Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Winter LIfe

I am tired. LB's bus comes ridiculously early. We need to be at the stop at 7:10, then she takes a scenic tour of Pawtucket and Central Falls before getting to school. I can't really complain because it would be a dick move if they picked up the kids in the wealthy part of town last, and sometimes it's good because I can get into work early. But up at 5:45 is bleary and prying LB out of bed for a 40 minute sprint to our leaving time is never fun.

This week several building unions have been out protesting a new building that is going up by my work and is not using union labor for the job. Work is already loud with young people laughing and chatting and the phone ringing, and lately, we also have pile driving and chant leading on a bullhorn. Things are hip and expensive here. So many $3 small cups of coffee and $8 or $10 sandwiches. It is hard to live without a decent wage.

I've been listening to a country music app with tons of stations. Weirdly, many of them seem to have French or German DJs which led to me listening to the top of the hour news update on R Kelly's newest inditement in German on a country station. Not that I speak German, but I guess R Kelly and inditement are universal words.

Last week we had an hour weather school delay that I didn't know about till we got to school. Not fun, but at least there's a diner nearby. Tomorrow we have a two-hour delay and I'm hoping we can make the most of it with the pretty great sledding hill by our house. This is the first year we've gone out on it because LB can be very fussy about cold and clothes, and it's been so fun.


Sunday, January 20, 2019

City Life revisited

I guess the last time I posted last year there was a snow storm, and now there is a snow storm. I'm feeling very proud that I did my civic duty by scraping out the storm drain by my building. It's a slushy mess out there now, and is supposed to drop well below freezing tonight, so everything should be an icy mess tomorrow. LB is at her mommy's house, and I'm trying to figure out where to get snowed in.

What we're talking about:

  • Is this how it ends? The USofA I mean. Nobody pays the bill so we slide away from the three branches, the Constitution, NOAA, GPS satellites, federal judges, taxes, highways.
  • How far away from the ocean should you buy a house if you'd like to live in that house for say 20 year+ and maybe even do something as inconceivable as hand it on down to your child.
  • SNAP was deposited on 1/20. It needs to last until 3/1 or maybe for the duration.
What are we teaching our WASP/C kids. I feel really lucky to live in a place where my kid interact with people of different cultures/races/ethnicities than her own every day. There are universal lessons of the be kind and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In such a mixed place I've felt pushed to stress the skills you need when you are interacting with people who have different world views and different cultural practices.

Trying to do right by a white child as a white parent-I feel unmoored from culture which might lead me. For all the talk of white supremacy culture, as a parent I need something positive to offer my child. At a vigil for those murdered in the Pittsburgh synagogue, in a majority Jewish crowd, I was struck by the way that people were able to mourn together knowing the same prayers and the same songs. Go to any WASP/C protest and event and listen to people try to muddle through a song. What is there to offer a child. I push for "being chill"-that is accepting people as they are, not getting worked up about them doing things differently than you would, or looking different, or sounding different unless they are hurting another. Curiosity is good-tell me more, and I don't know anything about that will you share with me. Respect for what you don't understand.

A couple months ago, I attended a fundraiser at a bar, and as is customary around her the adults drank (and wrapped donated presents), and the kids ran wild, and we ate some pizza. The entertainment was a group of Algonquin drummers. Their music and singing filled the space, and the children all stopped and walked toward them, watching silently, a few dancing. Our kids recognize beauty and art, they respect the people and the world around when we let them, when we don't fill them with the fear and pride that pushes the rest of the world away.

2018 in review

We protested. Unfortunately an early morning protest in Warwick outside ICE offices surrounded by faith leaders was super stressful for LB and was at least a partial factor setting off a lot of anxiety. I'm still thankful that I can tell her, yes I will be here, no you won't go to jail, no I won't go to jail, no we won't be separated, so many people aren't that lucky.

We went to Maine and I thought a lot about climate change while sitting on weirdly warm beaches, while sitting on appropriately chilly beaches. It's coming, and so much of what we know will be gone.

Look at you Providence, with your light up swing. I don't remember what event this was, maybe Thursday concert at the Park?

Growing like a weed this one, I think this is one of the dresses that can no longer be worn as a dress.

Herminone and Zombie Ballerina off to the bar on a Friday night.

The universe always gives me a good sunset around Christmas, I think this was Christmas Eve with no LB, but it was still good.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Snow Day

Schools in Providence are off for today and tomorrow.  Snow is coming down and visibility is about half a block.  We are anticipating high winds and cold temps once the snow winds down this evening.  Luckily we had good notice of the storm.  I've been trying not to overbuy food in order to waste less, but that meant the only vegetables I had in the house yesterday morning were frozen peas and okra, and the only fruit was frozen blueberries, and no milk.

I beat the crowd on my morning shop, but then had to go to three more places after I picked up LB from school, because the first place was out of milk, and then I realized I had no flour for pizza dough.  A friend posted a pic from my closest Whole Foods, at which the greens section was COMPLETELY emptied. I guess that's what happens when New Years resolutions meet blizzard. Three additional stores later, here we are ready for the storm:

(I don't know why I didn't post this when we actually had the big storm, but here you go, belatedly).

Monday, January 1, 2018

Less than a year

It's actually been less than a year since I last posted, so that's not so bad.  I miss blogging being a thing like I miss having a tv channel that shows music videos.  2017 for me was a year of organizing (the political kind) and I went hard for about 9 months and then crashed.  I was part of a successful campaign to pass a new ordinance on police accountability and transparency that goes into effect today, and a successful city council campaign to elect Nirva Lafortune.  Two good things in a year of loss.

A friend suggested reflecting on 2017 by listing one good thing from each month, and here are mine:

Jan-was an adult observer when 1000 local high school students walked out of class to the statehouse to protest the inauguration (absolute highlight of my year).  If you watch the video in the link, there is a moment when a couple hundred students standing around by the statehouse see hundred more students marching up the street in front of the mall, realize how big the protest is going to be, and start running to meet them-all the adults were crying.

Feb-went to a blur of emergency meetings, met a lot of people

March-walked into a dive bar with my daughter, walked out with a date

April-hung out with a new mom friend like I remember my mom doing (taking the kids to IHOP on Saturday night)

May-went with LB to a very raucous city council meeting where we got a first yes vote on a new police accountability ordinance

June-went to Chicago for my diss advisors retirement

July-a week in Maine where junie ran wild with the island children

Aug-door knocked for our city council race, and Nirva Lafortune won by a lot!

And 1st grade (terrible pic but look at those shoes!)

Sept-family camping, on of my favorite things LB and I do all year

Oct-klezmer and marching brass band Halloween parade

Nov-my girl turned 7 and had a party she loved, and I went to the Day of Mourning in Plymouth for the first time

Dec-a whole month with our beautiful Christmas tree

New Years Deep Freeze in Maine

A friend was just blogging about intentions vs resolutions for New Years, and I like the improvisation involved in having a theme for the year that I then have to figure out how to live.  I think my theme for this year needs to be health.  Sitting at work/sitting in all those meetings/eating random potluck offerings/busing and ubering from one location to the next/on the computer all the time, all those things have been unkind to my body and sometimes my spirt.  I'm lying in bed typing and my head hurts and my shoulders hurt and my back hurts.  I've noticed that my balance has gotten so much worse this year, and I get up from the floor like an old person.  I'm very lucky to be in good physical health, but I need to invest in what I've got instead of squandering it.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Dear Trump's America: I'm living your nightmare and you should too

 People here roll the windows down and turn the music up while they idle by the store, Kendrick Lamar fades into some old school Fugees doing "Killing Me Softly."  We buy our popsicles at the corner store from a guy named Habib, who calls us both baby. My daughter goes to school with a majority of kids who are poor and brown, and she says the pledge of allegiance in Spanish (but only every other day).

The building where I work also houses a gay bar, a Mexican restaurant, and the print shop of a community arts organization.  Various styles of Mexican music compete with Techno and the OomPah beat of the print presses, and the cacophony bubbles up through our floors. On election day, I bought a small coffee (for $4.00!) from a guy who in my memory has a small waxed moustache.  The more your coffee costs, the slower your barista moves.  As I crossed the alley back to work, a drag queen from the gay bar in the downstairs of my work building rasped: "Honey, you want to smoke some marijuana?"  I politely declined, and she (I'm assuming that is the correct pronoun as this person was at the time in full drag) replied, "Sorry baby, I'm just so nervous!"

We ride the bus.  Riders are many colors and they speak many languages.  We riders work together so that the system can work for us.  People shift as one for a man in a wheelchair, decide who will move for the lady with the cane, hoist kids and packages onto laps as the seats fill.  One day LB had a horrible coughing fit after we ran for the bus, and the driver offered to stop and run into Dunkin' Donuts to get her a bottle of water.  One night we stayed late at LB's school for Animal Adventure night. Afterwards we walked to our bus stop, which is in a worn working class neighborhood, on a busy potholed road.  It was rainy and the bus was late.  The only other person waiting was a youngish black man with lots of bags.  We waited and waited, and he didn't seem to mind as LB encroached on his space as she leapt like a frog.  He stepped away to smoke a cigarette and then moved back under the shelter. And, then he took two sharp steps toward us. My hand went automatically in front of LB, protecting her.  He saw me, and motioned toward the roof of the bus shelter.  He had been standing under a huge hole and the rain had gotten heavier-he had moved toward us to get out of the rain.  I smiled at him-the smile of trying to ask for forgiveness.  But I said only, "it's really starting to rain, I hope the bus comes soon." We are all in motion.

This is a city and cities hold poor people, and people with many different skin colors.  We are a city that sits on indigenous land and indigenous people remain here, with the descendants of of white colonizers who fled here seeking religious freedom.  We are a city dominated by immigrants, migrants, and refugees.  I made a mental list of all the people LB I interact on a regular basis who were not born in the US:

my landlord
many of our bus drivers
teachers and staff at LB's school
LB's fellow students
the man who fixes our copier
students at my work
workers at several of my favorite downtown restaurants
the bank teller who knows my name
several of my doctors
the owner of the place I go to get my eyebrows threaded
the owners of the dry cleaner I use
the guy who owns the Indian grocery

Without immigrants, migrants, and refugees our city would grind to a halt. They only thing we could count on is $4.00 coffees poured by guys with waxed moustaches.  And, our life is good.  We don't have a lot, but we have enough.  We don't fear those who we know, even if they look different from us, speak different languages, and come from different places.  And sometimes we do fear those we don't know, because they look different and move different and sound different.  But, when we stop, we know that fear breaks us.  We must learn to know each other.  Vulnerability must be our strength. Love must be our strength. We must move together.