Friday, July 8, 2016

#Blacklivesmatter

My baby boy is sleeping peacefully in his crib. Legs splayed, arms tucked up by his chin, tongue flashing in and out as he sucks an imaginary pacifier. I look at him and am overwhelmed with love—and gratitude. Because of white privilege, I know that I will never have to worry that someone is judging him negatively because of the color of his skin. If he gets in trouble at school, I’ll know it’s because he misbehaved.  Not because he’s black. If an employee follows him around a store when he’s a teenager, I’ll know it’s because the employee is suspicious of teenagers. Not because he’s black. If he gets pulled over when he’s a young man, I’ll know it’s because he did something he shouldn’t have.  Not because he’s black. Most importantly, I’ll know that death will most likely never be the consequence to his actions.

My heart breaks for all the mothers for whom this is not the case.

I want my child—all children—to grow up in a world where it is safe to be yourself. No matter what race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation your self is.

I want my child to recognize that racial bias exists. That gender bias exists. That oppression and rampant discrimination still exist. I want him to stand up for people who need support. To empathize, even if he doesn’t have first hand experience of the struggles some of his peers may face. To acknowledge his white privilege for what it is and to do his part in treating people with dignity.


I hope that in the future we look back on these times with disbelief. That #blacklivesmatter is obsolete. That anger fades and healing happens. Until then, I’ll be teaching my son the lessons he needs to help make that happen.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Vehicular Ice Capades -OR- That Time I Wrecked the Car

5:30 a.m.: Alarm goes off. I hit snooze. Obviously.

5:40 a.m.: I hit snooze again.

5:44 a.m.: I am paranoid that I will sleep through the next alarm so decide to check the weather on my phone. 28 degrees with freezing rain. Fun.

6:35 a.m.: I decide that it will probably take longer to get to work on account of the freezing rain. Decide to take the Subaru. Figure that buys me an extra 10 minutes.

6:45 a.m.: I step out onto the porch. The crunch of the welcome mat tells me this ain't gonna be easy. I gingerly step down the stairs and literally slide over to the car. Definitely taking the Subaru this morning.

6:55 a.m.: I am finally done scraping ice off the windshield and carefully back out the driveway. Carefully drive down the street. Time to turn left.

6:57 a.m.: Carefully turn left. The car swerves. Then swerves some more. I do not panic. Adam warned me about this. I feel prepared. Cool as a cucumber. Driving on ice? I got this.

6:59 a.m.: I drive past the high school and middle school and notice there isn't the usual buzz of cars and students. Think it is odd but continue on.

7:07 a.m.: Getting on and off the freeway was no problem. Traffic was slower than usual but there weren't many cars on the road. I make my final left turn. Almost to school. The road continues to curve. The car does not. I have no traction to brake, accelerate, or steer. THUD! into the curb. THUD! into the curb again. THUD! one last time. I notice a truck in front of me is also having issues. It has swerved all the way to the other side of the road but gets it together. I try to continue on. The car will move but there is a terrible sound coming from the front right wheel well. I get out to check on it, doing the ice shuffle so I don't fall down. The wheel has been bent. The tire is now slanting slightly towards the road and touches the body of the car. Cars continue to struggle with this particular stretch of road.

7:10 a.m.: I get the car as out of the way as I can and call Adam. The roads are too dangerous for him to come get me. I text someone from work that I will be late today on account of this accident. They reply "Didn't you know there was a two hour delay?" No, no I did not. I kept getting calls asking if I would like to accept sub jobs for today. I never once got a call saying there was a delayed start. Another driver of a disabled vehicle comes to check on me.

7:16 a.m.: I call road side assistance. They say a tow truck can get to me by 9:07 a.m.

7:25 a.m.: A white SUV slides not too far behind me. A tow truck slides not too far behind it. The SUV recovers and moves on. The tow truck driver comes to check on me. He skates down the street. I have to move my car off the road or the police will ask him to tow it to the city yard. I slowly and carefully move the car.

8:20 a.m.: Worcester has now closed all schools for the day due to icy road conditions.

8:28 a.m.: The tow truck driver calls to say he is in Worcester but is stuck on the freeway with all the accidents. He says there have been over 400 accidents and that even police cruisers are spinning out. He will try to get there as soon as he can.

8:30 a.m.: A police officer who has utility work duty* shows up and asks if I'm okay and if a tow truck is on the way. I say yes, I just talked to the driver and he will be here soon.

9:07 a.m.: Tow driver still stuck.

10:07 a.m.: Tow truck finally arrives.

10:45 a.m.: Get car to body shop. Body shop lady and her husband were also in an accident this morning.

11:00 a.m.: Get call from insurance claim representative. She says it has been a busy morning. Every time she puts down the phone there are 4 more claims.

2:30 p.m.: The ice is finally melting. I call Enterprise to pick up my rental car. They say they have had thousands of calls today because of the ice. They can get me a car by 4 p.m.

4:17 p.m: Still waiting for that car...

*Any time there is construction or utility work there are police officers who direct traffic and make sure the workers are safe from passing cars.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

How to dress for summer

In California, here is what I would wear in the summer. Every day. Because every day is the same (hot).

1.     Shorts
2.     Tank top
3.     Bring sweater/scarf/sweatshirt everywhere because of air conditioning

Here is how I get dressed in Massachusetts.



The other day, when it was not at all humid, I realized the only thing separating me from my California winter wardrobe was a pair of socks and closed toe shoes. I felt really stupid for a minute, until I looked around and saw that several people were also wearing long pants and long sleeves.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On the Road Again

2013 was a year of intense running. Two marathons, four half marathons, a triathlon, a 10k, and several 5ks really wore me (and my knee, and my hip) out. So I have enjoyed the first 6 months of 2014 as basically run free. I was really thinking "Hey! Maybe this could be my year of no running after spending a year doing nothing but running."

But then, Adam said, "Oh I got an email about registering for the Walt Disney World marathon. I was thinking maybe I would sign up." And I thought "Wow! Adam wants to do a marathon?" And he did! He said he needs motivation to run (because he has none) and that if he were ever going to do a full marathon he'd want it to be a fun one, like the Disney World marathon. I agreed to run with him during training, and then thought, well, if I'm going to be running anyway, maybe I should sign up for a marathon too.

Then we checked the e-mail again, and realized the sign up was for the Princess HALF marathon. I think we both like the idea of doing another half better than jumping into a full, and it IS Disney World, after all... And I've never been... and we were planning on taking a Disney Cruise anyway... so we decided to sign up.

So now the running begins (again). That sub 2 hour half seems so elusive, but I'm determined to get there this time! And then maybe by February I'll be in good enough shape again that running a third marathon won't seem so daunting.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Oh M{eye}!

Last week, I went to the eye doctor. The first thing the eye doctor said to me after entering the room was, “Soooo how do you like driving at night?” Short answer: I don’t enjoy it at all because all I can’t see a dang thing. And then we began my least favorite part: reading the tiny, blurry letters that always look so far away. I always feel like I’m supposed to be able to read the letters, but most of the time I have to just guess. Can other people always read all the letters? E’s and B’s look alike. C’s and G’s. F’s and P’s. Ugh gives me a headache just thinking about it.

So it turns out I need glasses. The guy has me test out three different prescriptions. Of course the ones I like best are the ones that have a prescription strength of only half what it should be, but apparently that’s ok. It will give me time to adjust to wearing glasses without feeling dizzy and deciding to just not wear them.


Today I went to pick up my glasses. Wearing them is actually kind of nice, because everything is nice and crisp, and most importantly, I can read street signs before it’s too late to turn.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

New England wine tasting in a word: Ew

This weekend we went wine tasting in New England for the second time. The first time was on our way home from Rockport, at a place called Russell Orchards. This time we went to a place called Truro Vineyards on Cape Cod.

We drove up and were greeted by a scene pretty typical of a California winery- sprawling lawn with people picnicking and enjoying their wine. In addition, there was a food truck, rum stand, and a game of corn hole going on. We entered the farmhouse style building and there the differences began.

Instead of bellying up to the bar and perusing different options while we chat with the pourer, we had to buy tickets for the next tasting. (They do tastings every 30 minutes there). We happened to arrive at 3:30, perfect timing for the next tasting.

We headed out to the back deck, where there were several round tables set up and a bar with the 10 wines available to taste on display. Each person could taste five wines. Since there were two of us, we opted to share our glasses so that we’d each get to taste all 10 wines.

First up: 2011 Truro Vineyards Chardonnay & 2012 Truro Vineyards Vignoles
Second: 2011 Truro Vineyards Triumph Meritage & 2011 Truro Vineyards Zinfandel
Third: 2011 Truro Vineyards Cabernet Franc & 2010 Truro Vineyards Merlot
Fourth: Truro Vineyards Cape Blush & Right Red
Fifth: Truro Vineyards Cranberry Red & Turo Vineyards Diamond White

The whites were very sour and most of the reds tasted watery, like a Central Coast wine. The Cape Blush was Ok. Out of all of them, I liked the Cranberry Red the best. The people who let us stay at their cape cod house seem to like the Diamond White, because they have several of those empty bottles around their kitchen. The Cranberry Red comes in a clear lighthouse shaped bottle, and the Diamond White comes in a blue lighthouse shaped bottle.

We were kind of hoping that since the bottles were cool, the wines would be good. So far though, we haven’t found anything that rivals a good California wine.


We left the wine tasting area to go get our free sample of their spiced rum. The rum was much better than any of the wines. It tasted like alcoholic chai tea. Yum.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Horse Drawn Carriage Through History

One thing that Worcester is full of is abandoned, crumbling buildings. Ever the city that just won't quit, there is a campaign called "Free the Blackstone," which is all about bringing awareness and business to the part of town with the condemned buildings.  Why? Because they are part of the canal district. The canal that was once the hub of industrialization in New England and allowed products to be sent down to Rhode Island and shipped out (thereby taking business away from Boston and keeping Worcester the bigger city).

Once Boston wised up and built railroad tracks from their little shipping port to the Big City, the people of Worcester started using the canal as an open sewer, into which they would dump industrial waste, human waste, food scraps, butcher scraps, and dead animals. Eventually the canal grew so smelly and toxic that they just covered it up. So the canal disappeared, but the factories that sprang up alongside it remain.

Several of the buildings have a sign on them that is a red square with a white line or x across it. That is to signify to firefighters that the building is condemned and is unsafe for anyone to enter. They had to do that after a fire broke out some time ago and when firefighters went in to put out the flames, the building collapsed on them and they died.

Some of the buildings are being fixed up and turned into residences. Some of them house restaurants and other businesses. Some of them are still factories.

We learned all this on a horse drawn carriage ride through the canal district, complete with college "actors" performing vignettes of business people who were once influential in the district.