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.

Here comes the feeling you thought you’d forgotten

It’s summer? I feel like one day I woke up and all the leaves were popped out and the sun was shining and my brain just made the adjustment like, “Okay, so that happened.” And now it’s so freakishly normal to resume my favorite lifestyle– the one where I never wear shoes anywhere, only carry them around to places in a half-attempt at being civilized. This summer is weird, though, because I have already been to the beach approximately five times. Despite living here all my life, I’ve rarely been to the beach at all because my dad hates germs and the city.

But now already I’ve gone on a few trips to Edgewater with Oliver to sit on rocks, eat ice cream, and watch sailboats, all as the sun sinks into the lake and we discuss such idyllic topics as trial-by-combat. Also we had a picnic there, which involved a box of wings which we devoured like mad hyenas. And Huntington twice, where we climbed a shale cliff, walked all over, climbed onto a broken chimney that was sunk in the water, waded in a creek, found a ton of beach glass, sort of got a tan, and played volleyball. (I actually hit the ball a few times. Such sporting, wow.) Also while we were there the dogwood trees were shedding their cotton like snow and it was glorious.

The nature on that beach restored me somehow. I think it’s not just the way everything looks, though there is so much there that’s lovely and interesting. But it’s the fact that I could touch everything, all the rocks, the water,the sand, the grass, feel the breeze and the sun, for hours and hours, all day long. I felt like I absorbed everything through my skin. Maybe it’s not the salt water that heals you. Maybe it’s just the beach.

And amazing books. I just read one such book called Annihilation, and then I told the entire plot to Oliver on a car ride, and then to Bug, except Bug got excessive hand motions and me shouting, “NNNOPE! NOPE!” to explain major points. When Eliza got back from work and I was still at their house, Bug mentioned that I had been telling her about a book… Eliza asked, “Oh, what is it?”
Me: *flails and falls to the ground* “AAAAUUUGGGGGHHHHHH”
Eliza: “OK, I don’t actually need to know.”

So, actually a lot more than just beach-combing and book-reading has been going on, but I don’t even know what else to say specifically. Except for one thing that was specifically not mentioned, which is: I got a car today. (!) (?) (!!!!)

It is a Pontiac Grand Am as white as porcelain. It has woofer speakers that make people give me a sideways stare at stop lights. It is almost as old as Poncho. It has shiny chrome wheels and it doesn’t smell like something died inside of it (Yay, bonus). But that’s all I can say about it for now. I’ve only had it for a day, and besides that I am tired of talking cars for the time being. It is exciting, though. And I never thought I’d actually be excited about getting a car.

Car

Oh yeah, that reminds me– I have developed a serious love for gifs. Among other things… It’s like I just discovered the internet. It used to be just a few websites to me, and now it’s a whole big thing and greatly amusing.

Anyway, I guess that’s all for now. But I’m sure there will be no shortage of new adventures to tell in the near future.

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

I have seen the sea…

I.
am.
at.
the.
beach.

And I can hardly believe it. I have never seen the sea until now, now when for the past two days I have stood neck-deep in the Atlantic ocean! And I get to be here for a whole week!

So far, the trip has consisted of…

As I said, standing in the Atlantic ocean. The first moment we got to the beach, I ran with Eliza down to the water and got right in. I was actually kind of impressed by my own bravery, because, you know, big scary water. But I just bobbed happily along for some minutes. Then a big wave came up and pushed me under and I tumbled around and came back up spitting saltwater. I also got dragged along the shore by a wave. Basically, Day One was a lot of me inadvertently drinking five gallons of the Atlantic. But yesterday I had it all figured out and we were diving through and riding on top of waves and that was fun.

Also I am not yet tan.
Dun dun dun.

We have been going back to the beach in the evening to watch the sun go down behind the town and the moon come up over the ocean. Last night, the moon was completely full. Huge and bright. The tide came in really strong– one minute I was standing up on the shore, the next minute I was up to my knees in a wave.  Then we saw a group of dolphins out at sea, and I was like Dolphins! Dolphins! Which surprised me because in normal circumstances I am about as excited by dolphins as I am by beans for dinner. (Oh, not this again. Everyone loooooves them except me.) But these were real! A couple of arched backs appearing and disappearing. Then we watched the stars come out.

Plus, I do indeed feel like an impressionist subject during our evenings at the beach.

I think at the beach in the evening is the most calm I have ever felt in my life. Hardly any other people, everything is beautiful, and the waves sloshing in.

Ahh.

Also eating ice cream, sleeping in, watching the Lord of the Rings movies, and being with the DHFs.
Also we are in Delaware, so it feels like home (except for the ocean part). (And the seagulls are cuter here.)
Also we saw ships last night, the lights of ships slowly drifting…

In summary:
They will have to pry me out of here. 

Except…
I REALLY MISS PONCHO!

So I’ll come home willingly after all. Because Poncho said he misses me and that when I walk in the door I should prepare to be “mauled”, and also that he has invented a new game called Zombie Assault, which I am sure involves him growling “braaaaaainnnssss” and me pretending to shoot him.

Till the sea gulls,
Pen

helter-skelter in a summer swelter

It’s the hottest summer since I’ve been alive (true fact, my friends). So hot I’ve wished desperately for air conditioning. (Gasp!) We spent a whole day at the library, at the DHFs’ house, at Grandma Vegas’ house, and in front of fans. The only time it’s been semi bearable has been the past few days in the morning and evening. Around 2pm the heat is too much but then outside it cools down around 6:30. I’ve been out weeding, staking tomatoes, and trying to tame the wild bean vines that the catalogue said would “not require trellising”. That was a total big fat lie, because they did need trellising, and even the trellis wasn’t enough; they spilled over and got tangled around eggplants and our neighbors’ rose bushes. The cukes refused to climb the trellis despite my best efforts (it may have been due to the fact that it’s a very crappy trellis, for squash anyways) and are crawling steadily out from their section into the rest of the garden. Oh well. At least I see a lot of bees, and TONS of spiders.

Which reminds me…

While at a baseball game last week, we were sitting in the nosebleeds under the awning (but it was raining so HA HA LOSAHS WITH CLOSER SEATS!) and in the middle of the fifth inning, a gigantic spider fell out of nowhere onto my lap. I cupped it in my hands, but it crawled out and up my arm where it perched for a while, and then it climbed over my shoulder and disappeared. It was like a bigger version of the little pale spiders that are always in our house.

Anyway… Now Dad is looking for the remote, talking to himself…
“Let’s see under here…  Augh! Eww! Ew– Hey, money.”
Now he’s found it, and he’s dancing around with it, talking in an annoying girly voice…
“oooh, wah, wah, I can’t find the remote, I looked everywhere, oooo–” (normal voice) “You were sitting on it!”

I think the heat may be getting to him.

Well, to take my mind off the heat, I’ve been making a winter hat (well, it’s a fall and spring hat, too– and very cute and almost done, I might add!). Also reading informational books and watching a lot of movies… Sadly, almost all the movies I’ve watched lately, I’ve sort of hated the end. Mom and I have been having a Tom-Hanks-movie-not-marathon, which means we borrowed every Tom Hanks movie from the library (that was kind of awkward checking out… The librarian looked at me weird, and I just shrugged, like, it’s my mom’s obsession, I just go along with it) and have been watching them whenever we can. We watched The Terminal, which was allegedly a romantic comedy but they could have taken the girl out of the movie, she was pretty irrelevant to the plot. Then we watched… oh drat, what was it? Well, I can’t remember. We watched You’ve Got Mail, which was my favorite, but I thought the ending was cheesy and dumb and she should have just fallen in love with the guy even though he was the same guy anyway, but it was kind of a huge rip-off in terms of character development and storyline. I mean it was a happy ending, but not as good as it could have been if they did it my way. Obviously, I should write movies too now. (That was sarcasm– I would fail horribly at script writing.)   

Plus I’ve been getting ready for the county fair (woot? maybe?), practicing dance and flute, and working on Within a Dream (Dodge is my peer review/guinea pig, and extremely helpful– he even gave me an idea for the next chapter! Which I want to finish before Saturday…), my life really does seem helter-skelter. And I don’t much like it. I think this has been my least favorite summer so far, despite its fun moments. There were even a few weeks where I stopped composting because life was seriously that depressing (and I might have passed out from heat stroke on my way to the backyard).

Dear God: Can we, like, skip August, and have two Octobers instead? Thanks.

Love,
Pen

as the city clears and sun ascends

Yesterday evening we had a huge storm. Dad, Dodge, and I were watching the weather people on TV get really worked up over it. “Funnel cloud spotted! Tornado warning!”

Poncho came running into the living room. “WROOOP! WROOOP! EVACUATION!”
Me: “What?”
Poncho: “Mom says evacuate to the basement! WROOOP!! WROOOP!!”
Dad: (in a squeaky voice) “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”
Me: “Uh, maybe we should, just in case.”
Dad: “Look, I see it on TV! It’s not coming.”

Except it sort of was moving northeast, toward us
So, I grabbed my jump drive, my copy of Jane Eyre, and a few other miscellanious objects and set off for the basement. Dodge sent the dogs downstairs just in case, though he stayed upstairs with Dad. Poncho and I ran up and down the stairs intermittently, trying to find out if the storm was coming closer to us.
Me: “Hey Dad, if the storm is going to hit us, you’ll let me know, right?”
Dad: “Nah, I think I’ll just stay here and watch it.”
Dodge: “Wouldn’t it be great if it swept our house away?”
Me: “If we were in the basement, yeah… Dundundundanana! Dundundundanana! What a quick solution to our problems!”
Dad: “Hey, will you go upstairs and grab my phone off the bedside table?”
Me: “Um… I guess…”
Dodge: “Nice, Dad. Send her into danger.” (Although he did not volunteer to take my place… Chivalry is dead. )

The storm ended up just below us, and the radar showed the eye of the storm in purple hovering right atop Parma. The worst we got was some serious rain for maybe 15 minutes, and then everything was calm again. Well, everything except the newspeople. They were still wigging out on TV as the very colorful blob of the storm moved east, leaving our area drenched but safe.

I called the DHF shortly after, to make sure they were all right. Which they were, happily. :)

So that was the excitement… It feels like summer now! Hot, muggy, stormy. Yup.

Yours till the funnel clouds,
Pen

And Vanish’d Summer Glory

School begins on Monday.

I would leave it at that but I think a title ought not to be longer than the post itself.
Brain-wise, I am ready for school, looking forward to learning new things and having an excuse to go to the zoo and stare in at the bats for an hour without moving. [We went to the zoo today again with Grandma and Grandpa Vegas, and it’s really another story, but anyway there was this terrible woman who came up to look at the bats as I was leaving them, and she was all, “Eww! They’re so big! They’re so gross! EWWWW!” And I was rather offended. People are so… grr. Speaking of Grr the lion was growling, which it never does, so we ran over but then it got all quiet, and Grandpa goes, “See, he saw me come over here and he shut his mouth ‘cuz he knows I can kick his @#%.”] I’m ready for working in notebooks and using highlighters and writing essays. I’m even ready to study up on math. (JUST KIDDING!! I know you nearly had a heart attack there.) But physically all my stuff is disorganized; my room is a wreck, my school basket has a pile of random crap next to it that I must clear away; I do not have my writing area set up yet. I do need a permanent writing area. And a designated writing time. Otherwise this book will never be done! And I’ll be a cat lady! A cat lady who works in a cubicle! And I can’t handle cubicles, do you hear me!!!

Anyway.

The good thing about homeschool is I will still be able to enjoy the beautiful days we are having… perfect weather….. ahhhhh.

And when summer does fade, well, as the poem says, “Thou shalt not heed the raving blast.”
Lewis Carroll always makes me feel better. Even in math! Cause Dodgson was a mathematician and all. Yaddayadda. I have a lot more to say, as always, but you know, I am being summoned to unwelcome bed and all that.

Haha.
Poetry-reference puns. that only I get. It makes me quite a melancholy maiden… There! See! I did it again! Quick, I must abscond lest I continue… I have been waiting to use abscond for such a long time…

[Speaking of big words. I have a watch that you wear on a necklace that I just got from an antique shop in Lakewood (Oooooh, hoity-toity land, not) and today I called it a timepiece, because that sounds better than “necklace watch thingy”. Mom found it amusing anyway.]

Yours till the bean poles,
Pen