Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Random Questions in the Midnight Hour

July 12, 2022 We encounter so many people and experiences and opportunities in our lives. Some of them are one-time experiences, some are destined to be short-term--a person or opportunity that serves a vital role, but then moves on, and then some become permanent fixtures in our lives--vital, inextricable, parts of our future. How do you know which is which? How does one change a mindset from assuming a person or experience is temporary, with the possibility of becoming permanent in the future, to assuming that something has now become a permanent part of one's life--stable, dependable, deeply ingrained as part of the fabric of our existence? When do we become that for someone or something else?

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Bree is Coming Back to the West Coast

March 29, 2022 Brianna decided a couple of months ago that the East Coast life is not for her. As her mama, I am not at all sad that she'll be moving back to this side of the country, but more importantly, I am very happy that she is making a career decision that is going to serve her skills and desires. It is just as important to be reflective enough to recognize what you don't want to do as it is to understand what you do want to do. She came to the decision that continuing to pursue studying law would not be fulfilling for her in the long run, and she has chosen to move forward in her previous career path. I am so glad she chose to make that change now, rather than continuing to try to make something fit just because she started down that path, and then finding 20 years later that she regretted that life. Changing your path, or quitting something because you realize it's not for you is not a failure, but rather a sign of reflection and maturity, and I am so proud of her for her choice. Next week she'll be heading back to Fresno for a week or so, then she'll be headed up to Seattle to reunite with her former roommate and bestie, Kaci. They'll be sharing an apartment again and working at the same place (albeit different departments). I am thrilled that Seattle Children's Hospital will be her new home as she begins her new journey as an Executive Coordinator in the Office of the CEO. Hooray for new adventures (and a much closer flight to Mom!)

Monday, March 28, 2022

Well, I Didn't See THAT Coming...

March 28, 2022 Like a lot of people I know, I love to watch the Oscars every year. I love the glamour of all the dresses and unique suits, the love letter to the art of film and the craft of story-telling, and the speeches that never fail to make me cry. The past couple of Covid years gave rise to unprecedented changes to the ceremony, like it did to nearly everything else. This year, I was looking forward to a return to a more normal Oscars. Initially, it felt like it was going to be just that. There were some beautiful moments, there were some humorous moments. There was the celebration of movies that made me want to plan a movie marathon in the near future. And then... Chris Rock came up to present, and he did his brand of humorous banter. Topical, a little edgy but relatively tame, appropriate for the audience and moment. And then he turned his eye and wit to Jada Pinkett Smith. His flippant joke referenced Jada's medical condition, alopecia, about which she has recently spoken publicly. She has struggled with hair loss and has made peace with it, it seems, and showed up looking positively regal and beautiful at the awards show. Chris rock saw her sitting near the front of the stage, and took his shot. Will Smith appeared to laugh at the joke at first, but Jada did not, and immediately after his initial reaction, Will Smith quickly and boldly strode on stage and slapped Rock across the face, hard. On live, national television. It was so surreal that at first it seemed it had to be staged. Rock's reaction, as he carried on after Smith stormed off stage, was professional but he was clearly stunned and rattled. Smith continued to rail and rage from his seat before the show continued on as before. Smith would later accept his Oscar with a tearful apology to the Academy, to his family, and to the other nominees, among others. Chris Rock was not among those who would receive an apology on the stage (though it would come a day later). There's a lot to unpack here. First of all, although comedy does push boundaries, it is a particular brand of meanspiritedness that seeks to find laughter at the expense of those with medical conditions or issues about which they have no control. Chris Rock says his joke was in reference only to a movie, rather than her condition, but her condition is the thing that made Rock reference that particular movie (G.I. Jane). I don't buy it. You want to make fun of people's choices? Sure. But a difficult medical condition? Not okay. And honestly, even though Pinkett Smith had made a post about her acceptance of her new look on Instagram, that doesn't make it public fodder for someone's amusement. Her call, not anyone else's. That being said, Smith was absolutely out of line. I like Will Smith. I always have. His every-boy charm is one of the things that make him so relateable and charming for so many people. So this side of Smith was so out of the norm that his behavior was shocking. It would have been shocking from anyone, of course, in that arena of general goodwill and decorum, but especially so for Smith. Everyone in the room collectively gasped. Even when he won his Oscar twenty minutes or so later, and he issued his tearful apology, it lacked what it really needed to garner a true acceptance--accountability. He apologized, was shamefaced at his behavior, but said he was doing it to protect his wife, his family. He chose to excuse his behavior by justifying it, couching in terms of loving his family. He wanted to be a beacon of love, a model of standing up and protecting those who need it. But no, Will Smith, one does not become a model, a beacon of love by assaulting someone. That does not a beacon of light make. That does not justify the actions. To be a true model is to act and speak in love, which is much harder to do with those with whom you disagree. I do not mean to imply he should have sat impassively by while he felt his wife was being attacked, but there were many other ways to handle it. To address Rock man-to-man after the event, or back stage, and for him to demand a public apology from Rock at the event would be one way to handle it. To have made his point deliberately, openly in his acceptance speech and to denounce that kind of mean-spirited 'comedy'. I know he didn't know if he was going to win, but it certainly would be a possiblity. He could have made some public commentary (as he did subsequently) through his social media, which would of course have a wide and far-reaching audience. His behavior was inexcusable. Lastly, I am appalled that Smith was allowed to remain in the audience after the assault. He should have been escorted out. I can think of very few others in that room who would have been given the same sort of grace in that moment. I am guessing many people thought it would be too awkward to figure out on the fly how to address his potential win if he had only minutes before been removed for his behavior, but that is not reason enough to look the other way at a physical attack. If they were worried about lack of decorum and awkward recovery, Will Smith had already crossed that bridge. He was allowed to save face because it was too uncomfortable to have to address it outloud, and that is no reason to close one's eyes to an assault. In the aftermath, both Smith and Rock have come out, most assuredly with the help of their publicists, to make public apologies, as they should. Calmer heads are prevailing, and they are each owning their poor behavior and choices. Certainly some of the apology is an attempt to regain their status as affable, loveable entertainers, rather than pure, true contrition, but it's a start. They both played their role in sullying what might otherwise have been a beautiful and momentous night, and they will both have much work to do, publicly and personally, to regain what they lost on Sunday night.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Play Ball!

March 27, 2022 
Last week I was out of town for Rafe's first baseball game of the season, but this week I was able to go watch. I don't love watching baseball on T.V., but live and in person, I can definitely get behind. (It doesn't hurt that he looks cute in his uniform!) We were out at the Roosevelt field, which unfortunately has no bathrooms and no shade. I'm going to have to keep that in mind for the next time we go out to that field. It is a lot of fun to watch him play, as well as to listen to their banter during the game. It will be even more fun as I start to get to know who all the players are. One of his teammates has a wife who comes to the games, so we hang out and chat during the game, which is great. The only down side to Sunday's game was that although there was a bit of a lovely breeze, the sun was shining brightly which means that by the end of the three hour game, I had developed quite a sunburn on my shoulders. I'm going to have to remember to bring sunscreen to future games; it's not going to get any cooler out there as we move into summer.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Fresno Foam Glow Run

March 26, 2022 
Danielle pointed out to me that it's been since she was in high school the last time she and I did a Color Run together. (She has since graduated from college.) I didn't realize it had been that long! I think in the past we have done 4 Color Runs, and they have always been a lot fun--vibrant, loud, energetic, and of course, colorful. I also like that the runs (I should put 'runs' in quotation marks, since I do not run the full 5k--there is very definitely a lot of walking involved, too) give back to the community here in Fresno. The ones we have done in the past have benefitted Valley Children's Hospital, which I am all in for. So when I saw an email not long ago about an upcoming Foam Glow run, I asked Danielle if she would be back in Fresno during that time and if she'd like to do it with me. She was game, so I got us registered. Well, let me tell you, this event was definitley NOT run by the same folks who organize a good Color Run. It was out at the fairgrounds on the horse track at night. This was because, presumably, there would be glow-in-the-dark foam throughout the course. Nope. Turns out, when we go to a color run, they provide the color that they shower down on us as intervals as part of the fun. Here, they had five stations set up around the (very poorly marked, and mostly not paved) 5k path. The stations had two towers each of suds that rained down in soapy streams of pretty standard white foam that slid right off the body--no staying power. Also, it was not in the least glowy. There was nothing that glowed in the dark except for the glow sticks of the people who had purchased them on their own to bring to the event. (There was nothing indicating that we should do this on the website or in the registration. I assumed there would be something about the Foam Glow event that did, in fact glow. I didn't know I had to provide it myself!) Each of those tower stations had tiny speakers that meekly played a slightly thumping beat that faded out of earshot about 20 paces past the towers. No water stations along the way, and no humans helping to direct the zig-zagging path. The huge dance party at the finish line? It was nowhere to be found. The organizers and the DJ's hyping the event and making sure things were fun and ran smoothly? I saw literally one dude at the starting line, portioning off the runners so we didn't trample each other out the gate, like a herd of wild horses on the track. That was it. That being said, Danielle and I have a habit of snark and sass, and this provided a perfect opportunity for us to provide running commentary that at the very least amused us. As Danielle said, we make our own fun wherever we go, and this was no exception. Recently I said that sass was the love language between the two of us, and it was definitely in full force at the Foam Glow run. Not much foam, almost zero glow, but lots of good bonding time between my kiddo and me. No regrets.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Oscar Contender: Movie Night

March 25, 2022 In my quest to see as many Oscar nominated films as possible before the Academy Awards (at which I will fail miserably this year), I wanted to have a movie night tonight. I have only seen West Side Story so far, and we were limited to what was available for streaming. That left us with Don't Look Up as our option tonight. I invited Rafe over to join Danielle and me for dinner, and then we watched the show. Honestly, JenniferLawrence, Leondardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, and Jonah Hill were all very good in this film, as one would expect them to be. It was a pretty strong social satire, albeit quirky and odd. I enjoyed it, as did Danielle and Rafe, but I also suspect it was too non-traditional to take away Oscar gold on Sunday night.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

My Boy Visits

March 24, 2022
In addition to getting to see both of my girls this week, Nicholas also came home on his days off. That's a trifecta!

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Hanging With Danielle

March 23, 2022 Danielle's spring break is this week, so she's off from teaching and decided to come home and spend the week with me. Sadly, it is not my spring break, so I don't get quite as much time as I would like with her. Wednesdays are my long days, since I teach at night in addition to my day job, but I still told her if she didn't mind eating late I would make us dinner and we could hang out after class. I set something up in the crockpot so that I could spend less time in the kitchen, and so that a lot of it would be ready by the time I got home from class. We dished it up and curled up in front of the t.v. to watch the live-action version of Aladdin, with Will Smith, and then we watched tik toks together. I feel bad for her because she's been a little sick on this vacation, but even getting to spend quiet relaxing time together was really nice.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Girls' Night

March 22, 2022
Girls' Night
Tonight we were supposed to have dance class, but we have been trying to schedule a Girls' Night Out for a long time now, and our night schedules are making it nearly impossible! I teach on Mondays and Wednesdays, and Francie teaches on Mondays and Thursdays. I've been a traveling fool on the weekends, and Tuesday night is our dance class night. Mo graciously offered up that we could skip dance this week and just go have a cocktail together. (Ha ha--Mo was not sad about missing class. She's a trooper, but it might not be her favorite thing I've ever dragged her to.) Anyway, we needed to catch up and give updates on what's happening in our lives, which is a lot right now, apparently. You just can do that in counts of eight on the dance floor!

Monday, March 21, 2022

Cherry Blossoms Around the Neighborhood

March 21, 2022 

Cherry blossoms around the neighborhood
Before heading out on the plane, we took Leslie out on a walk in the neighborhood to check out the cherry blossoms that D.C. is famous for this time of year. Flowers were everywhere!