Scarlet Letters

The not-so-private thoughts and rants of Elizabeth Donald, journalist/author and founder of the Literary Underworld.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sister Day, 2016

Somehow my sister and I managed to see each other within the last twelve months, and still didn't manage to get a picture together. I'm not sure how we keep doing this, except that both of us are usually the person behind the camera. As evidenced here, at my niece's graduation party.

The personality is definitely genetic.

Seriously, it's getting ridiculous. In 2013, we managed to see each other a record-breaking three times in one year, and still didn't get a photo together.

It's Sister Day, a little holiday Melanie and I invented when we were girls growing up in Massachusetts. I wrote about it once before, detailing how we invented a holiday that Hallmark has yet to embrace. And unfortunately, it's yet another Sister Day we don't spend together.

That would be the best part about being rich, I think. The ability to simply hop a plane and go see my loved ones would be a gift greater than any I could imagine. My husband has met my sister exactly once? Twice? She had to miss our wedding because she was busy delivering my beautiful little niece, and Jim had to miss Alexis' graduation because of work and school. I don't get out to the coast very often, thanks to a shortage of funds and days off work.

Oh, to be rich. Um, and self-employed. Then I could bop out to see my sister (and that baby niece!) more often.

Cuteness alert!

Thank goodness for technology. As much as we all like to complain about it, Facebook and my cell phone allows me to keep in touch with my sister more than I ever did before either existed. We are both crap letter-writers, and neither is much for long phone conversations. But texting - that's communication, man! Somewhere along the line my mother began a group chat with the three of us, and that is now how we let each other know what's going on.

It's like she's always with me. Almost.

Squirt, I miss you so much it hurts. There are times I'd give just about anything to be able to message you, "Margaritas, 8 pm. I'm buying." But especially today, when it's Sister Day and I don't get to spend it with my sister. We miss a lot by living so far away from each other: birthdays, holidays, kids' recitals and school plays, celebrations both big and small. It sucks.

But I am thinking about you, and I love you. Even when you make faces at me. Especially when you make faces at me. Next time we are in the same time zone, how's about we actually get a picture together?
We are totally not up to something.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Snippets - Childless Edition

Boy was visiting his grandparents for spring break last week. Thus, we were left to our own devices and had no idea how much milk to buy.

For the purposes of this Snippet, you should understand that Jim can text me from his iPad. And that texting is our primary form of marital communication, given our divergent schedules.

JIM: Hon! Run Find My iPhone! Someone stole my phone out of class!
ME: *scrambles to FMiP, runs locator, cannot find because phone is off, locks phone and sets locator sound*
JIM: Never mind, found it. Everything is okay.
ME: Oops. I just locked it.
JIM: Unlock it when you can, love.
ME: I can't until it's online. Turn it back on, goofball.
JIM: Sorry. It slipped down into my bag.
ME: *disdainful smilie* Is it working?
JIM: Just called you. Can you call back?
ME: Give me a second, sparky. I was in the middle of something.


ME: Okay, what can we learn from this experience?
JIM: I'm sorry.
ME: First, keep your damn phone on. You can set it to silent during class without actually turning it off, and then we can track where it is. All you have to do is exercise the self-control not to look at it during class.
JIM: Yes dear.
ME: Second, before pressing the panic button, maybe check your freaking bag?
JIM: Yes dear.


ME: *angryface*
JIM: What??
ME: I can't say.
ME: Stupid TV show is stupid.
JIM: Oh, ok.
ME: No, not you.
JIM: Good.
ME: I'd actually say if I was mad at you.
JIM: Was scared.
ME: Why would you be scared? I'm harmless.
JIM: Bullshit.
ME: Catch up on our shows so I can complain to you.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Filmucation: Da Godfaddah

The Filmucation of Boy continued tonight with the conclusion of The Godfather Part II. It had been so long since we started the saga (Christmas!) that we had to go back and start over. Fortunately we didn't have to rewatch The Godfather, since he remembered most of that. I did have to pause to explain the entire history of Cuba and the Mafia investigations of the 1960s.

Now, of course, he keeps calling me madre. I started to call him paisan, but then we remembered that means "brother." Thanks to Google Translate, I can now pop back with mio figlio. I am one-quarter Sicilian, and Boy was disappointed to do the math and realize he is only one-eighth Sicilian. (That we know of; while I'm pretty sure of my ethnic mix, Boy's father was adopted and his only paternal grandparent-by-blood that we know of was also adopted, so that side of his bloodline is pretty much a big question mark.)

And now.... snippets! With spoilers, but seriously - you haven't seen these movies yet? What the hell are you waiting for?

Every time Fredo pops up on the screen....

BOY: Fredo, you broke my haaart!

As the little Corleones appear...

BOY: What is the little girl's name? They never say her name!
ME: It's.... wait a second. I'm blanking.
BOY: The boy is Anthony.
ME: Anthony Vito Corleone, they showed it during the First Communion scene. And the girl is...
BOY: The girl never talks.
ME: They're Sicilian. Girls don't matter.
BOY: What is with that? They're all, "Boys! Boys! Boys!" "Was it a boy?"
ME: Grr. Argh.
KAY: "Come here, Mary."
ME: Mary! Her name is Mary.
BOY: Finally.

As Connie is expounding on her anger toward Michael...

BOY: Because Carlo was so worth it.
ME: He was such a louse.
BOY: Connie. You can do better.

Senator insults Michael, stomps out of meeting.

BOY: You are so gonna end up with a horse's head in your bed.
ME: *sporfle*

Michael is accompanied to Cuba by a mysterious older man in black.

BOY: Who is you?
ME: I think he's a body man.
BOY: He's too old to be a bodyguard.
ME: No, a body man. You know, general assistant, handles random killings.
BOY: Still too old.
ME: I dunno. He looks pretty scary to me.

Body man attempts a murder, is interrupted.

BOY: Oh crap. Seriously? You had one job!

Vito Corleone commits a murder, disposes of handgun.

BOY: Oh, smart. Look, each piece is going down a different pipe.
ME: Smokestacks. They'll never find them all.
BOY: I gotta give him props. Smaaaaaart.

Big fight scene with Kay... BOY: Al Pacino is killing me with his eyes.
ME: He does that.

Flashback time!

BOY: Man. Robert de Niro really got it down like Marlon Brando.
ME: I think that's why they gave him an Oscar.
BOY: They did?
ME: Hang on, let me check IMDB. *scrambles* Yup. I was right. Best supporting actor.
BOY: He earned it.

At least eight times...

BOY: Michael, Michael, what are you doing?? 

Senator expounds for eons about the value of Italian-Americans.

BOY: I've never seen a politician kiss so much ass.
ME: *has to press pause while guffawing* Language!

Flashback scene...

SONNY: *pops into scene*
BOY: Sonny!
CHARACTERS: *talking, snarking each other*
BOY: Half of them are dead. Sonny's dead, Fredo's dead, that old guy is dead...
ME: Don't forget Carlo.
BOY: I always forget Carlo.
ME: Carlo is no great loss.
BOY: Are we gonna see Marlon Brando??
ME: No. He wouldn't come back.
BOY: No way.
ME: Yeah. He wanted as much money for one scene as he got paid for the whole first movie, and then he didn't bother to show up on set, so they rewrote it. Or so the legend goes.
BOY: Man. That sucks.
SONNY: *yammers tough-guy stuff*
ME: Oh, Sonny.
BOY: Sonny, I missed you.
SONNY: *punches someone*
BOY: See, Sonny, that's why they killed you in the last movie.

Starting tomorrow: The Godfather Part III, for the conclusion. Then I'll have to come up with more Filmucation.

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Monday, March 07, 2016


JIM: I got 9 out of 10 for my editing quiz! And 18 out of 20 for my last written assignment! Oh!
ME: ...
ME: Three 'ohs' texted to me while I'm interviewing a congressional candidate. I'll get you, my pretty, and your awesome grades too.
JIM: Oh...
ME: Go oh yourself.
JIM: Yes!
ME: When will you stop being surprised that you're smart?
JIM: When I get the fucking diploma in my grubby hands.
ME: Your hands better be clean at your graduation, buster.
JIM: [redacted]
ME: It says something about your character that you text rude hand gestures to your beloved wife.
JIM: I love you.

US: [long discussion redacted]
ME: See, you're such a diplomat. It's that smooth, balanced way of expressing yourself that really makes an impact on people.
JIM: Yes. I'm a peach.
ME: *snorfle*
JIM: [series of kissy emojis]
ME: Oh lord, you're schmooping again.
JIM: I think, therefore I schmoop.

Watching Buffy...

CHARACTER: Where is Warren?
BOY: *snickers*
ME: This is funny?
BOY: *pause* Okay, this is bad.
ME: *stern look of Momness*
BOY: Not that kind of bad.
ME: Go on.
BOY: I have a friend named Warren, and whenever someone's looking for him, they'll say, "Where's Warren?" And I'll say, "I don't know, but Peace is over there."
ME: ...

ME: ...
ME: I never want to hear about MY humor again.

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Thursday, March 03, 2016

Bad idea...

Note: Boy has not been watching Agent Carter with me. Like most of you. Would you watch this show already before they kill it?

So I'm watching Agent Carter and Boy walks into the room.

CHARACTER: What if we use gamma rays to -
ME: *bursts out laughing*
BOY: Just no.
ME: So not having watched the show over the last two seasons, knowing nothing about the technobabble plot...
BOY: Gamma rays. Bad idea.
ME: *still giggling* It never really does work out, does it?
BOY: What is this? Is that Howard Stark?
ME: Agent Carter, and yes. You really should be watching this.
BOY: *evil grin* Nah, it's about a woman...
ME: See, you say stuff like that and you think you're funny, but what you're really doing is making sure you don't get dinner.
BOY: Ha ha, there's laws.
ME: Don't push that one too hard.