pandemic diaries: week 13

Before I get into "mom camp" week 1, following our "SIP...elsewhere" vacation, a few things to share about the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day and Black Lives Matter. I took White Fragility with me to read, one of several books I've purchased but will admit to not actually reading yet. I'm still making my way through, pencil in hand, to make notes in the margins. I have a lot of work ahead of me but I also think it's really important to be mindful of compassion fatigue

In addition to continuing to do this work every day, donating to organizations (locally, nationally, and to match a coworker's suggestion), and showing up to protests (like the Kids March, above), I've always been drawn to the power of storytelling and art. I think stories provide access points for even the most woke white person and can also be a great way to reach out to your more conservative family and friends. Read black authors, watch movies by black directors starring black actors, and follow black artists. A lot of movies are streaming right now for free (e.g. Selma, 13th, and Just Mercy). It doesn't get much easier than that. Raising white kids, we need to seek out these stories and make sure their bookshelves and movie nights, not to mention social circles, are as diverse as, in our case, this incredible city where we've chosen to raise them.

That work continues (there are a lot of these but this is one round-up of resources that I've been steadily making my way through over the last couple of weeks; it includes a lot of suggestions for kids as well, which I feel is really important). 

Here are some other things the kids and I did last week, the second week of their summer break. So long as I can fit in a total of 5-6 hours of work each day (I work about 25-30 hours a week), my daily goal with respect to summer break has been to fall back on my schedule and suggestions should they need some direction or structure, but above all to get them out of the house for an hour or two.

We watched The Wise Little Hen on Donald Duck's "birthday" (he made his debut in the cartoon on June 9, 1934).

Also on Tuesday, we did this new-to-us hike that I honestly can't believe we've somehow never done. Can't wait to return next spring to see more wildflowers.

On Wednesday, the hottest day of the week, we went to the beach for a couple hours. I'm not going to lie - it seemed a bit crowded initially but it was never a problem to keep at least about ten feet of distance between us and other people, both on the sand and in the water, at all times.

On Thursday, not at all related to any kind of national day or food holiday, but because it recently reopened (with modifications), I took the kids to play a round of mini golf in nearby Castro Valley. It's a bit pricey to be a regular summer excursion, but I felt safe and I appreciated having something to do other than walk around the neighborhood. If you're local, you can reserve a "tee time" here.

On Friday, for National Red Rose Day, I told the kids about how the red rose has come to symbolize democratic socialism and then we watched Saving Capitalism, which my son said was "too much like history class." Good. After all, you can't dismantle hundreds of years of systemic racism in this country without also taking a hard look at capitalism.

After that we went to see the goats grazing near the zoo, part of the Oakland Fire Department's ground fuel mitigation and vegetation management.

Friday was also National Loving Day. I've already seen Loving, based on the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in 16 states. If you haven't seen it you can stream it on Hulu.

Finally, I was very sad to see that one of my all-time favorite artists, Christo, had died. I imagine he and Jeanne-Claude are creating epic masterpieces together in whatever their version of heaven is. Dolores Park's social distance circles kind of reminded me of The Umbrellas, their 1991 work in the US and Japan. Sigh.

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