Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Books I Read (June)

For the first time since Carson was born,  I finished a book. 

The Time Traveler's Wife 
By Audrey Niffenegger

I started this book a week before Carson was born 
then limped through it bit by bit over a 4 month period. 
Until we went on a weekend getaway in the Poconos 
and I was finally afforded some quiet reading time. 

Things I loved about this book: 
- The Premise 
- The Writing

Things I didn't like about this book: 
- It is loonnnngggg. 
Even without a newborn baby in the house, 
it would have been a struggle to finish. 

But I'm glad I did and I really liked it in the end. 
I would like to watch the movie to see
 how they condense and/or butcher it. 

Friday, June 12, 2020

End of COVID19 Posts

I am hereby ending my weekly COVID19 Posts. 
12 weeks straight, I posted stats and updates, 
and I know I'll appreciate reading those in the future. 

There was a time I thought COVID19 
would be just a brief blip in our lives, 
but now I know it is here to stay for a long time.
It's depressing, but it's the new normal.

Looking Forward: School in the Fall

Pennsylvania's Department of Education (PDE) 
issued extensive new guidelines for reopening schools. 
As of July 1st, all schools are allowed to open under "yellow."
This is a big change from earlier guidance, 
where only child care could open under yellow 
and we had to be "green" to have in-person schooling. 

For the fall, all schools are required to submit a 
Health & Safety Plan for reopening. 
The Plan must include certain guidelines, 
based on whether the county is in red, yellow, or green. 
 In the yellow phase, staff *must* wear face coverings. 
In the green phase, it is up to the school to decide 
if their staff will wear face covering. 

The plan must be approved by the school's governing body 
(for our district, this is our Board of Directors) 
but does not get approved by PDE, 
which makes sense as each school knows its own district. 
I volunteered to be in the focus groups 
currently working to develop our school's plan 
and we had our first meeting call yesterday. 
It's... a lot. 

There is, of course, the looming threat that 
our county could go back to red status at any time. 
Perhaps a COVID19 spike due to lax regulations 
or a seasonal winter spike (like the flu). 
It's always possible that 
Aaron could start in the fall with in-person instruction, 
transition back to virtual school over the winter, 
then go back to in-person in the spring. 
We won't know until we get there. 

Black Lives Still Matter: 

These past few weeks, 
I have learned more about being black in America 
than I have my entire lifetime

I have learned about the appalling lack of police accountability.  
I have learned about white privilege in areas I never even considered. 
I have learned about moments in black history, 
that were BIG F**KING MOMENTS, 
but never made into our history books, 
because our history books are written by whites. 

I know that I am steeped in white privilege 
when I say it's overwhelming.

I remain positive and hopeful, 
as I see friends speaking up. 
Friends who, previously, stayed silent 
or perhaps fell into the dismissive "all lives matter." 
It is so encouraging to see people engage. 

I also have so many new black IG accounts to follow. 
My IG account has been so white for so long 
(a reflection of my life in general) 
and I am excited to change that, little by little. 

Trivial Things... like Weather:

It's really hot. 
Summer is here and all it's humidity with it. 
We've had highs in the mid-80s 
(Texas friends are rolling laughing at me). 
We've gotten so much use out of our backyard blowup pool. 

Our pool club opens this coming weekend. 
And you better believe Monday at 11am, 
me and my crew will be there with sunscreen on. 

I am immensely intimidated by the challenge 
of getting a baby to nap at the pool. 
All of my pool friends have promised me it can be done 
and that we will find our groove. 

Random Other Things

Aaron's last day of school is today. 
I've gushed about him before 
but I'll say again that I'm so impressed with him. 
He can clearly teach himself 
which will be an invaluable skill come highschool 
and higher education. 

My 35yo husband has started reading Harry Potter. 
Adam never had an interest in HP before, 
but listening to Aaron and I talk about it, 
he felt left out and decided to start. 
The Sorcerer's Stone being so short, he's almost done.  
Meanwhile, Aaron and I are just finishing up Goblet of Fire 
(still my favorite book!) 
and Aaron is trying to convince me to start Book #5. 
I refuse and tell him we have to wait until he's older. 
He is not happy with this answer. 

I'll leave you with this picture of Carson. 
He's so chubby it kills me. 
He's got a triple chin 
and Michelin Man muscles 
and rubber band wrists 
and lumpy knees.  
It never ceases to amaze me that so much delicious chub 
could come solely from breastmilk. 
Does that not blow your mind?  

Friday, June 5, 2020

COVID19 Week 12

COVID19 Week 12

Current Status
Pennsylvania has 73,942 cases and 5,817 deaths. 
Our county has 7,351 cases and 713 deaths. 

Now that the rate of new cases has slowed, 
the stay-at-home order for out county
is lifted as of today

12 Weeks of a stay-at-home order: OVER.

This Week

Turning yellow is not the most important thing this week. 
America has bubbled up in rage 
over yet another black murder by police
and culminated in a wide spread rebellion 
against the deep racism that has always plagued our country. 

I do not have the eloquent words to speak on this matter, 
but wanted to share a few things I've learned this week. 

First, this great explanation of what systematic racism is 
in a very simple way here
It hit hard for me because a few years ago, 
I voted to keep schools funded by property taxes 
because I wanted to retain control over my kids' school 
at a local level. 
And now I realize that was perpetuating systemic racism. 

Secondly, this fantastic image from theconsciouskid

Every time I look at it, a different thing stands out to me. 
It reminds me that while I have come far in challenging my personal racism, 
I have soooo far to go. 
Emily Today knows much more than Emily 5 Years Ago 
but hopefully Emily 5 Years From Now will understand even more. 

On Making Mistakes

Part of learning is making mistakes 
and I am sharing mine from this week. 

Enter: the black square on Instagram. 

Tuesday morning, I woke up to this black square everywhere. 
I was in a hurry and didn't take time to research it, 
but I wanted to show solidarity, 
so I put up my own black square 
and went about my day.  

Hours later I logged back on to discover that 
(a) I had used the incorrect hashtags 
(b) the controversy of the black square 
was detracting from the real message of the movement. 

My immediate feelings: 
 ("how could I have been so stupid?") 
("I tried, dammit!  Don't yell at me for trying!") 

But that's learning. 
I made a mistake. 
I'll learn from it and keep trying. 
Because that's the only way to grow.