You Take The Good, You Take The Bad

This is the true story (TRUE STORY!) of eleven strangers picked to be on a Tyler Perry soap opera, half of whom have clearly acted before, half of whom have presumably damaged their frontal lobes in the recent past. And dear hammer of Thor, I can’t even keep this up because what was THAT. Like, for real. It’s not like I’m saying soap operas are quality or anything but tritest of the trite Savannah south storylines? For true? I mean, honey drizzled corn muffins, friends! What! Was! That!

And as the somewhat lean stories were playing out, did I see an advert for a new TP *comedy* for the network as well? Should we have Oprah checked out? HALP HER! ::fanning self:: Mercy.

But that’s not what we’re here for. I have some linguistic bequeathings, I’d like to perform. Because in recently looking up untranslatable words, I was struck by how amazing many of these are! And here I thought German was my favorite language for untranslatable words! French has been holding *out* on me!

To my dear twin, Jen. I giveth: L’esprit d’escalier. Yes, the spirit of the staircase, which means: the feeling you get when you leave a conversation and think of all the things you should’ve said. RITE?!!? JNFR. This.

To the late Zora Neale Hurston, who gave us the greatest first line in the history of literature: Qarrtsiluni. From…some language, meaning: sitting together in the darkness, waiting for something to burst. I feel this is what she was getting at in that famous God-watching storm.

And to myself – YES, I am bequeathing to myself! Twice! – I give validation. Because I knew I wasn’t crazy! Iknewit! I give myself, L’appel du vide.

Wait for it.

The urge some people get to jump from high places when they encounter them, for example when close to the edge of cliffs.

THE INTERNET HAS PROVED ITS WORTH!

I can’t even. All this time, I’ve been calling it Physical Tourette syndrome – like an ANIMAL! (An animal, Neal!) Of course the answer was always in french! OF COURSE!

And because they understand the meaning of the phrase, justify my love! – my beloved leave us with one more. (FINE, I’ll share my second self-bequeathment.) As true today as when it was written. Rire dans sa barbe. To laugh in your beard, or: to laugh to oneself quietly while thinking about something that happened in the past. (Who doesn’t do this like thrice a day? Really?)

Every Breath You Take, California

I’m a complicated woman. ::ducks:: I just assume someone would punch me in the face for saying that. But seriously (not really) – I am.

Homesick means I think of California as my home, right? Except that’s not what I mean! Homeland-sick should catch on; I think that’s more what I’m saying. There’s something about arriving in the place to which you’re native. <– There. If I spoke German, I might know one glorious word to casually and precisely take the place of that sentence. And homesick would not be it.

So, lately I’ve been missing it. Specific places. Very specific. Driving with the top down from Sylvan Corners to Van Maren as it turns into Dewey. I miss the turns in the road and the sometimes canopy. Generally, I miss the trees in Sacramento. And Santa Cruz. I miss the way it smells on the bridge between Porter and Earth and Marine. Redwoods. Sigh. I don’t miss sand (a pox on thee, sand) but I do miss Natural Bridges and Sentinel Rock (right?) and I miss Pacific Avenue and sometimes I miss 41st avenue and *my* Safeway (24 hours, yo) and that my favorite Panda Express is the one on Date in Carmichael. (Yeah, I’m all over the place.) And there’s nothing entirely special about most of those places. I just know them.

So I went back the other night. Took a friend. We hopped from outside my home to just above my high school and then to Porter College and I can’t believe I forgot to take her to West Cliff Drive!

Thanks, Google Earth. My stars, what an age we live in. <–obligatory

My little big sister and I in McKinley Park. (Sacramento)

Me and the cousin-brothers in Capital Park. (Sacramento)

 

In a crag at Sentinel Rock. (Santa Cruz)

Siiigh.

It’s only been a year and a half this time so what the deal, yo? Ah well. Back to flying over Northern California. Ta!

Every Boy And Every Girl

Little ways I try to spice up my life that you may also try:

A) Using light gamer-speak in real life conversations so that it doesn’t seem like forever since I leveled my girl on Allods because wow this part is an infuriating grind and how come Josh has a ship and I don’t but also seriously, can we be done with the kill infinity of this or that beast quests?

Example: Calling out “wife-aggro” when I want my husband to come here.

Example 2: Saying I’m going “afk” when neither I nor the other party were at a keyboard to begin with. It’s good times.

B) Watching Elementary and finally getting to be a part of the whole Sherlock Holmes thing, which – no matter what interpretation I’d tried – I previously could NOT get into. I love Watson being Joan, I love their relationship, I love present-day crime-solving, I love Aidan Quinn (and I’ll never stop, just like he’ll always be a Ludlow). All the things. Such good television. Mmm. Not like The Following – whose second episode was admittedly better than the first but baby, that ain’t hard, and as I mentioned to a friend (so you’re seein’ this twice, yo) didn’t have to accost us with the liberal as duct tape use of cliches and so was immediately less eye-roll-inducing.

But what was I saying? Ah yes. I love Elementary. For serial. This from a woman who couldn’t even avoid irritation at the end of Guy Richie’s RDJ version. O_O (Yep. I hate when it goes all Encyclopedia Brown at the end. Shuddup. But also, let’s be friends, RDeej.)

C) Getting back into a season of hard-copy revising. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Nom. So fulfilling, I can’t even. Love it. Pencil, pen, paper, clipboard, love and so on. Does the body good. Ah. Now I’m just sighing and twirling my hair around my finger. Hm.

Mm.

 

This Is The Story Of A Girl

If you were born before the 90s, God bless you. I mean, that title has you singing a really annoying song. If you weren’t…here:

And now we get to ponder why that video has a picture of the wrong band in it… hmm. Sidebar (totally used incorrectly) – I seem to recall frolicking down the Santa Cruz boardwalk beach singing this really loudly. Because I was an annoying teenager once, too.

That is not *even* where this was supposed to go. Let’s start again.

This is Ana.

Ana’s real name is Anastasia and Anastasia is my sister. Anastasia has a son six weeks younger than mine, whom I sometimes call Cabbage. Cabbage is blessed to be alive. Why, you ask? Because my dear sister is a Bake-A-Baby. You know how it is. Sometimes new mothers express love through bundling the baby in an unnecessary swelter-fest of clothing. Forget that our kids were born in sunny California. And hers in beautiful September, coming off the hottest summer of our LIVES. Suffice it to say, there’s never a time in that state for this:

Really. Never.

Not only did Anastasia have the Bake-A-Baby gene – taking the bun in the oven metaphor far postpartum – she has a debilitating case of jumping to infuriated and indignant conclusions about any woman she sees, anywhere, who is wearing more clothing than the child by whom said woman is accompanied. Once again, she lives in California. But still, the offending woman who has the audacity to wear a light jacket while her child wears a t-shirt, regardless of the weather, is an awful excuse for a bag of bones. O_O That’s why yesterday was such a good day.

So I get a call from Ana yesterday evening and she is upset. I can tell she’s already preparing for my response and there’s a slight amusement in her voice but it’s outweighed by her repeated use of the words “panic attack”. So apparently, Cabbage had refused to wear his jacket into Costco and she had elected to wear hers. (Do you see where this is going?) Along comes a LOVELY old woman who is my undisputed HERO and she is not only indignant at the sight, but not silently! She approaches Ana and demands why *she* is wearing a jacket and her *beautiful* little boy is *not*! (I like to assume she slapped Ana across the face with the back of her hand.) And only because of Ana’s history of being on this woman’s side, I’m sure, did she attempt to explain that her son had been asked to bring his jacket and had not done so…but the woman did not believe her. {Break for laughter} In short, Ana. Got. Told. BAM. That woman was not HAVING IT. Horrible, senseless mother!

I’m laughing my head off over this story, of course, particularly the part where Ana goes rushing from Costco – guess Cabbage don’t get no food neither! – and hyperventilates before calling me. I ask her, “So what have we learned?” in my sweetest, most syrupy voice ever.

There’s a long pause in which I can hear the wind in the hollow of her gaping mouth. Finally, and as though she’s actually racked her brain for the answer, Ana says, “Nothing!”

Bravo, my love. Bravo.

Thank Heaven For Little Girls

I must learn to enjoy even what cannot be shared. Amazing, poignant, illuminating moments that words cannot translate. I think this must be more of a problem, not because I’m a writer, but because I’m a documenter, a historian in the loosest sense of the word. I think it’s that part of me that’s most tied to having an audience. I document for the people I love or will love, so how can I be satisfied with the inarticulate-able?

Having said all that…I shall now attempt to record an account of what transpired yesterday.

Maybe it had to do with the Indian girls named Unwanted. I don’t think so and it wasn’t on my mind, but I won’t pretend to know exactly what my mind is up to. (And not just because that would disregard 99% of the basis for psychology and sociology.) Anyway, I’d been writing in my wip and suddenly decided I wanted to know the title, which hadn’t come to me yet. I started with looking up famous quotes (and not so famous) about memory. (It’s relevant.) By the time I got distracted and turned my attention elsewhere, I had some lovely half-phrases that would make an effective title – just not mine. Anyway, eventually I was attempting to go to bed.

I just remember saying to Josh, “I almost want to call it Keepsake.”

Keepsake is the only thing I ever remember my godfather calling me. I remember walking up the aisle to greet him after attending a service at his church and he would hug me to his side and say, “Hi, Keepsake.” He died before I became an adult and no one has called me Keepsake since. Which part of me appreciates. But the other part misses it.

I guess my mind applied it to the news story after the fact because when I read it, I was heartbroken. Maybe more honestly, I was stunned and sort of incredulous. As in I don’t understand how that is possible. I can’t speak for my siblings, but I think our parents made it clear that we were individual to them. I remember in the computer room there was a poem hanging that my mom wrote after giving birth to my sister, Anastasia. My sister, Jen-the-twin, has always been Bubble to my dad. We didn’t run together, let alone feel unwanted. The disparity between a girl being literally named Unwanted and my godfather replacing my name with one that meant I was treasured is too great.

Can you imagine their socialization experience? Being called that? If we can pretend the disdain ends with the name, which the article makes clear is not the case. (Little girls die from NEGLECT?!) I never remember thinking, “When he calls me Keepsake, it means I am treasured, that I am something to be set apart.” But I never thought, “I’m not.” And I never thought it had to do with appearances, thank God. Because when in high school, I was pretty much alone with my dad and no one thought things like, “Hey, she’d probably like to go to the salon”, I might have questioned whether I still was. It made no mention of achievements, either. He just meant me.

And of course I never got to tell him that I think he is a huge part of who I am. Even though I’ve only just started thinking about it as an adult and without discrediting the household I actually grew up in, that one word seems to have made a huge and lasting impression, subconsciously or otherwise.

Now I have a title and more than that. A lot of people believe, I’m sure, that writers are constantly funneling their own lives into their work. I guess on the most molecular level I could agree – once again, I can’t know what my mind is doing all the time – but only insofar as we all agree on Locard’s Exchange Principle. (I’m gonna assume we’re all forensic technology nuts.) But this is the first time that I am using something that is a big part of me, and in a deliberate homage. And I’m really excited about it.

 

Of Love And Zara

Every day is another opportunity for a man to come home and utter the words, “I have presents for you.” And those words – those special, adoration-producing words – are outdone only by an arrangement whose intensity is maintained best through scarcity. “There was a sale at Zara.”

No wait. Wrong expression.

That’s the one.

And today was such a day in the Morrow home. A day when the scales of complacency were loosened from my eyes and the world was born anew.

A little known fact about women me? A present for me is made even better if it’s something for him that I – long ago! – mentioned I’d love to see him in. Read: there were loverly pieces for him, too. But among the booty was a splendor that I must here share. And then quickly end this post before it turns from well-intentioned gushing to homicide-inducing….for of course, YOU did not receive bags of Zara, I presume.

That’s a winter wonderland, is what that is. Pockets. LINED HOOD. Splendor. Zara.

And how can you be sure that his love for you is genuine? By these words, “There was a lot more that you’d like. We should go back tomorrow.”

Eat your heart out, Mr. Darcy.

Had Myself A Merry Little Christmas

Drink it in, it always goes down smooth.

How ya like that, Jen? I thought you might. I did. I’ll be honest. Merry. Christmas.

No, but, srsly. This second holiday season in Montreal was such a blessing, so full of amazing and love and hospitality. To leave our home country and come to a place where we knew no one only to find the most wonderful church and accompanying family and be bouncing from one warm home to another for celebrations = priceless. So many awe-inspiring services throughout the season, going so far beyond the nativity scene/greeting card. MAN. Wish I could transcribe it all, taking feverish notes it is possible. :P But instead, I’ll invite you to check out our church/Montreal family here (link).  <3

And there’s a lovely lady here whose style ALWAYS reminds me of my fashionable tiny big sister, Jen. Her name is Annick and she is a-dor-able.

Yeah, kinda want her floral dresses and those BOOTS. O_O This is me introducing her to my sisters via my blog. It is finished.

Who Needs Words

When you’ve got these!

An American [Thanksgiving] in Montreal

Velvet makes the season come alive – with freshness!

The Prince before a royal birthday party.

Aaaand you’re welcome! No hubby in that batch, poor thing. Quel dommage! He is alive and well, worry not!

Finally: a video! Yes, you’ve all seen it by now and no, I don’t get down with ALL the generalizations/rules but HAH!

Thanksgiving Indeed!

So, I’m still mentally obsessed with my sisters and how I am not with them this holiday season and I thought, what better way to share with you my adoration of them but with more clothes! HahZAH! Since this is the Thanksgiving season, I shall first share with you something I already own.

He's the boogie-woogie bugle boy of Company B!

Do excuse the thermal shirt and headgear – it’s November in Montreal and I just got in from picking up the child-god from school. But, on to the SKIRT. If I remember correctly, I thrifted this during my freshman year at UCSC and I nearly died. I then put it in my closet… hid it really…and never wore it. It was just. Too perfect. For words. Can’t even remember how much it cost but it must have been a good deal because I was a college freshman and I snatched her up like the war was ending! I have never. worn it. O_O Pleats, ladies. Copious amounts of pleats in misleading flaps that make it look like she has pockets. And back pleats! *homer drool*

I shall wear her for us all, ladies.

And now, since Christmas is just around the corner. On to things I WANT.

Yes. And on sale for $29.99, Yellow? Yes, PLEASE.

And I can’t even find a plume fascinator hat worthy of posting, not even to give you a visual. But know that it’s likely a peacock plume(s) and it’s glorious!

And, because I realize you too have desires…a present from me to you. Well. From SNL.

::DYING:: Too much goodness. Mr. Jones!

No, no, no, no way, they’re not wearing pants suits! *TEARS*

 

Clemons Family Fun!, or: Chaos Skype!

This is what it looks like to be loved.

So, my family – or a lot of it anyway – convened in my hometown in California for Thanksgiving. None of these skype screenshots captured everyone so here’s the roster.

Daddy, Mom, Mama, (little big sister) Ana, (tiny big sister) JenJen, Andy, (youngest brother) Carlton, Thanos, Zain, Mad, Ayanna, Ayanna’s mom, pregnant LaShonda. There’s three nephews and a niece in there! All six or younger, which contributed substantially to the screaming fun!

So they (read: Andy) hooked a laptop to the television and broadcast our Montreal diaspora on the big screen after rearranging the living room so we could see (most of) them. It was hours of Clemons chaos, hilarity and yelling. I mean, we would have been yelling anyway and I feel like anyone who’s family consists of more than three people wouldn’t even mention the decibel level because, hi. That’s normalcy. The difference this time was being the “outsider”, much of my yelling was to no avail. :)

As I’ll actually be going to an American Thanksgiving celebration this Thursday, it was good to do the big get-together early. Thank you, fam-bam, for making us feel special even though we’re so far away!

(I’ll post some pics taken from California when I get them.)

HOW could I forget that I took a transporter to California the other day and took a picture with my sisters!

*wink