Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Positive Action

So aside from speaking up, and recognizing our white privilege, what's next?


Thoughts and prayers are great, but action is required (I wrote about that here). Don't just pray for change, be the change.  Don't hope that the next generation will do better, make changes so our own generation is better.

So here are some ideas - please add your own in the comments:

Make donations to charities that support the cause (bail relief, legal aid, food banks, social programs in low-income neighbourhoods)

Speak out to friends and family that still hold racist views. This can be difficult and awkward, but it needs to happen.  I'm getting good at doing this for gender related issues, so I need to expand for racist comments too. They aren't always as evident, but they are there.

Vote for progressive ideas. For those Republicans down in the United States who are all tweeting and posting about this issue, can they really vote for Trump in October? Watch this video, because I don't know how they could be sincere with their posts and vote for him again. And I know that you can take those comments and match it with any video you want and people can say that wasn't want he meant, but whether he did or didn't (and I think he knows exactly what he is saying), that is how some people hear it and words have power.

Read about the black experience. (Some I've read: An American Marriage, The Nickel Boys, ScarboroughAmericanah)

Diversify your social media feeds with people of colour. (Twitter: @sarahcpr, @wkamaubell, @karnythia; Instagram: @torontoshay, @sashaexeter

Watch videos of current events with your children and talk to them about it.  You can do that even with small children.  I was watching this video and Q was beside me ,he asked about if they where bad guys, so even though the topic is way more complicated than that, I could explain that no, they weren't the bad guys. I will be gradually watching a few videos with E as well.

And if you're in Canada, think about how the indigenous experience has been in this country and learn about it as well.  We pat ourselves on the back because we aren't like the US with its various problems, but part of that white privilege is ignoring what happens in our own country.

And yes, pray - my prayer is for people to see all human beings as such, human beings.  To feel the pain of others even if you have never and will never experience that same pain.


Monday, June 1, 2020

Speaking up

I have thought about what is going on in our cities all weekend and I felt like I needed to do another post about it.



I will never be as eloquent as others are about this, and I will never be perfect in what I want to say, I will write things that people may think are wrong or that miss the point, but I will keep talking and I will not be quiet.  Just know that my heart is in the right place even if I make mistakes.  Although I want to give black voices the spotlight, I will quote this white man (Samuel Beckett): "Try again, fail again, fail better".  I tend to not say something until I think it is perfect but if I waited until I found the perfect words, then I would miss an opportunity, so I will fail and I will try again, and try to improve each time. And when my words fail me, then I will seek the words of others. I have seen so many posts in my various social feeds this weekend with people sharing memes, quotes, tweets, videos, their own thoughts, and it feels good, let's keep this going, let's not just post a few things and then move on, because the families and friends of George, Ahmaud, Regis, Trayvon, Philando and all of the others don't get to just move on after a few posts.

Know that your words matter, and your silence matters too because silence isn't adding to the fight, it's simply a void.  I will continue to keep an open mind, to learn by reading and listening, to set examples for my children, to speak up when I can, and to keep fighting for justice and equal treatment for black people and other people of colour.

Silence includes not speaking to your children about racism. This is something I have not really done mostly because I thought I didn't have to - don't make a big deal about it and they will just grow up believing everyone is equal.  But what really happens is that they will draw their own conclusions from what they hear from others and also, you know what, it is a big fucking deal that black people get shot by police for any number of reasons that would not happen to my children, so instead of saying nothing, it should be taught that we cannot stand for it.  If we were a black family, I'm sure that I would have already spoken to my 8 year old son about how to behave when out with friends or if the police pull us over.  So if black kids his own age know all about it, then he should to. These lessons will also be like what I talked about above, I'll probably have to dive right into to the topic, stumbling, making mistakes, saying the wrong things, but I will "try again, fail again, and fail better".

@common_wild


Some things you may want to check out:

Guide to White Privilege - Courtney Ahn Design
Killer Mike's Press Conference re Atlanta riots
Artist Nikkolas Smith
Strong Black Lead Podcast





Friday, May 29, 2020

Tough Times

These are some tough times for a lot of people right now, but a couple of specific people I want to write about today:

Ahmaud Arbery - Black man, killed while out for a run, while the whole thing was recorded.  The only reason why the shooters were arrested was because the video was eventually circulated online, causing outrage.  Without that, the two men (along with the person recording it) would have likely never been considered to have committed a crime.


George Floyd - Black man, killed by police, in broad daylight, on camera. The story is that he tried to use a forged cheque at a grocery store so police were called.  Even if that was true, and I have no idea, being choked to death by the police is not a proportionate response, and would have been unlikely to happen if it was a white man (and unlikely the police would have been called in the first place).

Regis Korchinski-Paquet - Black woman, fell to her death from an apartment building in my neighbourhood.  The police have said she committed suicide, her family says she was pushed by police.  We do not know the answers yet but in any event it is a tragedy that ended with the death of a black woman and the police are involved.

Christian Cooper - Black man, threatened with police by white woman in Central Park.  This did not end his death, but we have seen this story play out so many times that had it progressed to that, it would not have surprised anyone.

(and there are so many more names...)

Why does this keep happening?  What needs to change so that a black man can go for a run, or speak up to a white woman to put her dog on a leash, without the fear of death?  These sound like stories from the Deep South of the United States in the early 1900s, not 2020 in the Northern States and Canada.  Racism runs deep and we cannot ignore it.  Those suffering from it can certainly not ignore it.

Sometimes I feel like I can't get into the dark stuff because it's too much, and self-preservation is a real thing, but it's also incredibly insensitive and plain lazy of me to do that too.  As a white, straight, well-off person, it is very easy for me to just float through life turning away from real injustices because they don't directly affect my daily life. But it is exactly this privilege that requires me to say something.  I do my best to expose myself to different points of view, different cultures where I can learn something, by reading and through my Twitter and Instagram follows, but there will always be more that I can do, and more you can do. If we can remind ourselves to never stop questioning things and never completely shut ourselves off from the bad things, then we can do some good, and be part of the solution.

The other day I was reminded that the sun is always shining even when you can't see it, whether it is nighttime where you are, or if it is cloudy above you, the sun is always beyond that, shining and infinite.  The same is true for God, He is always with you even if it seems like things are so terrible and so impossible. His love is always there for you to turn to.






Wednesday, May 27, 2020

What's Up Wednesday


Well Natasha was right, we are still in quarantine for this month's edition of What's up Wednesday, and if I was a betting person, I would say we will still be in this state for June as well. 

What we're eating this week...
Sunday - leftovers from our anniversary dinner
Monday - Turkey Burgers, Boiled Potatoes, Coleslaw
Tuesday - Eggplant Parmesan and Chicken Parmesan
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Salmon and sweet potatoes
Friday - Pizza
Saturday - Steak

What I'm reminiscing about...
I wrote about our 11th wedding anniversary on Friday, we celebrated it on Saturday.
  
What I'm loving...
I am not on Tik Tok but I do follow @sarahcpr on Twitter, a comedian who does lip-syncs of Trump's press conferences.  We are obsessed with them, look them up.  The best is the one where Trump suggests ultraviolet light or disinfectant as ways to fight Covid; she refers to it as "How to Medical".

What we've been up to...
Spending more time outside!  Days just seem better when we can be outside for part of them.  Our back patio is a bit of a lumberyard/quarry right now after our trees were cut down and the stone wall removed.  But after that is cleared up, I'm hoping to set up the table so I can work from out there more comfortable than having my laptop on my lap.  We went for a picnic by the river yesterday and took a little walk. Glorious weather!




What I'm dreading...
As challenging as home school is, I am dreading the summer months when we don't have those activities.  We don't spend all day doing school work but it is something to do and a goal to achieve.  We may have to do some summer school work with E just so he doesn't play video games all day! This is his project he did for social studies, a diorama of the Metis people. 


What I'm working on...
All of the things.  I saw this on Instagram the other day and I had to save it.

What I'm excited about...
Our beer fridge is stocked up!  We did another order from each of Collective Arts and Henderson and they both arrived yesterday.  We are ready for the weekend (or you know, Wednesday night!). 

What I'm watching/reading
We are currently watching The Stranger, and we recently finished up The Last Dance, Winning the Wilderness and Nadiya's Time to Eat - all on Netflix.  Then we have Little Fires Everywhere to watch.

I am reading nothing currently.  But I have heard that the library will start letting us pick up our holds so that will be good, and hopefully I can get some reading in. 

What I'm listening to...
My workout class instructors have been sharing their playlists with us so we can listen through our own speakers rather than through Zoom.  I have been listening to these songs just while I'm working so I can be dancing in my chair (and also drowning out the kids!).

What I'm wearing...
Sunscreen!! I hate applying it but I can't be out in the sun without it.  Q doesn't like it but I am really trying to force it on him.  He was outside without it this week and it looks like he got a bit of  heat rash. 

What I'm doing this weekend...
We will probably go for another bike ride on the Lakeshore, and we would like to get out for a hike as well. We all like being outside. 

What I'm looking forward to next month...
My birthday is next month so that means cake :) And we will be wrapping up E's school activities and hopefully getting a better sense of what our summer plans will be - can we go camping, can we start hanging out with people, can we travel to Northern Ontario, will the pools be open?

What else is new...
Dave has been baking bread lately.  He has always made our pizza dough but now he has branched out to different yeast breads.  I am happy to enjoy the fruits of his labour.

Cinnamon buns, obs.

Made even better with cream cheese frosting.

Focaccia

Chocolate Challah


Linking up Shay for What's up Wednesday!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Weekend Recap

On Friday we had to go pick up the car from the dealership so on our way home while E and Dave went to the BBQ store, I took Q to McDonalds for lunch and he also requested a sprinkle donut so we also waiting in line at Tim Hortons. 

Then I worked outside while this dirty kid watched something on the ipad, this is after he fell asleep in the front hallway.

Dave and E worked on cleaning up the BBQ.  

On Saturday morning Dave made waffles.

and then we got on our bikes and rode on the Lakeshore again, since it was again closed to cars.  It was such a beautiful day!  We explored parts of the waterfront we had never seen before.



And then stopped for a picnic.



After we got back, Q wanted to ride his own bike so we went up to the parking lot.  He actually wanted to play there for a long time and I was fine sitting in the shade.

Then he played in this dirt pile and got absolutely filthy.

Dave and I celebrated our anniversary with this bottle of bubbly and some East Coast inspired eats from Stamp's Lane.

Lobster mac and cheese, cod cakes, fish and chips, and ribs.

Cheers!

On Sunday I set about taking the duvets off the beds and putting the quilts on. I think the hot summer weather is here!

Then Q and I read some books in the tree house.

And then we got the water guns out



We had a few leftovers from the night before for our supper, but there were still room for snacks, like this big cookie...


...and some cheese and crackers.

Some bubbles too.

We sat outside for a bit after the kids went to bed.

And then went to bed, a successful weekend!

Monday, May 25, 2020

Trees

When we bought this house in 2014, one of the features we loved was the big oak trees at the back of the house, and other trees on the property, that made you feel like you were in the woods.  Sadly, over the years it became apparent that the large oaks nearest to the house were dying and would eventually have to be cut down.  We got them trimmed a couple of years ago to remove some of the dead branches, but the remaining branches never made a comeback and were bare of leaves the last few years.  Big pieces of bark were falling off too and I was always nervous a strong wind would knock down bigger branches.  When our neighbour's tree fell onto another neighbour's house last fall, we knew we needed to actively plan to remove our dead trees.  We were sad to see these two big trees go, but it was the safe thing to do.  Forutnately we still have four  oak trees in our backyard, along with several maples, so although not as "woodsy" as it once was, we still surrounded by lots of nature.

We live in a ravine zone and in Toronto that means you need a permit to do anything with a tree, unless it is dead.  We emailed them a couple of weeks ago to ask for the exception to the permit. The city inspector came out shortly after that, and was here for barely 2 minutes before declaring the trees dead and granting our exception.  We had 21 days after that to remove the trees.  We had used this tree guy for the trimming before and he had removed a large tree in our neighbours yard.

In preparation we had to move some of the retaining wall stones, and I transplanted a small tree and a perennial.

Last Wednesday was the big day.
I got my hardhat out for Q to wear. He was very excited.

Crane getting set up


Getting set up in the tree waiting for the crane.












Dead


I was working from E's room so I could keep an eye on the progress.













Now we are waiting for the grinder to come and remove the stumps this week and then Dave will set about removing the dirt and building a new retaining wall.  We will move some of our outdoor seating over here and have some more space. We may also put in a fire pit but that isn't an immediate plan.