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Author: kate

months in the time of covid

months in the time of covid

since months mean nothing anymore, here are the months in various orders.

chronological

january
february
march
april
may
june
july
august
september
october
november
december

alphabetical

april
august
december
february
january
june
july
march
may
november
october
september

average MN high temp, hottest to coldest

july (83.3)
august (80.4)
june (79)
september (71.1)
may (70.1)
october (58.4)
april (57)
march (40.6)
november (40.1)
december (26.4)
january (21.9)

number of letters in the name (then alphabetized)

may
june
july
april
march
august
january
october
december
february
november
september

length of word in my blog’s font

july
may
june
april
march
august
january
october
february
november
december
september

general awesomeness

may
october
june
april
july
september
december
march
august
january
november
february

what else have you got?

gear for zen in the bwca in the time of covid

gear for zen in the bwca in the time of covid

in two weeks, i’m heading to the boundary waters canoe area with my aunt rae, uncle greg, and cousin lori! we’ll be there for four overnights, then on the fifth night i’m heading to judge magney state park (must be my destination camping park, i guess!).

the last time i was in the bwca, i was 14 years old! that was 27 years ago! i’m old, peeps. the last time i was on a canoe trip was in 2002, which was closer to 14-yr-old me than current me, so that’s also scary to ponder.

before i start to wax eloquent about time like i usually do, let’s get back to the task at hand.

while i have a lot of car camping gear, you can’t just throw your regular camping gear into the canoe and portage it all. well, i guess you CAN (i’m talking to you, norm wallace), but portaging would just be awful. (portaging is hauling all your gear to the next lake.) as such, i’ve had to buy some gear.

i decided to NOT buy a canoe. lori and i rented a canoe and paddles for the trip. but everything else i either have or have purchased.

what did i have?

  • canoepack from the great 2002 river trip debacle
  • waterproof bags that nate inherited during his time as a repo man. (yes, you read that right.)
  • several camping odds and ends, like headlamp (thanks, ragnar!), rainjacket, small LED lantern, etc.
  • nalgene from the 2002 river trip. that bad boy is still going strong, so it’s coming with.

what did i purchase new for this trip?

  • a pair of rainpants
  • a pair of keen watershoes
  • new, more compact sleeping bag (now nate and i own 5 sleeping bags. don’t ask.)
  • fluffier, more comfortable air mattress (this will work well with my cot, too, for the future)
  • $45 ON A (compressible) CAMPING PILLOW DANG IT I’M GONNA SLEEP WELL
  • a hardcase for my CAMERA because you can bet your bottom i’m gonna take my camera and a small tripod with me. my only dilemma now is if i make do with my one lens, or if i bring a second. and which one? wide angle or long? WHAT IF I SEE A MOOSE AND IT’S FAR AWAY?? what if the milky way is super awesome and i want to supersize it?? any additional lens would require some sort of protection that i haven’t figured out quite yet.

speaking of moose, i’m totally on #moosewatch2020. if this year can do one thing right, it can let me see a moose.

so this morning, my aunt rae sent an email with links to videos from the bwca peeps on how to prep for the trip. it was so calming seeing the lakes, and then they had this calming music in the background. i’m looking forward to having a zen week with no access to internet and news. sigh. so ready for that!

tattoos in the time of covid

tattoos in the time of covid

in april i was browsing instagram because what else are you going to do all day while you’re sitting at home, and i stopped at a painting done by one of the tattoo artists i follow. i had started following her in january after the tattoo convention in minneapolis, where i saw some of her work at a booth. generally at the tattoo con, the tattoos are of the motorcycle or dark kind, but once in a while you stumble across an artist who specializes in rainbows and kittens.

love helen ink was one such artist! well, more like flowers and small animals. but, it was enough that i started following her, and her post in april was something that struck me as “wow i have to have that.” it was a painting for sale, but i asked her if she’d be up for tattooing it. so i had made an appointment in may, but she wasn’t open yet, and today – today, finally! – was my second appointment.

i drove to the cities this morning to be there at 9:30, and we promptly got started. after years of saying, “hmmmm, that’s too big” to my tattoo artists, i said YES GO BIG OR GO HOME and that’s what we did.

but first, let’s take a look at her space. she’s located in north(west?) minneapolis right next to young joni’s and dangerous man brewing. she has one room in an upstairs space of a building old enough to have woodwork that i’m jealous of. everything in her space made me happy. we both wore masks and washed our hands, etc.; she pasted the stencil on my arm; and then she got out her pots of ink and got started.

you know me – i have quite a few tattoos by this point. one on each foot, one on my thigh, one on my shoulder. this should not surprise me how painful it is, but it’s either a surprise every time that i forget, or my upper arm is very sensitive. (or i’m turning into a pansy in my old age.)

after she was done with the outline, we took a break and she sprayed lidocaine on my arm – a first for me! i have to say, while it worked, it was GREAT. the sad thing is that it only lasted about 30-45 minutes, and she could only spray it on twice (otherwise the ink does not like to lie nicely).

the outline took a little under two hours, and the color took a little more than two hours to finish up. so about half the color time, my arm was relatively numb with bursts of burny here and there, but overall pretty amazingly numb. i’d recommend lidocaine, even if it is pretty limited. it would work great for colorwork on small tattoos.

generally i can try to zen out and force my brain to tolerate the pain of a tattoo gun, but toward the end it just gets to be too much. i think because i know we’re so close to the end and it’s almost done that my body’s adrenaline has just checked out and wants to be done. which is unfortunate, because the end always seems to drag on f-o-r-e-v-e-rrrrr. but i survived ๐Ÿ™‚

she pasted the dermawrap on the tattoo and gave me instructions, but skimmed over them because, as helen said, “this isn’t your first rodeo.” (haha) i think it’s interesting how each artist has different recommendations for aftercare lube. when i first started, it was A&D ointment, then i was told aquaphor, and helen actually recommended coconut oil! i might try out the coconut oil, but i did just buy a giant tube of aquaphor just in case. she also had different instructions for the dermawrap than my previous artist. when i left, her next client was waiting (who was also getting mushrooms), and it looked like she was a newbie to tattooing. i wished her good luck and headed out.

the drive home was EXCRUCIATING. i can’t remember being in so much pain post-tatt before. i was almost back to st. cloud before the pain finally decided to subside a bit. when i got home, i took two tylenol (not a blood thinner!) and now i’m doing much better. i’ve got yoga tomorrow morning at a winery, so we’ll see how that goes ๐Ÿ™‚ planning on a long run on sunday, but it should be cloudy and cool so i’m not too worried about burning pain on that day.

the only color combo i’m not thrilled about is that gold on purple because i’m hardly a vikings fan! we’ll see how it fades out once the colors subdue a little bit.

**********

of course i promptly went outside to my garden in the beating-down sun when i got home because guess what? it’s PICKLE TIME! currently sanitizing jars for the first batch of 2020 pickles. they’d better be amazeballs.

thus wraps up july 2020, and at least i can say i got one awesome thing out of 2020!

enter august, the most melancholy month.

a bakery review: flour and flower

a bakery review: flour and flower

this morning i drove into st. joe to check out the new bakery, flour and flower, that’s connected to the highly publicized new restaurant, krewe. i don’t know what st. joe’s 15 year plan is lately, but whatever it is, they’re doing it right, because i love everything about that little town. and the little wood-shingled building that houses flour and flower is everything i’d want if i decided to own a bakery.

the little entryway is tiny, and only 3 people could be in there at a time, but it was worth the very short wait to get in.

i nearly passed out from happiness. as advertised, flour goods and flower goods are available. i picked up a bouquet of late summer flowers, grabbed two cookies (both had molasses in them and brown sugar), and added a piece of the chia honey custard pie on my order. coffee was available if i’d wanted, and the shelves behind the counter that holds all the bread was empty – i had arrived too late for bread!

the good news is they’re open at 7 a.m. tomorrow, so i might swing over there again to check out what other baked goods they have, and get a FLOUR POWER shirt that i nearly got today but restrained myself. (i don’t know why i restrained myself.) it’s got a hippie vibe and is just so perfect.

late summer in the time of covid

late summer in the time of covid

most years i’m super excited about the lake time i get. big lake time. my mom’s side family reunion is an annual event held up at leech lake. this year, however, everyone bailed due to covid (#thankscovid) and the only ones who decided to do something was my sisters and me. so last weekend, we headed up there for our fake reunion.

which was ok. i mean, it was a little weird. phill came to visit one afternoon, but other than that, it was just us hanging out, which is very different from what it normally is. plus our cabin was super small! but we had some fun, had some paddleboard time, and ate way more food than i should have.

but you know what that means? summer is OVER. booo. august is almost here, and the light is starting to flit away. #thanksaxialtilt

#thankscovid

#thankscovid

well, so far i’ve had to cancel a couple trips due to covid, but by hell or high water, i’m going to leech lake this weekend for my “family” reunion.

every year, the derry side gets together. well, since covid is a thing this year, all but my sisters and me have decided to ditch the regular get together. probably a good idea, but dang it i want a lake. so liz and fam, jane, and i are headed up to “fake reunion” on saturday to spend 3 days.

it’ll be much quieter, i’m sure, and probably more sober. but it will still be really fun and interesting to see how we spend our time differently. in the past, it’s always been difficult to leave the lake to check out walker or some other place because god forbid you might miss out on something fun (usually not – it’s mostly just us all sitting around and talking or reading or just being with each other, which is ok). so we’ll see what activities and highjinks we get up to this year!

 

2020: the year of hindsight

2020: the year of hindsight

holy cow, could this year be any weirder. remember 5 months ago when WWIII almost started and australia was on fire? that seems like 5 decades ago.ย  like some tweet i saw somewhere in my constant scrolling and need for information overload, it’s like 1968 and 1918 are happening while nixon is president. (one could totally argue worse than nixon. like nixon, buchanan, and harding all rolled into one.) if you support trump at this point, my level of respect for you is at a low point. the man is a useless leader.

anyway. back to hindsight. what i really want to touch on during this short time i have your attention is what’s currently happening with statues and memorials that are being brought down.

the question surrounding this, of course, is if statues and memorials to confederate generals and the like really do enrich a person’s historical education or if it is just a glaring reminder to those whose lives were ground under the bootheel of slavery or colonization.

i’d argue that it is one thing to remember and learn from history; it is entirely another to glorify it. (i have a feeling i’m going to get a withering comment from my dad on this post.) it’s one thing to keep aushwitz open to tours as a reminder of horrific acts that happened under hitler and another if germany were to have multiple statues of hitler looking dapper throughout its country.

i think before we dive into the people who’ve been memorialized by art, we have to take a look at the notion of the confederacy. we all know what we learned in school. the confederacy seceded from the union in 1861. when lincoln was elected, the deep south thought their way of life was threatened, which was an economy based on free labor of people owned by other people. the war began in april 1861, and the deep south was joined by the upper south. a replacement government was put in place.

because the north was pretty industrialized vs. the south and was much better funded and supplied, the south fell after four years. it’s no doubt that gen. lee was a brilliant military tactician. the confederacy lasted four years, but its legacy has somehow remained. just four years as its seceded country and then losing, and the south is still pissed that its economy was dissembled to give all people the opportunity to live free lives. (the current prison system is another story and another blog post.)

no doubt that the south and the confederacy were on the wrong side of history. it was a secessionist goverment that waged war against the united states so they could own other people and enslave them. so the question we need to ask is why it seen as “heritage”? so white people can continue to flaunt racist ideals? does the glorification of the confederate “heroes” continue to make flaunting those ideals ok?

that’s what i mean by glorifying. it’s hard to tell people to stop being racist when they can point to town squares with statues of slaveowners that residents proudly hold up as heroes. it hard to be anti-racist when you wave a flag that represents not just valor justice, purity, and the 13 confederate states, but the willingness of southerners to FIGHT for the right to OWN PEOPLE. and that represents a losing side! i can’t imagine what it’s like to be one of the people that an entire populace went to war to own, especially after that side lost and people are still proudly waving a failed, 4-year government flag 150 years later.

(oh but kate what about the time before the confederacy when they were a part of the united states and they were included in the union? the union turned a blind eye to slavery to reap the economic benefits! so you don’t want to wave the US flag? i would argue that the united states and its flag is ever-changing and working to improve. just like people whose opinions change and evolve, so does a country. also, quit idolizing flags.)

what i’m amazed by with all the confederate statues in the south: doesn’t the south have ANY OTHER heroes or important people? it was a bleak time in the US history, but it’s been 150 years, and there have been plenty of other opportunities for great people to make an impact. there are great people who were from the south who worked hard to get rid of slavery – why not memorialize them, if they want a statue in a place?

holy cow, i am digressing in this post.

so let’s take a look at a few of the people whose statues have been taken down.

charles linn: a captain in the confederate navy, banker, industrialist. one of the founders of birmingham. the statues was installed in just 2013! his statue was taken down after an unsuccessful attempt to remove a nearby confederate soldiers and sailors monument.

confederate monument: this was the oldest confederate monument in north carolina. it was removed by the owner.

robert e. lee: oof ho boy. there are a lot of lee. no doubt he was a brilliant military leader. he was actually a colonel in the US army from 1829-1861. if my memory serves me right, he was asked to lead the union army, but he was born in virginia and so his loyalties lay in the south. he didn’t seem like he necessarily wanted a war. he said “i do not believe in secession as a constitutional right, nor that there is sufficient cause for revolution.” the man served much more time on the US side than the confederate side, yet he is only known for the confederate side. he’s undoubtedly the face and name of the confederacy.

holdup here a moment. as i’m perusing the list of monuments removed, a LOT of them – and i’m talking majority – have been removed by cities or owners or other public entities. many are being moved to museums or organizations that preserve historical monuments. INTERESTING.

so many of the symbols of the confederacy are being removed from prominent locations like parks, city halls, and other locales that are places of honor and moving to places where you would expect historical items to be.

i’m glad you are with me on this discovery, readers. this is important to point out and really focuses on my initial arguments: these items are being removed from a location glorifying them and being placed in a location of history. we are not erasing history. we are just choosing not to glorify a piece of history that represents nothing but oppression for a large populace of the citizens of our country, our united states.

dang, i was all excited to do a “christopher columbus is trash and here’s who should replace him” post, but turns out a lot of these public entities are doing the right thing.

oh what the heck.

**************

christopher columbus is trash, and i’m not at all sad about his statues around the country being dumped into bodies of water. i especially love that the charge is being led by american indians*.

“oh look, i discovered the atlantic!” – CC, probably.

***************

here’s some cool statues, per my twitter followers: mr. rogers in pittsburgh, mary tyler moore in minneapolis, statue of liberty, salmon sculpture in portland, the girl standing up to the bull on wall street, actual ART like the thinker, easter island heads, etc. check out this boredpanda page for a bunch of cool looking art/statue installations!

thanks CNN!

* one thing this has led me to examine is mt. rushmore. i’ve visited many times; it was a staple stop on family trips to the black hills. it’s a national monument, but it was also the six grandfathers to the lakota. the original idea, by a doane robinson, was to carve american west heroes like lewis clark, sacacawea, red cloud, crazy horse, and buffalo bill into the mountain, but borglum thought it should have broader appeal and chose four presidents (who happened to be white men). oh, and borglum? a member of the KKK and had a deep believe in nordic moral superiority. excellent! so while rushmore is something i have a lot of past investment in, i also wouldn’t be sad if the NPS decided to relinquish control back to the lakota. it was theirs to begin with, anyway.

time in the time of covid

time in the time of covid

and like that, we have started on the downhill side of the longer days of the year. we’re in the week where the days are almost evenly long, even so much weirder in that the sun slightly shifts so that sunrise is a couple minutes later and sunset is also a couple minutes later, so it seems that the days continue to lengthen, when in fact they really are staying the same.

it’s weird how time is moving during the pandemic. it seems to equally move slowly and quickly, as we wait for normalization, as much as that is possible. things on hold cause us to view the time moving slowly, yet our routines are so different now and not so routine that time moves more quickly that we’d expect. or want.

routine lulls us into a sense of having more time than we actually do.

not right now seems to be a common phrase. the thing is, if we keep putting it off – continuing to say not this summer, or not right now, or not yet, then soon there is no more summer, no more right now , or no more yet to be. all the years of me putting off traveling or doing things because of money or time is something i regret; and so i want to travel as much as i can while i can. the pandemic is really a pain in that respect.

when articles started circulating that young people were taking advantage of cheap plane tickets at the beginning of the pandemic, i was jealous. i knew i wouldn’t go; i did want to go. one of my young(er) friends mentioned “we’re here for a good time, not a long time.” i like that.

last night i stepped to the edge of my property where the field behind me begins, just as the sun was setting. the field was blinking with fireflies and the sun’s glow on the horizon gave it a pinkish layer, followed by purple and into indigo blue – the gloaming. the gloaming stretches this time of year, extending sunset from shortly after 9 p.m. into well after 10 p.m. before the sun completely surrenders to the earth’s rotation.

all the emotions of the past few months are starting to subside. i don’t want to get complacent and move into an attitude of not caring about current events and injustices and public health, but i also don’t like being angry and anxious all the time. it’s not healthy, and ultimately, it’s not useful. especially when in the scheme of things, we’re a speck on a speck on a speck of dust in this universe.

the best part of the gloaming is seeing the stars start to peek out in the dark blue on one side of the sky with the indigo purple on the other side, our one star subsiding to the others in the soupy star-filled out yonder. look up long enough and there’s a sense of vertigo, of how small we really are, how our time here is short. stardust to stardust – let’s make it a good time while we’re here.

love in the time of covid (and protests)

love in the time of covid (and protests)

yoga practices start and end in anjali mudra, when you set your intention for your practice and then recall your intention. it’s also a moment of calm to focus on your breath and clear your mind. you sit up tall, legs crossed, hands to heart in a prayer position.

today i was sitting in anjali mudra at the beginning of my practice when lesley (my youtube yoga instructor) told us to create a space in between our hands, a space to represent our hearts. normally eyes are closed at this point, but i opened my eyes and frowned down at my hands, tented out to create a little cupped space with my thumbs touching, and i thought “if i could squeeze my heart into that little space and hold it out of my body, i would feel so much better right now.”

that’s when i started crying on my yoga mat.

but lesley, of course, brought it back to love and to send and receive energy in the world, and so i started my yoga practice with my mind and heart a little clearer.

******

on friday, liz and i went to the george floyd memorial where he was murdered. it was later in the afternoon, and the sun was bright, temperature in the high 70s.

we actually did talk about a game plan – what would we do if we needed to leave quickly? do we wear long sleeves? pants? do we need signs? (went with shirts instead of signs.) in the end, since we only went to the memorial we decided that we could wear the shorts and sandals that we wanted to. first, we stopped at megan’s to pick up a couple KN95 masks because it is still a pandemic, after all.

so a little over a week after george floyd was murdered, we stopped in front of the location where it happened to experience first hand what we’d only seen in photos.

the memorial itself was powerfully emotional. it was very much like when i stood in the lincoln memorial and read words from the president himself that had been etched into stone. the outpouring of emotion and personal stories behind each part of the memorial, each bouquet of flowers, each hand-written sign, each intricately painted mural – it’s overwhelming.

i think liz was pretty spot on when she said she felt voyeuristic during our perimeter tour of the four blocks total. it was uncomfortable, and i don’t know about liz, but i did feel out of place, if only because i know i live in white central minnesota. a diverse urban area is not something i find myself in often.

overwhelmingly the businesses that were boarded up against riot instigators were pro-protest. it was common to see BLM spray-painted next to the text that said “minority owned.” and the support from the surrounding homes was very positive. i thought it was really interesting to note that none of the homes were boarded up.

couches sat on sidewalks, and older people sat on them, resting their feet. young people danced and stood and yelled george floyd’s name and the continual mantra “no justice, no peace. know justice, know peace.”

a block in each direction from the intersection was filled with pop-up tents with supplies, food, basic needs for community members. anyone was welcome to join in the community of eating – food is the great connector. there were speakers in two areas, and liz and i stopped to listen to a muslim woman with words of steel, then a muslim man sing the call to prayer.

what’s beautiful was seeing the community. the response. the support. the art.

after we left the memorial, we headed to uptown, where more businesses were boarded up. where more artists were creating art and a sense of beauty out of blank slates and darkness. yes, all lives matter. but for so long, not all lives have. and calling attention to the marginalized, the oppressed, the ignored is what we need to start doing. by bringing it to the forefront, we’re uncovering some uncomfortable truths.

i think it’s ok to be uncomfortable though – and needed. because we need to push through this and come out the other side as better people and a better country. it was standing at the place where george floyd was murdered where i made a decision that i had to start engaging more. as an introverted, conflict averse person, that is really difficult for me, but it needs to be done because this burden can’t land on the oppressed – they’ve been trying for years and it hasn’t worked.

and this is not their problem to fix.

i hate having tough convos because it’s HARD and it makes me angry and sad and feel bad because they’re with people i know and love, and i stumble over my spoken words and can’t find the right things to say a lot of the time. but this is important. i listen. i learn. i will try to go slowly. change is not wrought overnight.

i wish i could cup my heart in my hands, hold it outside myself during this time; it would make this so much easier. instead, i do my best to send and receive love in the universe. and really, isn’t that what matters the most?

a spark at home

a spark at home

as i watched the protests-turned-to-riots unfold after george floyd’s murder, i grew more and more angry. i scrolled through my twitter feed, watching things happen in my homestate, my own minnesota, that i would expect in other places. as i write this, businesses have closed in precaution of possible rioting here in st. cloud (i live about 17 miles away). curfews came and went in the cities, as protesters continued to speak up for oppressed races. buildings burn. smoke fills the skies. people of all colors rage.

*****

sometimes my preconceptions about my friends surprise myself. as my anger unfolded, i watched my facebook feed come to life in a different way than twitter (less real-time, more personal connections). i expected certain friends to say certain things. when i saw particular people like particular posts, i wasn’t surprised. and then i jolted out of my comfort zone a bit as my friend M’s absolutely livid reaction to george’s murder surfaced to the top of my feed. M continues to surprise me in ways that really shouldn’t anymore.

i drove around the cities yesterday on my way to and from a pre-planned visit to see some friends and my parents in SE minnesota, avoiding any protests that might happen on I-35. when i got close to home in my small-town, rural, very trump-country area of central MN, i called M so we could commiserate in our rage toward the MSP police, the inhumanity of this murder, the resulting protests. it was like we fueled each other; we got so riled up. the topic of the looting and fires came up, and once again my preconceptions checked themselves, because M said exactly what i’d been thinking in the back of my head but was afraid to say out loud since this started:

“let it burn.”

*****

M is about as white and catholic as they come. i am as white but not so catholic anymore. we disagree on some politics, but i’ve watched her social stances veer toward left leaning through the years (though, as an aside, i’ve yet to convince her on the recycling front). and really, when you think about it, catholicism is all about social justice andย  stewardship. why more catholics don’t take that stance, i’ll never know. i could go on and on about the maleness of catholicism and how women are the bedrock, but that’s another post. this is about our whiteness.

what’s hard to put into words is the paradox of embracing your whiteness but also realizing your privilege. knowing who you are while knowing that you’ve had a step up, a step ahead, an eye turned. my family was poor growing up, but we never lived in a place where the police regularly drove the streets looking for crimes in progress. i can bet you that every white person has committed some level of crime, and because you look like the cops, they turn an eye. or they weren’t there scrutinizing your actions. what the cops don’t see, they can’t arrest. the same kinds of crimes are committed by white people, and i’d bet at close to the same rate. there is drug use, theft, abuse. there are definitely money crimes. it’s just that the cops choose not to police your neighborhood. they also choose to punish or not punish in different ways – disparate, dehumanizing ways.

we can’t say that we don’t see color, because that’s not true. and we shouldn’t NOT see color. a person’s skin color is part of who they are; it’s a part of their heritage and life experience. to say we don’t see color is to say we are ignoring a part of a person’s identity. would you want to have a piece of you ignored or brushed over?

we can’t say that we don’t stereotype, because that’s not true. people’s brains are wired to stereotype, and unfortunately, we place preconceptions based on past experiences or what society feeds us. we can’t know everyone on the planet, so we need to group people into boxes based on characteristics. the most obvious characteristics are race and gender. after that, we place people into boxes so our brains don’t have to work to the point of fizzling out. i see a young white guy in a camo hat, driving a jacked up truck with an american flag waving in the back? i assume that guy’s a trump supporter. i watch a woman wearing birkenstocks hauling groceries to her subaru in cloth bags? liberal, environmental lesbian. we all do it. our brains can’t avoid it. when you accept this part of your primitive brain, the easier it is to try to work with it and break down the preconceptions.

*****

this afternoon, the president of the place i work at said something that actually relieved me a little bit. i’d been struggling with my feelings of anger. i was so angry at the police. so angry that this keeps happening. so angry that people are so scared of police that they feel like they can’t stop a murder from happening.

i am a run-of-the-mill white woman. i can’t possibly know what it is to be a person of color right now, and if my anger is at this level, i can’t even begin to imagine the anger and frustration a POC is feeling.

should i be this angry? can i be this angry? do i have the right to be this angry?

the president is a woman of color. she spoke briefly at a meeting i was in, and she expressed that we should ALL be angry about this. this gave me not only a sense of relief at the anger i was feeling about george’s murder, but also a sense of humanity. because of course all lives matter.

but this is not what that is about. and you know it.

*****

“let it burn.”

the united states has a history of disruptions and revolutions. the civil war. the depression/new deal/WWII. it’s time for another, according to the book “beautiful country, burn again.” (i would recommend everyone read this book.)

i am not a person who likes confrontation. call me a typical minnesotan. i like keeping the peace. i understand why people want to keep law and order. but when the law and order start to oppress groups, there is a tipping point. i was in an international media class in grad school, and i learned that it takes 80% of the populace to be oppressed in some way shape or form for revolution to happen.

the united states is built on revolution and rebellion. you want to talk about looting? let’s talk about the boston tea party. you want to talk about rebellion? what do you think the declaration of independence is? the first amendment in and of itself is the ultimate form of rebellion and watchdog organizations. american citizens have the right to assemble, have the right to freedom of speech.

i don’t condone violence. and i am the first person to say that your rights completely are yours until they infringe on others. i am no anarchist. but when an oppressed group has tried what they could and the oppressors have failed to notice, something has to give. colin kaepernick peacefully protested, and people got mad.

so when lake street started on fire and looters started to pile out of target with full carts, i wasn’t surprised. i feel awful for the store owners and the people out of jobs and those who will clean it up and the firefighters. and i am worried about residential neighborhoods and the people who live there (good news – there have been no reported injuries from the riots so far). there could be massive socio-economic repercussions for the MSP neighborhood if massive changes aren’t wrought out of this. but i feel much, much worse for george, his family, those who have been victims of power over the years, and oppressed groups.

it’s time to take notice, 80%.

*****

our experiences in this country are different based on what we look like and our background – and if what we look like and life experience matches those of who’s in charge. i’ve had hard times. you have too. like i said, i grew up poor. my 20s weren’t great. but i had access to an education. my family supported me. we didn’t have problems with food. i visited the library often as a child. we had transportation. think about all the things that you take for granted and what your life would have looked like had you not had a consistent education or people who supported you or food or safe neighborhoods or access to places to learn or be yourself.

i’m struggling with an answer to what to do. i’m agitated and feel like i need to do something – go to a protest (not a looting), volunteer at one of the areas that are helping clean or distribute food, donate to organizations that will help. covid, of course, is throwing a wrench into everything. but what i think is needed right now more than anything is to notice and acknowledge our shared humanity. if we see others as lesser than because they’re looting or because they’re protesting or because they’re lighting buildings on fire, and we don’t see that they’re doing these things because those in power have seen them as lesser than this whole time, then it may be time to take a step back and evaluate why you feel the way you do.

because i wish our society cared more about police routinely murdering black people than target getting looted and buildings burning. i wish we cared as much about a white woman lying to 9-1-1 about a black man assaulting her as much as we care about her choking her dog. i wish we cared as much about protecting black people protesting police who murder as much as we cared about protecting armed white people protesting wearing masks and not getting haircuts. i wish we cared more about people than power and greed.

so if this is what it takes for people to take notice and to effect change?

i wish i didn’t have to say it, but let it burn.

*****

When the sun come shining, then I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving, the dust clouds rolling
The voice come in chanting and the fog was lifting
This land was made for you and me

*****

FYI: this was experienced and written before we learned about the number of out of state instigators in the looting. i knew some was happening, but not the extent of it.