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Entries in marriage (12)


Hunger Games and Happy Marriages

Last night, we watched Hunger Games on Blu-Ray.

We could have watched it in the theater when it came out, but we sat on the couch last night and watched instead. Sometimes, when we can't get a sitter, we complain about how far we've come since that day about ten years ago when we walked into a movie theater on a Thursday night and discovered we'd seen every movie that was out.

I think the last movie we saw in a theater was Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer. Which was dope.That's my new phrase. I'm brining back "dope", "phat" and "boss." Wait. People still say "boss", don't they? It's not surprising because "boss' is pretty, well, boss.

Here are some excerpts from our dual commentary.


Me: OhmyGOODNESS, you should definitely grow a flamey beard.

Him: I was thinking the same thing. He looks smooth.

Me: Ew.



Me: Did he just snap that boy's neck with his bare hands? Okay, he's just a douche.

Him: They say that once you kill one person, then you know…::creepy eyebrow raise::"



Me: Of course she's going to go, he needs medicine, she HAS to go, why is he telling her not to go, he's being stupid.

Him: Are we still talking about the movie?

Me: Yes. Maybe. Okay. No.


Me: Bad guy mistake number one…

Him: Never tell the good guys how you're going to kill them.


Me: Oh, look that's like when we had to rub Flexall on each other's knees that one time.

Tariq: Don't ever say that again.


Him: Hey, where did HE come from? My money is on him -- the Black guy is going to win.

Me:I think that might be racist.

Him: It's not racist if I think he's going to win.

Me: I also think you haven't seen enough movies with endearing Black men.


Here's a little revelation: I don't like going to the movies with my husband because I love talking to him more than anything. He thinks I don't talk to him enough, but I don't think he realizes that I'm not much for small talk and all the big talk can get tiring. There's only so many times you can contemplate the mysteries of the universe in the context of humankind's existential dilemma.

The "how was your day" conversation isn't my forte though it seems to come easily to a lot of people,. 

The reason I love talking to my husband during movies or otherwise isn't because he's smart, which he is. Or clever, which he can be. Or even interesting, which he is 99% of the time (economic policy is not interesting, honey. Sorry, it just isn't.) It's not that he gets me mostly.

It's that he makes me laugh. Not just any laugh, when I'm with him I laugh with my whole heart.  It's not easy on a marriage -- having little children.

We argue. We get passive aggressive or, better yet, aggressive aggressive. But in those moments when we're both laughing so hard that the tears are coming out, I know it's fine. I know we're meant for each other.

Because we laugh.

And seem to have a penchant for mediocre one liners. 


Is there a quality in someone you love that feels redemptive for you and them? What is it? And why? 

You may open your blue books… now.


Happy Birthday to You... And Just You.

"I can't believe I'm never going to be two again!" he says. 

It's said with an angst reserved only for middle aged existentialists who've come upon the realization that life is fleeting and we're all going to, gulp, die. But this boy is only three today, and this is why friends of mine refer to him as "the evil genius."With the girl, it's all sensitive, morose observations sprinkled with feathery head bands and ruffled skirts.

The boy, though, he's all passion, intensity and drama. This is great, except the combination of intellect and uncontrolled passion often results in island lairs guarded by sharks with laser beams attached to their heads. I know intimately the drawbacks of this situation. For example, the real estate market for unloading an evil lair is incredibly bad this year. I blame the peace loving nonsense propaganda disseminated by seemingly benign entities like the Olympics or the people who post cute kitten videos on YouTube.

Evil just isn't as sexy as it used to be.

I have this habit of calling my kids "baby." It was a cute habit, but now it's a bad one, I think. Because they're not babies. You shouldn't call people who are not babies that unless they're Jennifer Grey or you're advertising Virginia Slims.

It's Tariq's birthday, too. Unlike the passionate reaction of his son, Tariq stands quietly in the background also absorbing the fact that his son is no longer two years old and never will be again.

His face reveals more than that, though. Maybe he's realizing that he, too, will never again be the age he was yesterday. Does this happen to everyone? I find that I tend to focus on the complex so much that the simple things like "you'll never cross the same river twice" escape me. Or rather I just forget about them until I'm suddenly jolted back into the reality of the simple.

There's a  symbolism of this shared birthday between my son and my husband.

All of his life, August 12th was Tariq's birthday. Today, he is a neatly wrapped, understated, high quality laptop backpack sitting quietly in the corner observing wildly arranged boxes containing Lincoln Logs, Hot Wheels, Tinker Toys and Lightning McQueen inspired merchandise. He, being the lovely man he is, has graciously deferred to this changing of the tide.

Like we all tend to do when it comes to the children. 

Whether in blogging or literature, there's much emphasis on the relegation of a mother's needs and the shifting of emphasis on the children't wants, needs and desires. I seldom consider the adjustments that the fathers in our lives have to make. Great dads give up just as much as great moms. We shouldn't forget that. I shouldn't forget that.

I want to grab my husband and tell him that he is still so important. That without him, there would be none of this. I want to remind him that I promise that in honoring the boy, I am also honoring him. My dear friend and husband doesn't require this, of course, but that doesn't mean it doesn't need to be said.

I love these kids, Tariq, but nothing will ever change the fact that you were loved first. 

Today, on your birthday, I want you to remember that while you sit gracefully in the background and let your boy have the fun, that I see you

I appreciate you. 

I am so very glad that you were born. You are the best thing that ever happened to me.

I have had the honor of watching you celebrate the past sixteen birthdays  of your life and, though I'm stunned that it's even possible -- you become a better man every single year.

August 12th is my son's birthday.

But it was my husband's birthday first.

I want him to remember that I know that and I still honor that.


My Surfing Will Go On and On...

Whenever I'm at my laptop and Tariq heads to bed, he looks at me very seriously, "Now, promise me you'll go to bed soon."  It reminds me of the scene in Titanic where Leo says, "You're gonna go on, Rose, and you're going to die an old lady, happy and warm in her bed, but not like this... not this night, not here.. do you understand me?"
And, then, I go all Kate on him and am like, "It's not up to you to save me, Jack...  leave me alone." I know those lines aren't in the same scene, but they should be. 
Unrelated: I didn't even have to Google those lines. Have a good weekend.


And, hey, have you liked my Facebook page? You should do that!

Photo Credit


Apple Trees Don't Explain Broken Hearts.

In every mind, narratives explain life's little events.  Some always have heroes, villains and magical somethings.  The faces change, but the plots are played out the same way each time.

What are the stories we tell ourselves that explain our lives?  Are we casting new actors in the same roles?  Or are we seeing every experience as a blockbuster opening night with a carefully guarded surprise plot twist?

It's not that there's a right way to process life's victories and disappointments. I personally don't like telling myself the same story over and over, though. Unlike when I was a kid.

This was that era when parents didn't hover over you every second of the day and you could watch whatever you wanted as long as nobody was getting naked. One extraordinarily unbearable Florida summer, my brother and I watched Bill Murray and company battle the undead every single day in Ghostbusters. Watching the same people do the same thing in the same way every single time holds a special and necessary function.  The not knowing collapses under the sweet, weighty relief of knowing.

You don't even have to be there. It's going to happen the same way. Every time. You feel... control. My dad passes through the room one of those summer afternoons as Bill Murray holds up playing cards faced towards him and pretends the busty blond across the table is guessing all of them correctly.

How many times you gonna to watch this movie?  Something different is gonna happen this time? This is followed, of course, by a diatribe instructing us to go outside because this is compulsory for all parents of this time period because I think that movie about Adam Walsh hasn't been made yet and my mom won't start volunteering at the local rape crisis center for at least another two years. It's a simpler time.

Take a look at this:

Aside from the fact that the statically gendered aspect of this little graphic irritates me, I'm also affronted somewhat by how oppositional it is to the way I see everything. I don't tell myself the same stories repeatedly.

Correction: I stop myself from telling myself the same stories repeatedly .


Because boys can be like apples on trees, too, and girls can be too scared (or lazy) to climb all the way to the top to get "good" apples. What if being brave or being scared isn't even the issue? What if a broken heart doesn't have anything at all to do with an apple tree, and is, in fact, due to the fact that a climber simply prefers oranges?! There is also a distinct possibility that one of those apples on the floor is a good apple!! And for the love of God and all things holy, you're just going to sit on top of that tree and wait for someone to pick you?!!!

It reminds me of that Ghostbusters Summer.

How many times you gonna tell yourself this story?

Something different gonna happen this time?

You start telling yourself that same story and you don't even really have to be there for it to happen.

Maybe you'd be better off just going outside to play.

Image Credit


The Dr. King & I: Intentions and Realities. # HappyMLKDay

MLK Day History: You cannot know where you are going unless you know where you have been.

I woke with the intention of making today meaningful.

When we first decided to move to Memphis, the first thought that came to me was "That's where they shot Dr. King." Yes, I called him Dr. King because in my family, you always put Dr. in front of someone's name if they're a doctor. And, yes, I thought the words exactly like that ... "they shot him." Like an army of people fired shots at the Lorraine. Aside from proving that I'm careless when I'm thinking to myself, this is illustrative of how many view race, if not life itself.

The National Civil Rights Museum rests quietly beneath a vintage green sign with red letters proclaiming the words "Lorraine Motel" on it.   It happens to be two trolley stops away from our apartment. To give you an idea of how much I wanted today to mean something, Tariq commuted 45 minutes to join us for our very own Family Civil Rights Remembrance Lunch today.

Because this is Memphis.

This is where Dr. King died, you know.

In the morning, I explained slavery to my daughter.

She was horrified, as she should be.

Then I explained segregation.

That seemed to confuse her, as it should.

I repeated the "content of his character" line like you do when you're trying to be inspirational about race. I explained non-violent resistance. I'm not sure what stuck, but it felt significant at the time.

We stepped off the trolley towards the museum, and there were so many people. I realized going into the actual museum was a bust.  I've been there once already, so that wasn't too big of a deal. There was music playing, food cooking, laughter... people, there were funnel cakes!

National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis Memphians come out to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday

Funnel cakes!

At the place where "they" shot Dr. King!

This was not a place for martyrs.

This was a party. The smell of funnel cakes summarily decimated my romantic notions surrounding today and drove home an obvious reality.

Today is the birthday celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Of course, there are funnel cakes.

I know the readership of this blog enough to know that most of the people reading right now are not exactly like me.  I write for people who want to learn about difference or diversity, so it follows that most people reading here are not "like me".  The funny thing about being "brown like me" is that you're not "black" or "white".

Bask in the brilliance of that little gem.

When you're "brown" (I'm totally doing air quotes), you don't carry a lot of American baggage.  Hold your envy, my friends, I have baggage of a different type. Slavery, separate water fountains, back of the bus and such, though?  Not so much. I own this history, but I do not live it the way someone who is "black" or "white" would.  (Again, with the air quotes).

From my position, I see shame, guilt, anger, finger pointing and even justification when it comes to these topics. Some decry this nation's racial past as shameful , others justify it as natural, many are somewhere in between. Some rant about how nothing has changed and others talk of how there's nothing left to do. Some people get angry if race is brought up at all while still others seem to make everything about race.

What I seldom see is what I saw today: celebrating.

I was not here when you were here, but I know we have come a long way. Today, my brown kid sat in a sub shop just around the corner from the Lorraine with black kids and white kids and all the kids ate the same food and nobody told them they couldn't sit wherever they wanted, and God love 'em every one, they all drank from the same soda fountain. As we walked home, we passed the site of the first schoolhouse for "colored" children and I had no idea how to even begin defining "colored" to my daughter.

That is something.

We can remember and we can be vigilant and we can be happy.  These things aren't mutually exclusive.

I woke with the intent to make today mean something by going to the place where Dr. King died.  I intended to honor his memory and legacy.  I realize now that it's not how or why he died that should be the focus, but what he did while he was alive that is most significant.

We live his dream.

Today, I woke with the intent of making this day meaningful.

So, it was.