What Is Life

Today I have been tested by way of:

(1) Letting the landlord and a worker into my bathroom only to realize that my dog had apparently gotten into the trash and strewn all its contents throughout. And so, yes, humiliated that in their minds I live in a constant state of abject squalor, I locked myself in my bedroom for the duration.

(2) Literally feeling my pulse in an eyelid vein set to twitching by the torturously simple and redundant song of what I can only assume was a mentally enfeebled bird directly outside my window.

(3) (In a return to abject squalor:) Tugging the garbage bag out only to find that said bag is decidedly NOT Hefty so when I had adequately stretched out the top and momentarily set it down to get a second bag in which to encase it, this happened.

Cartoon approximation.

Ewwwww, garbage water!

All of which threatened to lead me here:

Because I am but flesh and blood.

And this is not how you treat a Thane of Whiterun!!!!!!!!!

Let’s Me And You Make A Reunion

What is there to say right now, I mean, really. What could I say that wouldn’t simply be responding to the intentional distraction of this rotten, wormwood system we’re so afraid to burn? Nothing. And since I’m exhausted of just seeing my twitter and facebook feeds – even when I agree – I thought, what can I talk about? To what memories do I keep returning?

IMG_0545

Erm. But, you know…except in my memory my son isn’t making ridiculous faces. Which, let’s be honest, is almost never. He’s nearly 11, y’all, and I cannot.

So we’re not all facebook friends so you wouldn’t know that at the beginning of last month (WAS IT REALLY SO RECENTLY?!) I was in Portland to see my sister Jen-the-Twin and her my boys! Of whom I apparently feel squicky about publicly posting pictures! So there’s that ridiculous picture of Ez and I before or after we had an amazing easter pie from …wait for it…Paiku. A Portland food truck. That serves pies, both meat and dessert. Called Paiku. Because OF COURSE. Portland gon’ Portland, y’all.

But if you’ve clicked that link and gone to my sister’s style blog, you already know why Portland exists. For thrifting. And as someone who has drooled over Jen’s various (and numerous) finds, she did what any loving sister would do and hooked. me. up.

Yes, please, $3 jeans. Snatch that, $1.75 skirt that made me feel like a kindergarten teacher from Maui. I bought several-many skirts and they are all wonderful and I have worn them all and there are no pictures BUT.*

The dresses.

IMG_0616This is the picture I’m supposed to show you. Because aside from Josh being asleep which is completely unavoidable, look. LOOK. But let me tell you a secret.

IMG_0614This is my actual favorite. Not because it’s blurry, DADDY. (I know you’re reading this.) And not because my husband is totally hilarious. But because WILL YOU PLEASE LOOK AT THIS DRESS?! And, on the very off chance that you are not breakdancing in solidarity with me right now over this almost criminal and obscene gift (did I mention my twin is EVERYTHING?)….I can’t make you love me, if you don’t. You can’t make your heart feel…something it won’t. But there’s the door.

IMG_0619This was super expensive. I literally paid $9.99 for it – full price, y’all – but I mean. And then. Because like.

Right?

Portland. You sly little rodent, burrowing into my heart and making me consider things I shouldn’t.

And this post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the lovely Mother Murphy, who took me thrifting in her corner of Quebec last week and who just gets me.

Thrifting does the body good.

*Okay, there is something that I found that LITERALLY (nope) set the rain on fire but I refuse to mention it until I have an accompanying picture because I cataplexy-ed OUT in that thrift shop. Also I need to picture more.

Demolition (Wo)Man

I’m gonna be honest, I gave that title all of three seconds of thought. That’s a lie. It was less than that and I feel like you can tell.

So I’m in the middle of a really, excruciatingly deceptive revision right now. Like, a deep bones revision.

You know how you’re watching brain surgery (as one does) and it just looks like this person will never be the same because you’ve flipped their scalp the other way and sawed through their cranium and dug around in the brain – and then you see them afterward and you cannot see the scar? (Shout-out to the docu-series, Brain Hospital. I wanna be you when I grow up.)

Okay, that’s what I feel like but not what I feel like I’m doing. Let’s start over.

This is the book.

Oh my gosh, it’s also the house I wanna DIE in.

::ahem::

Sorry. Anyway, so that’s the book, right? It’s the world, the concept, the scene outline, the characters to some extent. And so, that – that beautiful structure up there – looks relatively the same.

But see, inside – where one keeps all the insulation and world logic and character interaction and motivations?

….

Right?

So, sometimes my brain’s all, no, what are you talking about, this is totally a low-key revision because look.

And I’m like, yeah!

What was I thinking! This is gonna be super chill. I’m so silly. I think I’m just getting all mixed up about this whole driving in the snow and feeling like every mile brings me closer to the moment I go home to be with the Lord and this whole hubby having been sick and fever dreaming, cuz I really haven’t been getting great sleep what with how he’s taken to growling and kicking off the covers so lemme just open this word doc again, I don’t even know what I got so worked up about –

::crying in the wreckage::

~

So we’re good.

It’s gonna be great.

Super excited. Mildly terrified. Glad we’re doin’ it.

Totally unrelated: isn’t it hilarious when agents/editors/cps make one apt comment and you re-envision (the execution of) the entire novel. I love it.

Next time we’ll talk about writing other projects and how it sometimes teaches you how to properly write the first one. (And we’ll use “the first” rull loosely.)

::puts on hard hat::

 

Watch. And Pray.

It’s not like there’s a lack of things to talk about. I just haven’t been sure I want to or I want to yet.

Some of that is because I have learned so much about the power of social media through having found a thriving, articulate community of people to hear and by whom I feel my identity – or aspects of it – reflected. Most people would probably never think I needed help speaking up but then I think people mistake hearing your voice ever with hearing it all. There’s plenty the world has succeeded in making me self-conscious to assert. Plenty of times I didn’t want to go through the work of replying to something unacceptable because I knew that the attention would be given to my response (with words like “here we go again”) and not to whatever caused MY “here we go again” moment – here someone goes undermining my beauty, worth, intellect, love, faith and identity as a Black woman.

And I’ve found so much – so. much. – relief in scrolling through my timeline in those times and “hearing” these people speak. Because the truth is, I have a right to not engage every time. Often, I think of Toni Morrison’s genius commentary on the work of racism:

“The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.”

Sometimes I will exercise my right to be heard, to respond, etc. Sometimes I’m not having it. Just like the woman who tweeted that a male scientist at her convention commented that her attire was not appropriate (let’s not even) – and then so many women responded by affirming that her outfit WAS appropriate. This is our socialized response, no? Not “You do not have the authority to make such a claim/approach me in the first place” but defending the outfit in question. (And I know, for myself, part of the reason for that type of response is also born out of a desire to let the other party know that I know s/he’s wrong. Hashtag: Just so you know. So it’s not like I don’t get it.)

But sometimes, as when a deserved artist wins a National Book Award for the first time, I (a) know that one of these people I admire will speak and I will read it and be able to breathe deep because someone gets it and someone spoke and that means I have the validation everyone who takes it for granted wonders why I need and I (b) am unsure how best to support the artist. Does she want another thinkpiece to come up when her name and win are googled? Does it bother her at all? (Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe they’re best friends and while she wishes he hadn’t spoken that way in mixed and streaming company, she knows his heart. Maybe he thought he was making social commentary on the ridiculousness of antiquated stereotypes – yeah, that one’s a long shot but remember when I said we’re socialized to give anyone but us the benefit of the doubt?)

Then there’s times when a new tv show comes on – particularly one with a problematic or at least confusing title – and it is everything you hoped it would be and you feel for the first time in a long time like the audience. You feel this way because instead of being about the gaze, it’s actually about things as we see and experience them. And it doesn’t have to be perfect just because it’s one of few, and did I mention it’s that pressure to be the perfect representation for a varied and diverse people group that demonstrates the problem with white-washed broadcasting.

Then sometimes kids give interviews and ho-my-word, I don’t even think I can do this one. Because they’re kids. And despite the fact that they are basically the embodiment of what I can only assume would have been one of Dr. Marvin Monroe’s social experiments (what happens when you are tragically wealthy, do not engage in agencies of socialization such as corporate schooling, are “trusted” by your parents enough to make and immortalize your own life choices as a pre-teen who will have one of two options going forward: a really painful period of realization during which you are haunted by your nonstop public declarations and images – or – refusal to undergo said very-public process and therefore stay the course and just…just be horrible) – it’s not fair to anyone to have such an exhaustive record of these years.

Or what about when part one of a two part adaptation of a third book comes out and people are so upset over that concept – which apparently and seemingly has been done unnecessarily before but this isn’t that time and it isn’t those books and it was so good and I’m not sorry that we might actually lose friendships over this discussion because you will NOT badmouth MOCKINGJAY PART 1.

Ahem.

I Might Need Security

I know Montreal loves to bring the drama, but today on Decarie, it was a little much. It was the old guys’ turn, and they showed up in great form, ready to prove that you don’t have to be young and foolish to be foolish and just extra.

I mean, honestly, guy walking toward me who’s making super creeptastic uninterrupted eye contact while I look everywhere but directly into your gaze. When you wait until I’m a few steps away and raise your hand and slap it repeatedly – which I guess is supposed to energize me to the point of high-fiving you?! – I don’t know how fast or far to run. Because I’m a lady in a pink and white striped dress and I need you to treat me as such. Cross the street if you must, I’ll wait. Physical contact shan’t. It shall not.

Hey there, buddy who raced around me? I wasn’t gonna pick up that open bag of whatever it was sitting on that bench at the bus stop. I wasn’t gonna stick my hand in and start eating whatever it was. You win, friend. The mystery trash food is all yours. And no. He did not look like he’d fallen on hard times, nor was there any activity that would’ve made me suspect he might race up to a bag on a bench and start eating. Having done so, of course, I give him a pass. Because…a guy just ate out of an open bag on a bus stop bench on Decarie. The verdict is in.

Lastly, there was the old guy riding his bike super fast on the sidewalk. Toward me. And a family walking pretty much with me – which we won’t even question. They’re affectionate. So geezer on bike who starts aggressively swiping the air with his hand, which is apparently meant to make us get the heck out his way? Apparently, his voice did work – jury’s still out on the brakes sitchiation – because as he passed through us, face still tight in what I’d assumed was a disapproving grimace? “Have a good day, you guys!”

In a super sincere tone? After trying to mow us down with a seemingly homicidal snarl of misdirected hostility? ….k.

But don’t let any of that distract you from the bus that didn’t show or the metro that sat for 18 minutes. Because I certainly didn’t.

 

 

Go Home, The Following!

I wish instead of being able to capitalize all of the letters, I could instead make them so tiny that you could SEE MY RAGE. (Through squinting.)

Are we still doing this, The Following?! Early morning call after late night prison break?!

“We need you back.”

“But I’m not an agent anymore. I’m drinking myself to sleep every night to escape the nightmares associated with everything I’ve seen in my celebrated career that ended badly!”

“I know things didn’t end well with the Bureau,” said every caller ever. “But you’re the only one who can PFFFFFFFFFFFFT!

STOP. STOP IT. No more! Oh and you were seriously injured in the line of duty, too? HAVE YOU NO DECENCY?!

::ahem:: Pardon me. I’ve lost my head. Where are my manners. ::shuffles papers::

I’m sorry. I’m upset the way one can only be when one has hoped. And I did, friends. I truly tuned in hoping – nay, DESIRING – to be *destroyed* by this show. You heard me right. That’s what I was signing up for. I didn’t realize it would be death by cliche, with moments – snatches of milliseconds, rather – of possibility.

….we’ve gotta stop meeting this way! This blog is quickly devolving into that place where I just yell at people who are innocently continuing their daily lives with no consideration of my irrational anger, and rightly so.

Okay, quick, here’s something I like!

Wait. That probably…didn’t make me seem any less craycray. Hmm.

Tis The Season

First, let me just say: I know. I only review things that are so good I’m too gobsmacked to even properly present them or that are so bad that it’s just me with a cat of nine tails, lashing away until – one can only hope – I’ve killed it. ::Draws now-muscular arm back for one last whoopin':: “Is it…is it dead?”

So guess what kind of review this is gonna be? Here’s a hint.

Sidebar: This couple is awesome.

When I first heard this song about a week ago, I almost lost my ish. For real. O_O The gift God wrapped for ME was growing up on the west coast and having *never* heard this atrocity. Because, seriously, Brenda White? That was enough to make me go on a holiday-fueled killing spree.

DID YOU GUYS KNOW THAT CHRISTMAS IN THE NORTHWEST IS APPARENTLY A CHILD’S ANSWERED PRAYER?! No, neither did I! And that if you take away the presents, it’s STILL a dream. WHY, you ask? Oh, because it RAINS.

Yeah.

I’m done.

In Which I Labor

I know what you’re doing, by the way. This game you’re playing where you pretend I haven’t been ridiculously lazy about blogging – not the content, mind you, because let’s be real, candy woulda been involved one way or the other – and pretending to be entertained so I feel like a giant loser and have to commit to doing actual work here? You win this round.

First things first: My seven year old – who just turned seven, don’tcha know – is making up the guest list for his next birthday party. (Apparently, taking a trip every summer to celebrate the month of Morrow is lost on him and he’s wondering why he can’t have a crappy, four hour party like all the other cool kids.) Needless to say, he’s listed about a dozen people thus far – people I’m sure would love to celebrate him, btw – and nobody’s under the age of 21. Yet. Thankfully, there’s about four kids I know he likes. :)

Not good enough.

I wanna point out that today’s Labor Day (even in Montreal) and I’m blogging. Please double the amount of points I already deserve for awesomeness.

When there is an issue with my laptop that affects the way in which I interact with it, I realize how attached we are. The laptop and I. My son decided to bring his foot down on the left side of my computer and the audio promptly stopped working. I had to replace some drivers (some of which had no effect), it doesn’t hibernate like it’s supposed to, and until I disabled some start-up applications, it wouldn’t even let me move the mouse once the OS was open. So. Basically, I’m now able to do everything but listen to music and watch my stories – which is like having a child break your television, since I watch my shows online. And also, did I mention I can’t listen to music? Because I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned how much music means to me. And also, that I listen to music when I write. And prepare to write. And develop a storyline prior to writing it.

(My son has offered – since music is so important to me – to make up songs. O_O)

EDIT: Sorry, I failed to mention that my USBs no longer work, either. And that I feel like an amputee.

How I Almost Met My Father (In Heaven)

If you are ever going to rent a u-haul, don’t take the metro all the way there before realizing your license is expired and then have to take the metro back and send your spouse on the same trek to get the u-haul you reserved for almost two hours ago. (Josh.)

If you ever have to go rent the truck you had no intention of driving because you’re the only one legally allowed to drive it, don’t try to get out of the way of the guy behind you and end up parking in the snow bank you now have to be dust-pan-shoveled out of. (Bethany.)

If you’re six, don’t direct your mother while she drives against her will. (Ezra.)

And now, a lighter note!

 

 

 

 

I’m A Hero, Too, James Franco

I’m not as ornery as I was last week, but there’s still a couple things that make me roll my eyes hard.

You all know how much I love Yahoo! headlines. I just saw one that was suggesting ways to satisfy a bacon craving.

I have a few suggestions myself. No, wait. One. I have one suggestion. Eat bacon. Pick up a piece of bacon – and here’s where you get to be creative because you can actually use your thumb and forefinger, you can unnecessarily use a fork, if you’ve got chopsticks around you can totally make this more complicated than is necessary and break out those bad boys; now eat it. By which I mean, put it in your mouth, using your teeth to break off a small or medium or – depending on just how much you crave that bacon – half a pig and then use your teeth – the ones you used to bite – to break that piece up further until it is significantly deconstructed. At that point, you’re halfway home because these smaller, unrecognizable bits of carnage are now small enough to be easily digested and your internal organs will take care of that. That’s the beauty of eating. You only have to think as far as your throat and then the magical invisible parts take over. Bam. Bacon craving satisfied. Now, if the point of the article – and I get increasingly agitated when I think of the fact that the headline means there is an actual article written on the subject – is that you are craving bacon despite some religious or moral obligation to abstain from bacon. Well. You’re on your own there. But you probably shouldn’t tempt yourself by reading articles about bacon consumption.

Secondly. And again, this is moreso how I felt last week. There’s this new movie with James Franco about the story of Aron Ralston. Well. Mostly the whole cutting off his own hand/arm thing. And a few days ago, I was really annoyed because – in my irrational state – I felt quite put-out that my own will to live was being undermined by that fact that some guy hacked off his own limb. I mean. In my estimation, my will to live is greater than his. Because I would not hack off my own limb. Self-preservation – in my mind – is all about sparing your body harm. Because you want to, you know. Preserve it.

So I was going to generally project my upset-ness at this story of glorified self-mutilation. Only referring to James Franco, of course, which seemed less cruel. Aaaand then, in trying to find the trailer I saw, I came across this.

And. Nevermind. *single tear*