What Do I Do About the Racism?

I don’t know how to write this post.

I thought about it all day. I thought about it in the early shower I took tonight, specifically early so I could try to process what occurred today. How to process what is haunting me in a way that I’m unsure how to handle it at all.

I haven’t brushed my hair yet, haven’t put lotion on my winter-dry-skin face because I’m trying to process the blatant racism exhibited at a meeting I attended earlier today.

I told my husband, my parents, my co-workers what happened. And I haven’t figured out what I ought to have done. So, in the hopes that I can tag this post properly and use the right hashtags in tweeting it to get some ideas, here goes…

I’m involved with an organization and today was my first meeting as a member of its Board of Directors. I have a deep affinity for the organization and the community it serves.

There are, of course, other Board members. And I understand that just like the every day life I lead, everyone on the Board brings different perspective to the table. Which is perfect, of course. It’s what we want.

But today…

A fellow Board member began talking politics in the middle of the meeting, entirely off topic, specifically commenting on how Michigan’s Governor, Republican Rick Snyder, was doing a really good job. And while I’m from the complete opposite school of thought with regard to Mr. Snyder and the job he’s doing on a variety of fronts, I have learned JUST enough in my big-mouthed experience to not engage in political discussion in groups of people who I don’t know terribly well. It’s better for all of us, in times like these, to hold our beliefs close and work towards the common goals that bring us together. Political discussion works fine around our dinner table at home, on our back patio, over drinks, or where that is the point of bringing people together. But not in this setting.

So, I bit my tongue.

I even kept my eyes and face down so that no one could see my reaction – I’m an open book when it comes to my emotions.

I’d done well, I thought, in avoiding confrontation and making a scene.

And then, the same individual who had commented on Governor Snyder’s really good job, segued into a discussion about Detroit, about how he couldn’t understand how all these blacks had been elected mayor and driven the city to bankruptcy all those years, and then had to elect a white guy to get them out of bankruptcy.

So…

To say I was shocked was an understatement. I don’t THINK like that, let alone speak in public like that.

But here was this guy, saying these things.

And — I averted my eyes, bulging out of my skull though they were, avoided confrontation and avoided making a scene.

I. Said. Nothing.

Nothing.

And it’s haunting me tonight, 12 hours later. Having said nothing.

I feel as though my silence, in this rural Michigan town, somehow could be construed that I AGREE.

And I do not.

But, how does a white woman like me speak up, in a room of all white men and women, in a community of almost entirely white men, women and children? What words could I have used? What could I have said?

Honestly – I’m asking HONESTLY. What could I have said that wouldn’t jeopardize all the things I’ve worked toward personally and professionally?

I live in this community. I work in this community. I LIKE the community.

I DISLIKE people speaking this way.

Part of it is naivete – it’s not like I don’t know there are people in the world who feel that way about other demographic groups – but I didn’t…

I don’t…

I don’t know.

I could have made a statement, of course. I could have used my words – which can be sharper than knives – and could have stood up for how these words and the discussion made me feel. I could have said that it made me feel uncomfortable. But that would have put this person on the defensive, I fear, and it would have been confrontational. It could affect my work. It could affect my livelihood.

I guess what I am searching for are words – for the next time I find myself in a scenario where the discussion makes me feel uncomfortable and how I can deflect the topic while making it clear I do NOT agree with the views.

Sharing memes on facebook doesn’t change the way racism affects me, affects the community my family lives within. But the way I react and the words I use — maybe they can.

So what can I do? And how do I do it?

 

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The First Purchase of…

…our wedding!

 

I have been sort of wishy-washy on the wedding thing. Every wedding I go to I sit and mentally criticize the things that the bride/groom choose to spend SO MUCH FREAKING MONEY ON and vow that I’ll never do it. Never spend THAT MUCH money on one day.

 

Well, I lied.

 

Jon said he wanted the party, but being a bit of an introvert, making a big to-do of a ceremony wasn’t high on his list. Neither of us being religious, it’s not like we’d have a church rolling out the red carpet (sorry) for us. To me, I wanted to publicly promise, in front of those I loved, to love Jon for the rest of my life as my husband (wow, that’s weird to write) and ensure that those people there would hold both of us up through our ‘good times and bad’.

 

And that was about as far as I got.

 

I thought that perhaps we could just take a nice trip/vacation some place and celebrate, just the two of us. And then we’d come home and be married.

 

I thought at one point that we could have something relatively small at the golf course where we live and are members. That sounded like what I wanted to do, really. Except, even to simply FEED guests in a way I’d be proud of, I was staring at a huge bill.

 

I was conflicted. I wanted to be married in front of my family and friends, but I wasn’t sure I could commit (ironic, right?). As we discussed it more and more, Jon said he didn’t care, really, that he just assumed that I’d always dreamed of a party. So, essentially, the ball was in my court.

 

I told Jon “I’m going wedding dress shopping with my Mom on Friday. Maybe I’ll know after that what I want to do.”

 

And I did.

 

Even if Jon and I went to some place tropical and got married, I’d still want to celebrate with the people I love. I can’t imagine not having photos of the event, not building memories for my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, friends with us. I feel like memories are the foundation of, well, everything. That, and photographic proof.

 

I tried on wedding dresses. I went in completely open-minded, not actually being sure I WANTED a wedding dress. I honestly thought I wanted something off the rack, slightly altered to fit me, from some place like Nordstrom’s or Saks. I felt like I wanted an evening gown style dress. So, I looked at them. I tried them on. I didn’t love them.

 

We had our appointment at Becker’s Bridal, which is located in this podunk town of Fowler, Michigan. The entire town seems to revolve around Becker’s Bridal – there’s a bridal store, a bridesmaid/mother of the bride dress store and a guys wedding attire store. The local economy hinges on wedding season, it appears.

 

I tried on several dresses and Danyel (our wedding-dress-guru) was amazing. She just kept plugging away, asking questions about what I liked, what I didn’t like. It was an amazing experience.

 

I’d actually put my own clothes back on and we were looking for round two of dresses to try on, when Danyel brought out a dress and asked if I’d be interested in trying it on.

 

‘Sure’ I said.

 

And that was it.

 

The last dress I tried on was the dress I bought (well, my Mom and Dad bought! THANK YOU).

 

I feel like a kid in a candy store and yet like an adult – sort of silly and yet incredibly excited. This dress – my dress – honestly makes me feel the most beautiful I’ve felt in a singular piece of clothing…it’s gorgeous. Err…I mean…it has a ribbon and a bow. My Mom is adamant that no one know what the dress look like until THE BIG DAY so the line is ‘it has a ribbon and a bow’. That’s what I’m allowed to say. And since she was the one who encouraged me to try it on – well – she gets to set the rules. That, and did I mention she paid for it? Yup, her rules go.

 

Like my Mom said, I kind of had talked everyone into acting as though getting married isn’t a big deal, but it IS. Regardless of how big or small the wedding or the reception may be.

 

So, when push came to shove, I knew what I wanted. I was decisive and all that good stuff…and Jon just rolled his eyes and breathed deep.

 

I swear – I swear – that I’m going to remain normal throughout the planning process. I’m going to act natural, of course.

 

But in the meantime, I think I’ve got a photographer picked out too…

 

I’m so looking forward to publicly promising to be Jon’s wife (again, weird to write), to have my family and friends watch and celebrate with us. I’m looking forward to making memories on that day, on the days leading up to it, and all the days after.

 

I’m a sucker for a great party – so here’s to our wedding!

Day 18…in the life of Elle

It’s been 18 days, can you believe it?

I know there is a lot to catch up on, for sure, but I think instead of feeling intimidated and overwhelmed in catching up, I’m just going to update you on where we are NOW.

Elle is 18 days old! Can you believe it?

I remember writing (or at the very least commenting to others) about blogs I read where the women just had babies and I was disappointed that it took them so long after having the baby to write again. Well, now I get it. If I had the time/energy/resources in the right place at the right time I’d have written a lot. In my head, I’ve been writing lots of blog posts. The problem with that is that I most certainly remember less now that I have at any time in my life, so…those blog posts are gone with the fleeting memory that created them.

Not that those of you reading at home will notice, but I was just gone on a 20 minute hiatus due to a second-in-as-many-days diaper blowout. Poop? Yes. And to think I was worried that she hadn’t pooped in her first few days at home!

I went for a nice, long 2 mile walk today with the sun shining and a cool breeze…we don’t have many days left like this in Michigan this year, so I’m taking them for all they are worth.

I don’t know where I stand in post-partum weight loss, because I haven’t necessarily stepped on a scale that I trust. My pre-preggo pants do not yet fit, but I have to say that I think I’m pretty close…I figure I’ve still been a little bit swollen, but in the whole scheme of things, I feel pretty good about how my body feels and looks right now, for 18 days out of delivering out sweet baby girl.

I have been thinking a lot of how to describe loving our baby…and for a few days it was all so surreal and unreal that I don’t think that I was doing a good job visualizing how I felt about her or how her arrival impacted my life. But, the other night it came to me…it’s like my whole heart and all the things I’ve loved and cared about are still in the same place and still occupy the same space in my life and consciousness…but she outlines all of it. Seriously, loving Elle is like having my heart outlined with thoughts of her, dreams for her, fears for her and a fierce sense of protecting her.

I also have these weird moments where I’m terrified about her safety – like what if this slippery, clean baby slips out of my cautious hands? So then I’m even MORE cautious so that I have a good hold, that I know that I have her. It’s like I have to take an extra beat in the things that I do to make sure that her safety is first. Like, coming to a four way stop. I feel like I took those a lot less seriously 19 days ago. I would always assume the other cars were stopping, too. But now, I wait. I have the time. I will wait to make sure that those other cars on the roadway stop at the stop sign. Even if she’s not in the car. Because I want to be there for her.

It’s amazing, really, to understand how quickly your world goes from revolving around yourself to revolving around someone else.

In this, Elle’s third week of life, she’s beginning to have better control of her arms and hands and fingers (Jon swears that she is intentionally clawing his face this week!). She is awake for longer stretches at a time (somehow, though, not at the moments when her grandparents stop over…she seems content to sleep through the visits of most people).

Jon got laid off from the power plant job the first week we were home, which has worked out well. He and I have had a chance to get to know Elle together, separately and to work at being parents together, too. And I feel like somehow, at least right now, we are really firing on all cylinders when it comes to being parents together. And I feel like our relationship is healthy, too. I think we’re both respecting each other’s need for sleep to the point that neither one of us feels too sleep-deprived.

All in all, we’re all happy and healthy at our house.

To end my ‘I-hope-I’m-back-in-the-swing-of-things-and-post-more-often’ first post, here’s some Halloween shots of Elle.

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Just Write: October 11, 2011

~~This post comes courtesy of the Just Write project from The Extraordinary Ordinary. Thanks for the motivation!~~

The sunroof is open in the black 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee I’m driving today.

I’ve got the windows down, too. It’s 80 degrees in mid-Michigan today and I’m loving it. I’m even sweating a little bit.

I find my thoughts wandering to the state of the color change happening to the trees around me, reflect on my final days as Lindsay, when I’m no one’s Mom-with-a-capital-m.

I feel the spreading smile across my face, remembering Jon and I watching yesterday as a yellow and burgundy tree literally shed its leaves as we pulled out from our driveway.

I had noticed the wholesale emptying of the branches and was contemplating the why and the how of the beauty of Mother Nature, my day with Jon and our ability to share quality time with his parents ahead of our own becoming parents deadline.

And Jon commented, “Did that tree just decide RIGHT NOW to get rid of all its leaves?”

One minute, the tree was still in its color change and the next, it was changed.

And we served witness.

It was the sharing of the moment, the sun shining on us, that gave me pause. It was a fleeting moment when our minds and bodies were in the EXACT same moment.

And I thrive on that – and savor it – knowing that it’s the little moments, not the big ones, that are making up our life together.

A Day in the Life: October 8

Well, this is my first time ever posting a “Day in the Life” as challenged by a fellow blogger over at Navigating the Mothership. I’m actually a day beyond the challenge, but I really wanted to capture a day in my life RIGHT BEFORE BABY arrives, so I’m hoping my capturing yesterday (Saturday) will work out alright.

4:07 a.m.: Here’s what I stared down, crawling back into bed after using the bathroom for the THIRD time since midnight. Seriously, this baby girl better be coming soon, I can’t handle the all night bathroom runs.

You can see my iPad laying next to me. No TV in the bedroom, so I take the iPad to bed with me while Jon’s out of town so I have something noisy to help me drift off to sleep.

6:37 a.m.: Decide that reading the facebook updates, NYTimes headlines and CNN headlines and trying to figure out what’s going on with Occupy Wall Street stuff is better left to do when wider awake. Play a few games of Sudoku on the iPad. I’ve now been up for two and a half hours and am not tired. Awesome.

8:36 a.m.: Wake up without an alarm and check the time. Check the photo I just took and realize I need new bedside lamps in our room and I need another bedside table for ‘my’ side of the bed. Start a list of things to shop for on the day.

I decide that shopping can wait as I’m enjoying my laziness and know my days are numbered when this laying in bed reading is a luxury I can afford…so I read “Mother Shock: Loving Every (Other) Minute of It” which was referred to me by a co-worker on Friday and I downloaded to the Kindle for iPad app. I’m really enjoying the read so far. I switch back and forth between that book and “When Did I Get Like This?” referred on another blog I was reading (sorry, can’t remember which clever fellow blogger recommended that one…I’ll do better remembering and keeping track next time!).

10:07: Decide my eyes are tired from reading, remember that I’ve been meaning to delete some photos off the iPad for awhile and set to figuring out how to do that to free up some space for other stuff (pics of my uber-cute baby girl who should arrive any day now!!).

My Mom calls and wants to know if I want to errand shop with her and I tell her that I have my list made for the day, and I don’t want to be gone all day long. Neither does she. My Dad is out golfing (did I mention they only live nine houses down the golf course from us?) and my brother is odds-on still sleeping after a late night at the fraternity fundraiser thing (I think). She says she’ll pick me up at about 11 a.m. Time for me to mosey on out of bed.

10:25: Head for the kitchen to make breakfast while the shower warms up (yes, I’m wasting water, but whatev’s). Grab for the Raisin Bran but think better of adding any more fiber into my body as I ate AN ENTIRE BOX of Frosted Mini Wheats over the course of the day Friday. So, I opt for Cinnamon Toast Crunch and pour on the milk.

10:30: Shower time and get ready for the day. I change outfits a few times looking for the most flattering option. HA.

10:56: Walk by the office and realize I REALLY need to clean it before Jon gets home Sunday. Add that to the list of things to accomplish.

10:57: Final picture before heading out. Feel like I”m having a good hair day after getting my hair cut earlier this week. Still haven’t washed it since the color/cut (the woman who cut my hair recommended not washing it as much as possible…awesome, that’s a low-maintenance new mom hairstyle if ever I heard one!)

Take one side view of the preggo belly, technically at about 39ish weeks.

Notice the shower door in the background – this is why “The Works” is on my shopping list. Have to do something about the soap scum that has existed there for far too long. Don’t judge me and my cleanliness nor the blue countertops in our master bath. If you really love them, you’d especially love the shit-brown carpet.

See the red hangy thing from L.L. Bean on the towel rack on the right of the photo? That’s my ‘go bag’ for when I head to the hospital. Packed and ready to go, you see.

11:15 a.m.: Mom comes over and carries my laundry basket upstairs and I finish folding laundry and moving it through the ‘system’. We head out in my Dad’s truck (it’s going to be a quick shopping day, remember, but I am shopping for a nightstand).

My Mom – she says ‘you’re not going to take my picture all day long, are you?’ as I explain to her I’m cataloging a day in my life. I assure her I won’t take pictures of ONLY her. In fact, this may be the only one I got.

We decide to head to Value City Furniture first.

11:40 a.m.: We waltz through the furniture store and we decide to walk up and down every aisle (again, it’s going to be a quick shopping day). I find the dining room table and sideboard that I LOVE. It’s sort of an updated old fashioned.I didn’t know if it was against the VC Furniture rules to take photos, so I didn’t get a great picture…but still. I have this for my memory.

11:45 a.m.: Run into Shirley, Andrea’s Mom, in one of the aisle’s with one of her friends. They are shopping for new chairs for Shirley’s friend (whose name escapes me at the moment). But, we chat for a minute about how I’m so close to having the baby, etc. We part ways and continue up and down the aisles. In the mean time I text Andrea to let her know we ran into her Mom and to let her know that I sent her the photos I took of them.

Ends up they didn’t come through to her email because they were too big, so I posted them on my blog  Sunday instead. We text back and forth for a minute about what we’re doing, etc. Nothing too interesting.

Shirley mentions as we’re talking that they had just come from Lovegood’s furniture down the road in Fenton, so my Mom says ‘oooh, we should go there to look for your nightstand’.

12:00 p.m.: Leave the furniture store and head down the road to Fenton. As we’re on our way we decide to have lunch at a favorite spot, The French Laundry. It’s a ambiance-heavy spot in downtown Fenton.

12:10 p.m.: Mention to my Mom that “The Weed Lady” is on the left hand side. She mentions she’s never been to that store, so we pull in. While overpriced, it’s a cool little place with awesome landscaping. I take a picture.

The water feature here is just awesome and since we have a pond that will require some TLC next summer, we debate if this would work – or something like it – in the backyard pond.

Did I mention that it’s a GORGEOUS day and is about 80 degrees in mid-Michigan? It is. Crazy for October.

12:25: Hit up Lovegood’s. Definitely a good place to remember to come back to. Find a few pieces that I think would look great in my house so I snap a few pictures for inspiration.

I don’t know if this green color is going to be popular or is on its way out of popularity, but I really liked it in this setting with the white cottage-y table and shelving, with the blue/gray walls and the cool white/navy chair. The mirror even tickled my fancy. So, I think this is pretty inspirational.

Notice how in the green dining room chairs that they have the cut out so you can sweep your feet back under them? That whole set is just really well thought out. Place into memory bank that I need $1900 for that set if that’s what I want. Ugh. Why can’t everything be Ikea-cheap but not all as modern as Ikea?

Have to use the bathroom for the who knows how many-ith time. I ask the woman at the ice cream counter (yes, there’s an ice cream counter in this furniture store…don’t ask me!) if she point me toward the bathroom. You’ve all seen how my belly sticks out. She looks me up and down and says “I don’t know if we’re supposed to let anyone use it today.”

I was annoyed but tried not to let it show. Her fellow co-worker looked confused and just pointed me back toward the back of the store. Was it because I wasn’t wearing a wedding ring in this uber-Christian store (they also sell bibles and have bible verses on the windows of their store). I guess I should have taken a few pictures here, because I’m making it sound weird-trashy but it’s really not. It was just bizarre.

1:10 p.m.: Head to The French Laundry and put our names on the list. They tell us it will be 20-25 minutes, so my Mom and I decide we are going to head down to the Iron Grate for some quick shopping. I’m on timing-duty so we’re back within the 20-25 minute window. We find some cute things and my Mom picks up a gift and I pick up a card for a friend, Katie, who just had her second baby girl. The Iron Grate is super cool and as we’re checking out to make it back within the 20 minute window, the sales clerk mentions the upstairs. I didn’t KNOW there was an upstairs in the Iron Grate! So, we decide we’ll come back AFTER lunch.

1:30 p.m.: We have missed our calling at The Laundry and I have to get a little stern with the hostess. She says they’ll get us a table. I feel like people aren’t being sympathetic enough to my pregnant state. I feel weirdly PMS-ey for some reason.

1:37 p.m.: We get seated! Yeah!

Oh yeah, I changed my clothes from the pictures I took in the mirror after my shower.

We order – me a Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Greece and my Mom a Georgia Reuben (I think) with the old kind of pickle.

2:07 p.m.: We are STARVING. Our food still has not come. And while not known for its quickness (it’s food is home made, not like Applebee’s or Chilis style) this has now gotten excessive. We finally get our food and I dig in before taking a picture. But, I did manage to get a picture…

Grilled pita with tzatziki and hummus, grilled chicken breast, tomato, cucumber and red onion with a pickle on the side. It was DELICIOUS. My new favorite.

Here’s my Mom’s sandwich. Looks like a kitchen-sink style sandwich, but I assure you it was also delicious (or so she said).

As we sit at lunch, I get a text from my Aunt Jill wondering if I’m having the baby.

No.

2:40 p.m.: We are done with lunch and need to do some final shopping wrap up at Iron Grate and Mimi and Lola’s in Fenton. In the meantime, I had texted my Aunt Lori to see if she wanted to join us for lunch. She said that she was actually working over at their house and if we would, to stop by. So, we make a plan that we’ll head there after lunch (and some additional shopping).

In the meantime, my Mom treated me to lunch but let me get the Supper Club points on my French Laundry rewards card. Annnnndddd….I managed to get my first reward…I reached 250 points, which means I got a $10 gift card! How freaking awesome. I took a picture just because.

Find a SUPER cute trinket gift for a friend at Mimi & Lola’s as well as a cute hat/prop for our Minnie girl.

Find some more cute stuff at the Iron Grate, but I was getting shopped out at this point and needed a break. It was cool stuff they had in the upstairs, but I was ready to go.

3:15 p.m.: On our way to Aunt Lori’s. It’s 4 miles from where we’re shopping, so we go there. It’s a house that they bought and have completely gutted and re-done. My Grandma is there too and my Uncle Kim is just enjoying a beer as they sit on the deck overlooking the water.

This is the view from their new deck (composite). They live right near the entrance to the lake from this canal/channel thing. My cousin Matt, their son who is two years younger than me, lives next door. He just got engaged to Meaghan on Tuesday (yeah!) but they were both out of town, so didn’t get to see the ring up close and personal. It was a beautiful day and I’m really glad that we got the chance to spend some more time with my Aunt Lori before her stem cell transplant begins. It was slated to start this past Friday, but due to a cold that came on Tuesday morning, it is pushed back to this Friday when she’ll begin the arduous process. So, anyway, I was glad to spend some quality time with her.

5:30 p.m.: We finally hit the road to Babies R Us, where I have remembered the gift cards to make some final purchases and feel better prepared. The closer I get the more I worry I don’t have all the things I”ll need for our Minnie girl. I need to stop shopping. But, get the stroller attachment for our City Elite stroller, some receiving blankets that I decided I needed, and the extra parts for the breast pump.

In the meantime, I have also stopped at JoAnn Fabrics and get Buy one, get one 1/2 off on yarns that I needed and get 60% off a frame I needed. So, that was a good deal.

6:38 p.m.: Talk to Jon as I’m checking out of Babies R Us. He is back to the hotel for the night.

7 p.m.: My Mom wants to make sure we drop off her donations to the Salvation Army TODAY. So, we swing through and make the drop off.

At this point, I’m tired, but the man helping my Mom is very friendly. I don’t get out of the truck because, frankly, I’m nine months pregnant and don’t feel like hauling the bags and bags of stuff out of the back of the truck.

We are now heading toward home after our VERY QUICK shopping spree (remember, this started out as a quick shopping adventure that morphed into…well, a full day of out on the town).

7:40 p.m.: I’m home again, home again, jiggity jog. Thank GOD! I’m ready to turn on the TV, sit on the couch and crochet with my new yarn and watch a little Detroit Tigers action in the ALCS.

Light a candle (something fig from Pottery Barn, it smells SO good).

 

7:50 p.m.: Realize I’m hungry for some sort of snack. So, I make myself a yogurt parfait with vanilla yogurt, strawberries and granola. I love the Bear Naked maple pecan granola.

Wish a little bit that Jon was home so I wasn’t home alone. Again. Tonight. But, look forward to him coming home Sunday night!!! Even if it is only for one night/20 hours. I’m just ready for him to be here.

8:31 p.m.: My back is throbbing, so I pop the thing that makes it not do that anymore into the microwave and sit down to watch a little TV again.

Someone once told me to put a cup of water in with it, so I do. I don’t know if that’s even right or not…but…I do it anyway.

9:50 p.m.: Take a picture of myself crocheting with my new stuff. I end up staying up for another hour before I head to bed with the iPad as company again.

Not a wholly eventful day, but just another example of how the best laid plans result in a day of lovely shopping with your Mom and visiting with your family.