Monthly Archives: November 2013

Most. Beautiful. Vespa. Ever.

Most. Beautiful. Vespa. Ever. I suppose none of you who knows me ever expected to hear that from me–but feast your eyes. There is something about the drudgery that set in with my earliest school days that makes me love being somewhere out of my routine. In that out-of-routine way, I often loved being at home, sitting, quiet and alone at the dining room table, working, or driving somewhere in the middle of the day– during the time I was unemployed. I really love being out walking on the street during the workday, to a doctor appointment or to come home for the plumber or electrician. A few weeks ago, I came out of a doctor’s appointment, rushing to get back to work. It was overcast and starting to drizzle. But walking east on a main artery in our city, I saw this Vespa, locked up on the sidewalk. I stopped in my tracks, and looked. I looked closely. Then I walked on. As I waited for the light to change at the corner, I thought it was starting to rain harder, but I had to double back to take pictures. Being out in the air during the workday is good and is doubly good if you come upon something so beautiful as this. I left a note wondering, who thought of this? Who did this amazing work? It’s good to live in a world where someone thought of such a thing. And did it. Thanks to whoever you are, for the traveling art.

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music. joy. Ashanti Floyd

I’ve been sick. Bad sinus infection, bad, bad cough, asthma and laryngitis– voiceless for days. I whisper. I’m fine, I’m healing. My two girls at home and others have actually taken very good care of me, but nonetheless this particular version of sick, with many hours spent awake and coughing at night, means a lot of time alone. Tired. My sister had a surgery yesterday, her third in less than a year, for a problem which has recurred and which I hope will continue to be benign and which I hope will resolve altogether. Soon. So I have had her on my mind a lot and my wish for her health and longevity, how much I depend on her and want the best for her.

I’ve always loved music; and the music I love reaches in deep — birth, death, time passing, fighting for what is right, the depths of connection to the people I know and love, and the connection to the beautiful, vast, interesting, busy, heartbreaking, good world. I often love people who make music. It’s such a pro-human, pro-living, pro-world thing to do.

Last night as my daughter was going to sleep we (in this new kind of world, instead of reading together) pulled her iTouch over with us as she sat in bed, talking to me. She played me a few songs she’s been listening to and though I often like her taste, they didn’t do it for me at all. When she drifted off I searched on the few words I could remember of the now very popular song, Wake Me Up by Avicii (an artist I had never heard of until I searched the song) and found it immediately. I listened to it two or three times. Then I found this cover which is jaw-dropping joyful, alive, hopeful to listen to and to watch.

Bending the arc toward justice. In my corner of the world.

Martin Luther King said, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I love this quote and it is both easier and harder to see the truth in it as I grow older. I have a longer view for sure, yet in in pockets where discouragement has built up, or has not healed fully — there are places I cannot hold out hope. By way of example, I would say that Obama’s first presidential election victory was one of the starkest illuminations of the fact that what I believed impossible was not accurate. I understood, after he won the election, that I needed to reexamine every corner where I feel change will not come.

It’s been another month without a posting. But a lot has definitely happened. Some of those things, which are small, small things, in many of your eyes– are welded to the part of the “arc of the moral universe” that I have my eyes on. Things have happened that have made me think about King’s idea that the arc bends toward justice. Also, I am, hopefully, on the brink of a very big and positive change in my own life, which I’ll write about if and when it happens. In the meantime, say a prayer and keep your fingers crossed for me.

So here are a few things on my list of the moral arc, bent toward justice. After my posting about the volleyball team dumping the less skilled girls, a small group of those less skilled girls bravely stayed together to practice and didn’t give up. Several girls did drop out so for those left, it wasn’t so easy and it wasn’t so noisy and fun. But after a few weeks, a number of girls had dropped out of the so-called varsity team and the so-called junior varsity team and so the coaches called all the girls back together as a single team. My girl played in the championship game which they lost. But losing was of little importance. Seeing all of those girls, ready, enthusiastic, hopeful and trying hard, was a small, but perhaps not so small, victory for women and girls everywhere.

On the racism front, the racism in school and in the fabric of the school has been more and more visible to my partner and to me. My daughter’s class had an assignment to do that involved crafting a proposal for a final project on the graphic novel, Frankenstein. For the umpteenth time– they were going to all submit their ideas and then the teacher would pick “the best” idea and that would be the assignment for the whole class. For the first such exercise (not about Frankenstein), the assignment of one of the upper middle class white girls, one of about four girls in N’s grade who are so often singled out as the best and the smartest, was chosen. But for the proposed project about Frankenstein, N’s proposal was chosen! N didn’t kvell about it (Yiddish for burst with pride, rejoice), barely mentioned it twice, but I think having a victory in the academic realm went in very deep for her. And heck, the prize for having your proposal chosen? You don’t have to actually do the assignment you proposed and you get an automatic A on that assignment. Victory on many fronts!

N is now preparing for her Bat Mitzvah which is just a few days short of one year away on the Gregorian calendar and less than a year away on the Jewish calendar. Some other time or never, I will write about what I did and did not require of her, what she objected to and how it was that she ultimately chose, with the option to reject, a Bat Mitzvah for herself. Along the way she decided that she wanted a double Bat Mitzvah– to do her Bat Mitzvah with another girl, which is common at our synagogue. Two years ago we approached and were turned down by not one or two, but four different families and it was very hard on all of us. It made me wonder if our “welcoming” congregation is really in deed, ready for a white lesbian couple with a daughter of color. We didn’t fully get over it, but we set it aside and went on with our plans and N grew more and more excited about her single Bat Mitzvah.

Change frame, change scene– then something kind of normal and something kind of amazing happened. We went our fall Girl Scout camping trip and a new girl had joined the troop. She too is adopted, she is from Ethiopia and is gorgeous, sunny and lively. Not unlike my girl. The two girls laid eyes on each other at the camping trip for the first time at Scouts and immediately recognized each other from Hebrew School.

A week later, N came home and said the Cantor had suggested that they do their Bat Mitzvahs together. Though I will admit I hesitated for a moment, I talked it over with my dear partner, with N and with my sister who serves as my advisor on all kinds of things. Then I called and talked to the family of the other girl, and we have decided to go ahead and have the two girls celebrate their Bat Mitzvahs together. H, their daughter, is wonderful, and I like both her mom and dad quite a lot (I don’t yet know her brother, but I’m sure he too is wonderful). So my daughter will celebrate her Bat Mitzvah, with her sister and her brother, their parents, and all her extended family around her, with her two moms who will be beaming with pride, and with another Jewish girl of color–up front and center with her– a new friend and a girl who with her, will bend the arc and bend the ark– toward justice.