Monday, July 11, 2016


Last night on the internet I stumbled upon something new to me.  A live streaming of a BLM vigil in the Big City nearest to our home.  I watched for a bit to try and hear the speaker.  The sound quality was beyond bad and I could not hear almost anything she was saying. I was just about to click off in frustration when I noticed that comments also get posted in real time with the live streaming.

I watched in legit horror at the hatred that spewed from those comments, up the screen of my monitor.  Comments that the speaker had time to do this because she was on welfare. Comments that all lives matter.Derogatory comments about the charge to blacks to try to economically impact whites by going to black owned businesses. Comments that people should just do what police say and nothing will go wrong.  (news flash, you need to add if you are white to that last one folks--just ask the family of Phil Castile.) And there was more.  Much more. So much hatred I can not dignify it with reiterating it here. They flew so fast I could not even respond to a specific post, because it was gone in a flash, replaced by another equally as appalling.

How is it possible to hate so much?  How is it possible not to see people as people.   How can there be any hope for justice when so many people buy in to stereotypes and racist rhetoric.  These injustices and killings can not be stopped if whites are going to look the other way.  We have a disproportionate amount of power.  We need to, and we must, be agents for change and justice.  We need to listen to our black friends, neighbors, sisters and brothers, and support their efforts at change. Our children, our country, and our future need this.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

And Again. . .

48 hours and 2 more black men murdered.  I am probably the most positive person on the planet.  "Sail your ship with positivity" has been laughingly declared by my family to be my personal motto.  But I have no positivity tonight.  I have anger. I have fear.  I have an overwhelming sense of helplessness.

The repeated unwarranted killing of people of color keeps replaying like some bizarre twisted version of that old movie Ground Hog Day.  And I don't know what to do.  I don't know what to do to keep my children safe.  I literally don't go to sleep till I know Rob is home from work.  I have turned this into my reading time and I do enjoy that. But keeping things honest?  I am worried that something would happen and i would not know till there was a knock on the door.  I don't want to miss a call, a text, a chance to try and help if the need arose.

I worry that my kids, despite my oft repeated dictates of what to do if an officer stops, will push the envelope.  They are good kids. But they are kids.  At Rob's age, despite all my comments to the contrary, he is sure he is immortal.  I was his age.  I was once immortal too.  But I am white.  And while I have faced discrimination in regards to my gender or sexual identity, I have not been targeted the way people of color are.  I don't have to worry about DWB.

In a rather shocking wake up call I recently watched a video to share to my son's wall on how to make it home alive if a POC is pulled over by the police.  One of the tips?  Keep your license and registration on the dash or the visor or the cup holder.  Reaching for a wallet can be interpreted as reaching for a weapon.  In my white privilege world,I can keep those two items where ever I choose as long as I can reach them from the drivers seat of my vehicle.  My questions to police officers when I am pulled over are answered with courtesy as long as I ask with courtesy.  (disclaimer:  I received my first moving violation in 25 years because I got wildly confused at a round about over Memorial Day weekend.)  I honestly had to ask the officer what I did wrong as I knew speed was not a factor.

Will the video save his life?  I have no idea.  All I can do is try and that feels so much like tilting at windmills these days.

I am frightened by the fact that I can't come up with an action plan.   This is so systemic and so big, I can't figure out what to do to help change to come about. I am not a stick my head in the sand kind of gal.  But Facebook meme's are woefully inadequate.  Roll calls of the killed scroll through my feeds. I worry that someday one of my kids, or one of my extended family will be on the internet with a "Say their name, don't forget" tag.    But the pictures, the stories, most woefully the same,  somehow this is not scrolling through the minds and hearts of people who do have the power.

I was brought up to respect officers of the law.  And I know many officers in the city I live and work in.  I like them. I respect them.  But I look at them and wonder what they will see if my son walking home from work at midnight.  I am tired of dash cams going silent, body cams mysteriously loosening and not filming.  I am tired of  reading the dirt that gets thrown into the fray after every shooting.  Rap sheets from years past, as if prior mistakes justify death today.

I actually don't even know how to finish this post, that's how saddened and fearful my spirit is at this moment.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Long Weekend in Review

My cup overflows with happiness.  This was a GLORIOUS long weekend for us. It started with being able to leave work 2 hours early on Friday.  Typically when we get "early release" something happens and I can't leave.  By some weird miracle, this time, I was out the door at 2:05!  This gave me time to chat with my wife before she left for work.  Time together for us is treasured.  We work opposite hours from each other a lot of the time.  In large part, this serves our family well as one of us is always around to meet the needs of our brood.  But it also means carving out relationship time has to be thoughtful and to some extent, truly planned.  Those 2 magic hours when I was home early were a rare and unplanned bonus to us.  After she left for work, I was able to do a few errands that typically happen on Saturday.

Saturday morning we shopped for our BBQ 2 buggies worth of shopping. We also got the decorations for the canopies.  I am truly incapable of gathering people together without doing some kind of decorating.  I love to do it. It is welcoming. It is something the kids like to help with.  And I usually use supplies purchased at the dollar store.  So it is inexpensive and I don't feel compelled to make things I need to try and store and re-use.

At about 10 we left to head out to the western part of our state. The trip, which should have taken a bit over 2 hours took us over 3.  Holiday traffic and a large accident slowed us greatly.  Luckily we had sort of planned for that possibility and the extension of the trip did not make us late to our venue.  We headed to Jacobs Pillow to see a dance presentation.  We saw Che Malombo, an Argentine dance troupe.  The performace was amazing and we all loved it. Best of all, my wife was unexpectedly able to join us. She had not thought this would be the case and at the 11th hour I scrambled to get her a ticket to the nearly sold out show.  She could not sit with us--we had seats right near the front in the center.  But we were able to share the experience.  The kids adored the performance, especially my dance guy, KC.  Watching an all male dance company was very empowering to him. As you might imagine, guys are the minority in most local dance schools.  Our school has more than most, but the guys are still vastly outnumbered.

Sunday we spent getting ready for todays BBQ.  I had a flag cake to make and a "mexican pasta salad"  Both recipes were from The Pioneer Woman  Both were amazing and enjoyed by all.  We had a ton of food.  BBQ chicken, veggie burgers, hot dogs, potato salad,green salad, chips and dip, fresh strawberries for shortcake, the aforementioned cake and delicious thumb print cookies made by my friend Laura.  We had about 15 people all told and it always amazes me how people can gather from different walks of life and just enjoy each other and have fun.  If it can happen in my back yard, can't it happen elsewhere too?  If we bring our laughter and our recipes instead of our preconceptions, the world would be a happier, gentler place.

We had about 5 or 6 kids here and they all played together and had a blast.  One of them successfully negotiated themselves an invite to come camping with me when I take the kids in August for our next to the last campout.  I am fine with that, and his mom is as well.  One more kid is not ever an issue for me.

Now I am trying to prepare myself for "re entry"  The regular  world will come knocking on my door at 5:20 tomorrow morning.