Saturday, March 2, 2019

I am haunted.

I took the kiddo to the playground yesterday. The weather forecast calls for frigidly cold temperatures next week, so I thought it would be our last opportunity this week to go and get some of her wiggles out. The sun was shining and I anticipated a lively playground at the park. Instead, we had the whole park to ourselves. I don’t typically like crowds, but something about the quietness made me fearful. I recognize the fear. It feels as familiar as a close friend.

Three years ago on the eve of the elections, in a country caught up in one of the most divided elections laced with heightened racial tensions, my mom (who was visiting) and I were chased down in our car by two older white men in a truck. I had been driving behind them for much of the way home, and when the driver took into the turn lane to exit, I sped up to take the same lane for the next turn exit. I assumed he had turned off and only found out that I had cut him off when I checked my rear view mirror and saw him angrily tailgating me. Feelings of panic started to bubble up inside me, but I had my mom next to me and knew I had to keep my cool. So I stuck to the original plan of stopping for gas before heading home. I pulled up to the gas pump and was about to exit the car when here comes the beat up truck turning abruptly around the corner, nose to nose with my car. I felt my adrenaline pumping. Out of my front windshield, I saw two extremely agitated white men. At first all I saw were their angry gesturing. I couldn’t make out what they were yelling. I turned to look at my mom who was by now, concerned and puzzled. I tried to reassure her that we were fine. She asked me why those angry men were yelling at me to “back up” and “go home” and I lied to her that they just really wanted to use the pump I had. So I backed my car up, pulled into another pump and exited the car to get gas. Home was less than 5 minutes away and I could have gone home, but I was afraid the bullies would follow me there. I knew I definitely didn’t want that. Plus, I felt I had to continue the act that everything was fine and dandy for my now really frightened mother. We were able to get gas and go home without any further harassing.

As we all now know, Trump won the 2016 elections the next day. The very same week, videos of racist attacks from everywhere started surfacing online. I saw one of a white woman berating a Latino woman who was standing in line at a cashier. I know why none of the other white people around reacted. It is no longer possible to identify who else in line might be a friend or foe. And if you’re not the one getting yelled at, then maybe it is just easier to keep your mouth shut and stand by idly. I encountered video after video of the same kind of hatred. It got to be too much, so Zach deleted his Facebook account. We had seen enough. On the streets, strangers who use to greet me with smiles now scowl at me instead. I became oddly aware of my non-white skin. I started to fear going places because I never knew who were the racists amidst the crowd. It felt like I was on high alert all the time. It didn’t help that I also almost always have with me a baby girl whom I needed to care for. Not just from the racists who act out, but just the mere idea that she might be treated differently because of the color of her skin. She does not need to know that kind of hate until we have the chance to teach her to protect herself.

I have never felt less safe in this country since Trump. After the elections, I struggled for a long time with close friends and family who were Trump supporters/enthusiasts. I tried to reconcile their political choices (and hence their moral convictions) with the person I thought I knew, but there is to be no reconciliation. Something that I’ve come to learn over time, is this: If you are for Trump, then you are not for me (and my family). Plain and simple. We can co-exist, of course, because I see no point in returning your hate with more hate. To those who don’t think their vote for a morally corrupt leader has hurt anyone, whose conscience has dulled, I say lucky you. You have white privilege. You can strut the streets, you can drive like you own the roads, you can fly your confederate flag, and you can have your shitty president. You can continue to live in your willed ignorance. Best of all, you don’t have to care about others if you don’t want to.

But for those who care, you have the chance to change things. Your vote matters collectively, but your individual courage and candor can make the playground feel safe again.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking forward.

Happy New Year's eve. 2016 sure flew by fast for us, and almost everyone we've talked to feels the same. How are you feeling? What surprised you this year? What inspired you? What have you accomplished? What about those resolutions you made at the start of the year? What are you looking forward to in the new year?

2017 is a blank slate, a chance to start afresh, and an opportunity to carry on all that was wonderful in 2016. As much as I am dreading January 20th, the new president and his administration of bigots, I still have hope. My hope is that human decency will win out, that we will choose respect, tolerance, courtesy, and consideration for our neighbors over hate and animosity. I pray we will have the courage to stand up for those who are different and people whose rights have been compromised, oppressed, or threatened. I am scared, but my fear compels me to raise an even more compassionate and sensitive child. She is my hope. She is our future.

Friday, December 30, 2016

December 2016 highlights

The baby's birthday kicks off our December full of celebrations. And what are celebrations without a little bit of baking? This month, we made oatmeal cranberry cookies,

loaves of milk bread,

a layered peaches and cream cake for the little one's birthday, (and then a pumpkin cheesecake too for her birthday party at Christmas!)

and we even made and decorated sugar cookies!

Winter is off to a cold start and turning the oven on brings warmth and great smells to the house! :) 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

November 2016 highlights

From left to right, first row:

~ We planted more than a dozen mammoth grey sunflower seeds but only one grew. After pulling it up and letting it dry, we harvested more than enough seeds to try again next year! Somehow I think the kiddo will be entertained by the enormous sunflowers and I can't wait for her to see them!

~ Purging! I decided that it was time to declutter the closet so I grabbed some trash bags and went straight to work sorting, tossing, and cleaning. It took me the whole afternoon, but it was worth it. It felt really good to downsize and rid myself of all the things I never wear anymore. Instead of lamenting how I never have anything to wear, my smaller wardrobe is actually filled with more options and things to mix and match! 

~ Jumbo sycamore leaf! We've been thinking of turning our front yard into an arboretum. Apart from the fact that we could use more privacy from our neighbors, it is just nice to have some more trees around. This year alone, we've planted 5 eastern red buds, 2 magnolias, and 2 witch hazels. Next year, the plan is to get some red maples and some evergreens. 

Middle row:

~ We stayed up to witness the super moon and boy was it magnificent!

~ We did not get to spend Thanksgiving with the family last year, so we were excited to be a part of this year's feast! I made this awesome wild rice stuffing with apples, dried apricots, cranberries and bacon. It was super yummy and looked like a bowl of shimmering jewels.

~ We made pumpkin pies as usual. This is the best pumpkin pie, and you can find the recipe here.

Bottom row:

~ Zach and I took the baby to her first art show in Chicago -- "Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis." This painting, "American Totem," (1960) gave me the chills. Lewis brilliantly depicted the racist, hate-filled, ignorant society of his day with abstracted figures and a klan member on the top. I cannot help but fear that history is haunting us. I cannot help but fear for my daughter's future. 

~ It was just another Saturday afternoon when we looked out the window and saw a giant hot air balloon attempting to land in our neighbor's yard! It was a funny and unexpected sight to behold!

~ Thanksgiving hand turkeys. We think this will be a Thanksgiving tradition for us, at least for the next couple of years!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

October 2016 highlights

My mom came to visit in mid-October, shortly after the baby turned 10 months old! They have not seen each other since January, so I was eager for my mom to see how much her granddaughter has grown!

My mom was only here for 3 weeks, but during that time, she got to witness the baby taking her first steps!

We all agree that having a child in the home makes you experience the everyday things in a new light. For example, I started obsessing about the weather and longing for nice days so we can play outside. I also started paying more attention to the different types of crispy leaves,

colorful leaves,

and spotting wooly worms.

We went to a pumpkin patch and picked out pumpkins to carve,

and, for someone who usually paid no attention to Halloween, we actually made an effort to dress the baby up in a costume!

Monday, December 26, 2016

September 2016 highlights

Zach painted a new street piece as part of a studio visit from the local art league. Robin Hood and Little John were some of his favorite characters as a little kid, so it was super fun to see them larger than life on a wall! Oodelally oodelally, golly what a day!

September was also all about preparing for the last gallery walk of the season. It is unlikely that we will keep a studio space downtown once we finish setting up the one at home, so Zach wanted to create a some new paintings to exhibit.

This is "Fragmentation," a series of 12 abstract assemblages. Each piece is collaged from previously "failed" paintings, each one bears a unique pattern, each one a blend of old and new.


I have to say, it is pretty amazing to see Zach's creativity at work. This was a particularly arduous series to put together yet he seems to have a way of channeling his frustrations into new creative outlets. Art, in his case, is always about solving a problem. You try, you experiment, you experience, and the results are all the better for the struggle. This also means that there are really no dead ends or impassable obstacles in art. Sometimes, all you need are some new perspectives and the willingness to "destroy" and start over.

p.s. "Fragmentation" is still on display at the studio downtown. If you'd like to stop by and see it sometime soon, send us an email!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy Holidays!

From our family to yours,

wishes for a happy holiday season!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...