whatever.  
PPS:I know I said I would continue on with yesterday’s topic, but I wasn’t expecting the yearbook to come. Some other time, I will further discuss the previous topic. Yeah. I procrastinate, what can I say?

Everything I know I learned from Fiction

It’s true. Here’s what fiction has taught me:

History. Where else could I have learned about the Wars of the Roses, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, the Native Americans, the early settlers, the immigrants who came to Ellis Island, Amelia Earhart, the Great Depression, saints, royals, commoners, Shakespeare, Victorian England, Protestant Scotland, and so much more? Medieval France, the roaring 20’s, the assassinations of MLK and the Kennedys?

Science. With books like The Quantum July out there, you can make your brain hurt and have fun, too! Yep, fiction taght me chaos theory, string theory, Einsteins’ theory of Realatvity. It taught me that the mere prescence of an observer changes the outcome of an experiment. It taught me about entropy, parallel universes, black holes, supernovas, and even some chemistry.  

Writing. I learned from the greats. In school, teachers would be talking about the ‘right’ way to write, and then I would raise my hand and say, “But that’s not how you write it in a book.” They would snap, “well, we’re not talking about writing books right now.” Then what the heck were we talking about??? Sheesh. Besides that, fiction taught me how to build characters, settings, conversations, and conflict. I learned all the elements of a great story, all the elements of fiction which some writers agonize over learning, by the time I was ten. 

And besides the above subjects, here are some other lessons I’ve learned from my extensive wanderings through the world of fiction…..

-The flowers that now grow in our gardens were once rare mysteries that men crossed the earth in search of, risked prison, injury, and death to retrieve. Botany was not for the faint of heart. 
-The best heroes are never perfect.
-Your real friends are the ones you would die for.
-Or who would do the same for you.
-Your mind is your greatest possesion. It cannot be taken from you, it can be used as a weapon, a haven, and a storage device. 
-The pen is mightier than the sword. Unless you’re fighting illiterate pirates.
-The color of wax can help solve a mystery. The slant of handwriting is a giveaway clue.
-Asparagus means death.
-Attention to detail is key.
-Girls in dresses rock the world.
-Your brothers mean well… usually.
-Trust your instinct.
-Music can change the world.
-There is magic everywhere.
-Never take this world you live in for granted.
-Names are not mere trivialities.
-True love is never easy.
-A broken heart can still beat.
-Death is not the end.
-You are not defined by your past, your family, your money, or where you come from.
-Cars are for losers. Bikes, horses, carriages, feet, and gryphon-back are much better modes of travel.
-Writing is a dangerous business.
-You can start a sentence with And. Really, you can!
-Some rules are made to be broken.
-Evil may win battles, but they cannot win the war.
-The ability to see the future is way overrated. 
-It’s considered rude to eat anything you’ve just been introduced to.
-Think lovely thoughts, and they will lift you up in the air!
-Be what you seem to be. Or, if you’d like it put more simply….
-“Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them otherwise.”
-The best maps are perfect and absolute blanks! (Bellman forever!LOL)
-You will find friendship and even love in the most unexpected places.
-Never trust gorgeous people in white gloves.
-The best answer to any question is “Treacle.”
-Beavers are sensitive creatures, who are generally not too good at math.
-Never let a toad drive a car. Just don’t!

There’s so much more…. I could go on forever…..

Maybe some other time I will. I will have What I Learned From Fiction THE SEQUEL. Unless, of course, this bored you. ;P