The Weekly Digest

How’s everyone doing? It’s been quite a week (or two).  I received many nice messages checking in on how we are out here in California. The fires were very close, and many of our county neighbors were evacuated for a time or—worse—lost their homes. The air grew thick with ash and orange skies greeted us each morning for about a week, keeping us all inside once again. And fires are still burning throughout much of the state, including around Big Sur. Fortunately we are all safe and only had the inconvenience of frequently refreshing air quality apps. But it did also coincide with the end of summer and the start of school, and made the transition to sitting inside for hours in front of computer screens even less auspicious.

Watching first graders introduce themselves on Zoom has been a little heartbreaking, if I’m honest. The kids are handling it all pretty well and so I’m trying to focus on the positives and remain upbeat, but it’s incredibly sad to watch the children try to have their school day on Zoom. Some hid behind stuffed animals, parents, or under desks as their turn came to turn on their microphone and say “Me llamo es…” There are no happy, post-summer reunions, no moments of silly chatter or games of chase. There is no chance of sitting down next to someone whose shoes you like and perhaps making a new friend. With each day, the experiences they will be lacking only come more to my notice. I’m trying to prepare myself for the likelihood that this entire year will be online, but we are three days in and there are definitely some big feelings around here. This photo of a kindergartener on his first day really resonated this afternoon.

Skyler was given a number grid for her to type on—which we will instead be printing out for putting pencil to paper—and it made me think that all of the devices and apps that are making distance learning possible are really limiting our creativity. What would we do if we couldn’t all be online? I can’t help but keep coming back to those old photos of kids in outdoor classrooms during a previous pandemic. We will, however, be starting to meet with a few kids in person next week, so I’m grateful for that… our pod to be.

Everything is much easier with Hudson, who can be more independent and whose Spanish is strong enough to conduct conversations on a computer more easily. But I’m concerned for him as well.

In addition to these all-consuming domestic concerns (literally, all-day), today marks 57 years since the March on Washington March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (August 28, 1963) and yet here we are listening to law and order justifications from the GOP after a black man is shot seven times in the back by police, and after an AR-15 toting 17-year-old militia kills two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

So, really, how’s everyone doing?

Some links to share… 

The 1963 March on Washington was the site of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech. Gary Younge argued, in 2013, that we have misremembered the speech, and asks: “are we ready to really take on the kind of issues he was raising even there?”

Also by Gary Younge, this ten minute clip is a really powerful discussion of protests and the question of violence. Worth a watch.

The spectacle of the RNC. (There was a lot of scary, crazy stuff happening there… like fascist fashion? “Fascion?“)

Hold headlines accountable and other media consumption tips from AOC.

This Billie Eilish Tiny Desk Concert is amazing.

More support for wearing masks.

Why do some refuse? What is the social contract?

The return of The Crown (and introduction of Lady Diana!) in November!

This made me laugh. Especially after both Aron and I came home bearing a replenishment of Everything but the Bagel spice mix on the same day.

Hudson has a topographical United States map on his wall (similar). I’m thinking of replacing it with this map this year to help with geography. Any other “homeschool” decorations that don’t look quite as “school”?

Just finished watching Never Have I Ever (newly minted Maitreyi Ramakrishnan fan) and Crashing (Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s first show, which debuted the same year as Fleabag!)—what should I watch next?

P.S. How to vote in the 2020 election! from FiveThirtyEight. Click on your state. (And watch out for the reasons ballots are typically rejected!)

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