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The Weekly Digest

Aron had taken the next 10 days off for our summer travel, so we are all taking a break in Lake Tahoe. Summer is my favorite season here, and it will be a good lead up to next weekend’s special celebrations: Hudson turns nine! And Aron’s parents celebrate 50 years of marriage!

I’m doing my best to come up with some fun surprises for our fella, since he can’t be with all his friends. I don’t think a night goes by when Aron and I don’t repeat to each other some thing he has said or done that day with the conclusion “he’s just the sweetest.” We would, of course, love him regardless, but it’s true! I don’t know that I can imagine a kinder boy. And he’s bright and inquisitive and fun to boot. I hope we can make his birthday special. So far he’s asked for mom’s cottage-cheese pancakes for breakfast and daddy’s “best-burgers-ever” for dinner, so I’d say we’re off to a good start. That, we can do.

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The Weekly Digest

Kadir Nelson’s portrait, “Distant Summer,” of a child looking both at us and beyond us seems fitting for an image on the eve of this year’s holiday. The painter discusses the New Yorker cover and a potentially lonely summer, “in the midst of a pandemic, with a large part of the country still in lockdown, [with] global protests against ongoing discrimination and violence against black people” in this issue’s Q&A. And on his instagram, where you will also find more of his incredible work, the artist statement goest further to say “As he enjoys a frozen ice pop, he is torn between wanting to be a kid and being forced to consider his future in a bizarre and rapidly changing world around him.” We have a copy on our kitchen counter and I can’t stop looking at it.

How is everyone doing?

We have some close friends (with two same-aged kids) we have “bubbled” up with over the past few weeks, and they’ll be over tomorrow. I’m grateful that our kids have companions with whom to play—it really made a difference. Skyler’s mood seemed to be getting especially low and seeing them together really highlights the kind of imaginative play she would otherwise risk missing without a peer. Hudson and his buddy have been deep into origami and scootering—a nice balance to the reading he can otherwise occupy himself with for hours.

We were supposed to be leaving for Barcelona in a few days, so I’ll be looking for ways to transport myself mentally through last year’s travelogues while we’re barred from Europe for the foreseeable future. (If anyone there can get me a recipe for Bar Mut’s Egg carpaccio—with crispy angel hair, gambas, pine nuts, and loads of butter—I’d be grateful!) Aron and I have been making our way through the How to Cocktail book (his Father’s Day gift), but I keep wanting to come back to my favorites. He’s currently making us Lavender and Coffee liqueurs from scratch and we’ve ordered the bark for making homemade Tonic.

With the kids out of school there seems even less time for anything resembling work, but I’m doing my best to carve out some hours. Still, when there is free time it’s very rare that I feel like I can get into it. I’m more likely to crave some TV time. I just finished a not-very-good but still addictive TV show, Virgin River (love Martin Henderson), and have realized how I miss ‘those’ kinds of shows… like Grey’s Anatomy and other slightly soapy, romantic dramas. What are you watching lately?

I did a Zoom chat last night to discuss Eloquent Rage with my bookclub—and it was wonderful! I highly recommend reading or listening to Cooper’s work on defining feminism and specifically Black feminism. Going to be thinking about it for a while to come. What have you been reading lately?

I have a calendar full of posts I’d like to finish and share but forgive me if things are a bit sporadic around here. Hopefully you’ll still check back…

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The Weekly Digest: Juneteenth

This weekend begins today with Juneteenth—a holiday celebrated each June 19 to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States—and ends Sunday with Make Music Day, a worldwide celebration of music that is perhaps happening in your town. It also happens to be Father’s Day—and I know some stellar ones who deserve some celebrating. How will you be honoring these events?

Here in Davis, Juneteenth is typically celebrated at a huge community event sponsored by The Culture Co-op, the Yolo County Library and other community spaces, but in the absence of large gatherings, Preacher Cleveland, host of “Praise Time with Preacher” on KDRT, our local radio station, is taking over the “Listening Lyrics” spot this Friday, June 19 at 4 PM with a special show—a mix of history, touching on topics from the evolution of Juneteenth to the Tulsa Massacre, weaving in songs of protest and praise, and connecting it all to the current-day Black Lives Matter Movement. The National Civil Rights Museum also has a children’s storytime featuring the book Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper, if you’re looking to introduce it to your kids. Finally, there’s also a wonderful piece about the Juneteenth holiday in The New York Times today, with great archival images. “To me, Juneteenth matters because it says: Keep going, the future you want is coming. — Veronica Chambers”

Wishing you all well this weekend—and Happy Father’s Day to Aron and to our dads, John and Al!

In honor of Juneteenth, I wanted to re-share a post I wrote a couple of years ago, when National Memorial for Peace and Justice first opened in Alabama:

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