family ties

The older I get the more my family expands. I have sisters in St. Louis, brothers in New York, cousins in California, nieces and nephews in Florida, uncles in Spain, aunts in Germany, parents and ohana in Hawaii – the list goes on and on … And although majority of this “family” isn’t blood related, the basis is the same, unconditional love.

Jeremy and I made another family recently, another version of our nation of 3 made out of water vapor and ice crystals. And as I tightly packed together my Snow Mo, I thought within weeks my new family would melt, this family would inevitably leave me.

It made me think of all the family I have lost – most recently my little brother, Marc Parrone, Jr. (MJ.) No, MJ wasn’t my biological brother, although the unsuspecting bystander could be (and was!) often fooled by our matching red hair and goofy personalities.

So when his life was cut short at the age of 26, I ached for my family, for the pain my “parents” were going through, for the tears the rest of his family would shed, for the loss the world would feel without this bright amazing soul lighting it up.

It hurt me to think I would no longer taste his cooking, I would no longer hear “Hi hippie,” on the other end of the receiver, and I could no longer kiss him on the cheek with aloha.

But on that cold Sunday morning, I learned a lesson from my snow family.

I realized no matter the elements, no matter what the environment has in store – I would always have my memories.

I hold on to the memory of Jeremy building his very first snowman that day, grunting, sighing and every 30 seconds asking, “is this ball big enough?” Listening to Sky Dog growl under her breath because Snow Sky was getting more attention from me, and the huge smile on my face as I hung a traditional German fur hat on Snow Molly’s head.

Just the same, I will forever hold on to the memories of MJ – the day he taught me to successfully flip a fried egg (after I dropped 3 on the floor), the day we woke up an hour late and drove like maniacs to get him to the airport on time, (mj providing commentary the whole ride), the day we crammed 12 people into the fun van and went to Ward's Rafters to hear music ...

And although I will miss him terribly, I have wonderful memories of my little brother – and these are memories that can never melt.



... ... ... ... back in tha day, today ... ... ... ...

childhood friend, you're back again!
nostalgia, aisle 4, $1.99

rainbow of scattered, colored sticks
with a single, coveted black thrown in the mix
just to make it interesting. 

but your familiar wooden constitution
now wreaks of plastic prostitution
who sold you that awful new coat?

it takes no less to reduce the pile
than an 8 year-old's bit of wit and guile
but i wouldn't want to compete against a younger me. 

they play for points these days, you know.
the blue, worth 10 times the yellow?!
so it's not who collects the most stick booty?

after a single buddymollys game
the winner, undeclared remains
final score, round 1: 82 to 82. 


Deutsch. Deutsch you want me.

well, the time has finally come -- molly and i are buckling down and going back to school, sort of. we enrolled in a night school german class (Volkschule) and this, along with rosetta stone, will surely make us fluent by the summer. 


last night was our first class and it was really fun (super!) the class is small (kleine) -- maybe 11 (elf) people (Leute), which actually reduced the cost of the course (they pro-rate the cost based on the number of students. originally, when they thought there were going to be 8 students, it was 81 euros; with 11 it's only 69.) 

far cry from classes in the USA (ooh ess ah). but i guess it makes good german sense. say this in your best german accent and you will understand: "why would you pay the same amount if you are getting less individual attention? that does not make sense."


so don't try to call us Montag und Mittwoch (Mon & Wed) from 6-7:30 p.m. central european time, we'll be getting our learn-on. 


in that short session yesterday, though, we learned enough to have some meaningful conversations with a local national co-worker and the paper delivery guy today. 


here's how it went down:


jeremy: wo wohnen kommen sie? (severe butchering of "where do you live") 

local national co-worker: was? (what?)

molly: jeremy sprechen ein bischen deutsch (jeremy speaks an embarrassingly small amount of german)

local national co-worker: (laughs)




here's the second encounter:

jeremy: ist robert sein bruder (is robert (the publisher) your brother)?

delivery guy: ja (yes)

jeremy: ich heisse jeremy (my name is jeremy -- extend hand to shake)

delivery guy: (a lot of german i couldn't understand then) ... bernard. 

jeremy: wie heissen sie? (what is your name?)

delivery guy: (a bit agitated) bernard (then returns to what he was doing as if i wasn't there)

jeremy: freut mich (nice to meet you)


that's right folks, only one lesson.


i now leave you with my five favorite german expressions thus far – “the fab fünf” -- their pronunciations and meanings:  


ich liebe dich (eek lee-ba deek) -- i love you

in der schlange (in dare schlong-eh) -- in the line

sie wacht der mann auf (zee vackt dare man off) -- she wakes the man up

ja, er schlaft (ya air schleft) -- yes, he sleeps

das ist meine bruder (dahs ist mine brooder) -- that's my brother


(honorable mention: sieben babys (zee-ben babies -- 7 babies)


until next time -- tschüss!