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.


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.


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,

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.

“The Knight is sliding down the poker. He balances very badly.”

I just remembered that at the County Fair, I spotted a guy wearing a Wawa shirt. So of course my next move was to clutch the sleeves of the DHFs and stage-whisper, “Look! Look! Look! Over there!” Then we all stared fixedly at the guy until he started to notice and inched away.

Off on a tangent already and I haven’t even started. Well.

Today I volunteered at my place where I volunteer which because I am paranoid I shall not name. (Even though it has ten names anyway.) I’ve told you about this, right? No? Jeez Louise. The summarized/edited version, then: Mom works there, got me to volunteer there on their volunteering day, and I was set to work in the Health Center (where people can come and get checked for free by these nurse/pharmacist/podiatrist people). I like coming, being busy, being out of the house, helping.

The nice nurse lady was there today, the nice, quiet lady. Then there was the lady of the infamous “Kenyan is not in Africa” shirt story. See, because there’s a college called Kenyan which one of her children goes to (as I was told thrice the first time I met her), but it’s not in Africa. Hence, she has a shirt that says, “Kenyan is Not in Africa”. (Personally I think a Wawa shirt is much cooler.)
Her: “Kenyan is not in Africa… Haha, get it? Because it’s Kenyan but it’s not in–”
Guy in line: (with an extremely concerned look on his face) “Ma’am, Kenya is in Africa.”
Her: “No, it’s a joke, because it’s Kenyan and it’s not in–”
Guy: “But Kenya is in Africa.”

When that happened, the person I was working with decided to use it as a segway to start talking in fifty different accents. Today, I had a different colleage, and she wasn’t very talkative.

Nor did she quite appreciate my comments in what tiny conversation we did have, about the weather…
Her: “What kind of weather do you like?”
Me: “Cold. Chilly and drizzling, bare trees. And winter. I like weather that’s atmospheric, you know?” (And I’m sure you, dear reader, can guess that by ‘atmospheric’ I was not referring to a meteorological term.)
Her: “Yes, that’s a good day for staying inside. Watching TV.”
Me: (thinking) “…’That is not what I meant at all; / That is not it, at all.'”

But it was a good day after all, though, because I got to use a huge walkie-talkie. Also, I got alphabetizing practice.

Which reminds me! I had another interview at the library (a different branch) yesterday! And I think it went really well! And I sorted a cart! And I got it perfectly correct! Also very quick!

Ahem. I did not use all those exclamation marks. I am very deadpan and dry-humored.
OK, not really, but I try to be. I want to be all cool and “Yeah, clever one-line comeback, sly smile”. Instead, it’s usually: “…then I fell into the closet door again! And my dad was like, ‘Please don’t continue to replicate these circumstances.'” (True story, by the way. Happened last night. And that reply came via text message that for once wasn’t accidentally in all-caps.)
I think people find it weird that I tell funny stories about my family rather than myself. Even non-funny stories. The majority of my anecdotes are about my family, and often I am either a side character or a mere observer. Is that weird, really? Or am I just imagining people think so?


PS: I have quoted so many things in this post that I believe I have reached my quote quotia. But this, used for the title, has been in my head all day:
‘…”My dear! I really must get a thinner pencil. I can’t manage this one a bit; it writes all manner of things I don’t intend–”
“What manner of things?” said the Queen, looking over the book (in which Alice had put, “The White Knight is sliding down the poker. He balances very badly“). “That’s not a memorandum of your feelings!”…’ ~Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass


There is no title on my last post.

You probably did see, but you did not observe. However, it is a clear clue that (let’s steal another famous character line) “something is not right”.

Well, that is all for now. I just wanted to clear that up, now that I’ve gotten my brain back… Mostly…

thanks for that little status update, but this isn’t Facebook, and I’m not your laundromat.

The guy in the booth behind us, to his friend:
“I’m wearing my last pair of clean underwear.”

TMI, man.

Methinks this is clear evidence that Facebook is eating people’s brains.

I am too tired to explain the connection, and get into a whole long post. Grr. I think I’m becoming ill.
Not “getting sick”. “Becoming ill”. You know, some dumb jerk once made fun of me for saying “uncouth.” Where was that and when? Oh, now I remember. HSYM. Ag.
And the only reason they thought uncouth was so weird was because they did not know what it meant. Seriously? GET A LIFE. and a BRAIN.

Au revior from a sore-throat me.

“There’s a lot of people out there who want to be snobs.”

Guess what? Guess what? Guess guess guess!!!
Fine. Be that way, then.
I suppose I will just have to tell you.

Our dance studio finally got a new floor!!!!! YAAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!!!!!! No more dancing in a mine field!! No more looking furtively down lest you fall into an abysmal hole!! No more loose-tooth dots from where they put in (unhelpful) insulation!! No more duct-taping after banging in loose floorboards! And no more Ankle-Sprain Hill!!! 
Plus they split the classes, so I am now in a much smaller one and enjoying it immensely.

Also, yesterday  my new quilt came!! I got a new quilt for my bed, and it’s blue and white and I like it a lot. Slowly I’ve been trying to make my room reflect my actual age rather than a mix of my previous ones. I took down my canopy at long last, and Dad was all, “Oh, no more bug net?” in a disappointed voice. Yeah. Definitely no more bug net. 
Now if only I could finally finish cleaning the stupid room, which is never going to happen so why talk about it anyway, right? Right.

People are currently whining upstairs…
And it’s not even a school day. Whatever could be the matter?

My 3 hours of writing time continues to be a boon to my life. But yesterday was horrible because I had the worst case of writer’s block that I’ve ever had. Luckily it will be soothed if not ended on Saturday… Writer’s group For the WIN! Oh, I’m going to drive there myself. With Mom (stupid temps) but still. Parkway here I come, at a time in the morning which I am usually not yet fully awake!! Fear not, I hop out of bed on writer’s group days. [I like mornings. Just, sometimes my morning is someone else’s afternoon.]

Yesterday I played with Poncho out in the front yard. He was begging people to play with him, and Mom was giving me the Look, so I went. Poncho explained that we were going to play something akin to football, except it was called Disk of Power. We played for a bit, and subsequently the Disk of Power hit me in the eye. Poor Poncho was quite dismayed. Plus he didn’t want the game to end. By the time I was done putting ice on my eye, he said,
“Now it’s too dark to play more.”
Me: “So, we can play tomorrow.”
Poncho: “What if it rains tomorrow?”
Me: “Then we’ll play the next day.”
Poncho: “What if it’s really cold the next day?”
Me: “Then we’ll put on extra sweaters.”
Poncho: “What if we can’t find extra sweaters?”
Then he started to cry.
Poor kid.
I assured him that I knew where all the extra sweaters are in the house, and that seemed to help.
I felt like Old Father William.

I have answered three questions, and that is enough/said his father, don’t give yourself airs!/ Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?/ Now be off, or I’ll kick you downstairs!

Except I would never kick Poncho down the stairs. It hurts. I have fallen down them numerous times.


PS the title quote is from a beekeeping meeting a few days ago… Ha, so true, right?
PPS I told you I’d put it in somehow, Mom.

I just saw a cool spider. random. as is this post.

So, I feel like posting, and I would post about GS camp and how hilarious Val is etcetera, but I don’t really feel up to it right now. Meh. I will say a few short things about it, though, namely that Val and I made a very funny rendition of “Oh My My My” that my mother may put up on Youtube, and also me, Val, April and Mandy did some kind of dance to this song about California and Val was the rapper dude and her breakdance was just… priceless.
Also, we were all having one of those late-night conversations where everything is really sincere and honest and philosophical, and they had some good thoughts…. Mandy said, “I don’t want to be called hot or cute. I want beautiful.” So then we talked about why beautiful has so much more meaning behind it, and how the others are really just one thing– hot is just describing your looks or your body, cute is just describing some kind of mannerism or maybe the way you do your hair. But beautiful encompasses your whole person, the way you look and act and talk and walk, your personality and just really your core being. Beautiful is just a lot more of a loaded word, one that actually means something when you’re called it.

Well, that seemed all profound at the time, but now that I write it out it seems like something they would put in a cheesy girl-power book. Blehhhh.

In other news, my tomatoes are finally turning red, now like five a day turn and my grandma picks them for me. I am about to get the last of my onions. My humongous sunflowers (they are too big to be called huge, so I had to use humongous… Ginormous would work too) have heads as big as mine which are too heavy for the stalks, so now they lean over and I feel a little sad about that, but oh well. I want to collect the seeds, or dry the heads and hang them up. That sounded creepy, about hanging up heads, but in my mind I’m thinking “oooooo pretty flower for my bedroom”, not Adderhead Fencing Co. (That was a reference only I would get… sigh. I hate that no one understands what I’m talking about. It makes me feel so alone… *overdramatic angst face*)

While on the subject of references only I would get, I have trimmed off the shoots that our tree was growing around its base. Dad thinks it is dying because it was not planted correctly/deep enough, and every time he says that I say, “it keeps ‘smoldering at the roots/and sending up new shoots'”. But anyway I cut the shoots and am hoping to weave a basket out of them, since they are quite flexible. Tomorrow I will get started on that. Also I am wondering if I can make ink from these beautiful berries currently ripening on “the mystery weed” beside our porch. My wonderful mother allowed me to let the weed grow and mature so that I could study it, and I have concluded that it is pokeweed, a plant that is mostly poisonous but certain parts can be eaten a certain way. The berries are numerous and ripen to this rich, dark purple/indigo, but when you squeeze the juice out, the juice is this luminous purple that stains your hands and I think would be some awesome ink, and really cool dye for clothes. Yeah, I pretty much feel like living like a prairie girl… In fact, Erin said this weekend: “I think out of all of us, Pen would survive the longest in Amish Country”. I would but eventually I’d miss some stuff, like showers and computers and musical instruments. I would love making things though, as you can tell.

Also I would like to learn how to make and shoot a slingshot. It is my one regret in life that I never did that as a child. (I know I’m still young but I’m not a child. And I’m not being pretentious when I say that. I read YA, I am a YA. End of debate.) And arrows. I want to make arrows. I know how to shoot them (thanks Dad), but I want to know how to make them. I am also thinking of going squirrell hunting with Dad this year… I think hunting is pretty important, so I want to try it out.

I guess I’m getting in a big learning mood because it’s nearing back-to-school… Wait. I liked that one commercial that says: “It’s not back to school. It’s forward to what’s next.” That’s how I prefer it, and the way it really is with my schooling. I always feel like I’m learning new stuff and not just reviewing lame crap. But I think that was a cell phone commercial so whatever. I do not want a cell phone. I will have to get one when I drive alone, though, so I am getting the most minimal one possible and not letting anyone call me on it since it’ll be for emergencies only. Also I am thinking of not owning a microwave when I’m older since microwave food often grosses me out. But we shall see.

I’m reading a new book called American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of the Perfect Tree about the chestnut blight. Veeery interesting. I suppose people other than me might find it boring but I am just absorbed by it. Chestnuts are my dad’s favorite trees and he’d told me about the blight before, so I was excited to find the book…  Then I must finish Lilith, too! great book (thanks, Eliza!).

I feel like I’m just going on and on. Also, I want tea.

Good night.

Yours till the dog-tooth violets bite,

PS: “It’s hard to leave the girl you love/ when your heart is full of hope/ But it’s harder still to find the towel/ when your eyes are full of soap.” I love my autograph book. It’s such an unexpected treasure.

“Don’t Oooh.”

Dinnertime Coversation:
Poncho: “Argh! I don’t want to clean up my plate!”
Dodge: “Ooooh…”
Poncho (freaking out): “Stop it! Stop it! I hate it when you oooh!”
Mom: “Calm down, Ponch…”
Poncho (freaking out more): “I HATE IT WHEN HE OOOHS!”
Mom (calmly, to Dodge): “Don’t oooh.”

Dodge and I about died laughing, the way they kept saying ooh like it was a verb, or a regular part of their vocabulary or something… You, reader, may not have laughed at all, but then I guess it was a had-to-be-there moment. Still, “don’t oooh” is now one of my favorite funny quotes.



PS I’m sick today. :(