This summer

This is my short list of goals for this summer. I’m still taking quarantine very seriously, so my summer plans don’t involve much going out around other people, aside from my boyfriend who I’ve been quarantining with. But I’m not worried, I think we’ll still have a great summer.

Pick our own produce. Upick is kind of the perfect socially distanced activity. You drive right in and out of the fields in your own car, and there’s plenty of open space to wander away from other people. Our local farm is pretty huge and offers tons of different fruits and veggies to pick like raspberries, peppers, cherries, zucchini and much more.

Kayak as much as possible. A couple years ago we invested in our own kayaks and a big fancy rack to transport them on our car. I think it’s one of the best investments we’ve ever made. Living in Metro Detroit, we’re close to lots of lakes and rivers, so there’s always a new spot to explore. I really can’t think of a better way to spend a warm summer day than cruising down a river in my own little boat.

Take a couple trips up north. My family has a condo on Lake Huron with a really nice, big beach that’s nearly always empty, making this another perfect quarantine activity. All I want to do when I’m up there is lay on the beach, go swimming, eat lots of snacks, and maybe go for a hike—all perfectly easy things to do while avoiding other humans. Plus, the trip up there is only 3 hours, so we don’t even need to stop for bathroom breaks (as long as we watch our beverage intake!)

Take care of our garden and use our fresh produce. Right now we’re growing squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, rosemary, parsley, and garlic. I can’t wait for the plants to start fruiting and to cook with all this lovely, fresh produce. We have SO many tomato plants right now—I think I’ll work on perfecting a salsa recipe this summer.

Launch my Etsy shop for printable planner pages. I’ve been slowly working away at creating some printable planner pages for like…over a year now. I tend to really take my time when it comes to personal projects like this, but I’m happy to say this one is almost ready to launch!

May/June things

Wow, hey July. We’re here already, huh?

What have I been up to the last couple months? Great question, let me see if I can remember that far back.

I recommitted to learning and talking about racism. This is an exciting moment of deeper understanding and focus on a problem that has been swept under the rug by white people for far too long. We are moving forward and I’m committed to being a part of that. In particular, I’ve been really interested in the (new to me) concept of defunding police departments to give a bigger portion of city budgets to more productive areas like housing, schools, mental health, and addiction services can lead to better outcomes and less violence.

I’ve been doing lots of yoga and going on lots of runs. Taking the time to slow down and breathe during my yoga practice or getting my anxious energy out with a run around the neighborhood makes an incredible difference in my mental health. Lately, my brain space has felt pretty scattered, and moving my body every day is one of the best ways to make that space feel a little less chaotic.

I took a walk every day in May and woke up at 7am every day in June. And I liked it. I thought it would be REALLY hard to complete these goals, but it actually wasn’t once I committed to following through with them. I only missed 1 day of walking and 2 days of waking up at 7—not half bad considering how little self control I usually have when I don’t feel like doing something!

I discovered how much I like working in the yard. It’s been clear to me for a long time how good it makes me feel to spend time outside. And for the last few years I’ve enjoyed growing herbs and vegetables in our backyard. But I’ve always thought about putting in the effort to make the plants grow better and the yard look nice as boring, waste-of-time work. Maybe it’s just me getting older, but this year I actually look forward to spending time out in the sun pulling weeds and tending to the plants. I love the feeling of being coated in sun and dirt and sweat mixed with the pride of having an outside space that looks and feels so much more beautiful and inviting.

Black Voices Matter

I feel like my brain has been in space the last couple of weeks.

It’s hard to stay focused on anything other than all the work we need to be doing for racial justice. There are so many great conversations happening online right now and an ever growing list of important actions we all need to be taking to overhaul the unjust systems we’re living under. I’m trying to keep up as much as possible while also meandering through all the other life stuff I have going on.

Luckily, one thing I have been able to accomplish is making my usual monthly playlist. My playlist themes always revolve around the season and what I’m feeling each month. So obviously, I’m here to present to you: Black Voices Matter—a collection of some of my favorite black artists I’ve been listening to lately.

Please listen, enjoy, and stay engaged!

A short anti-racism reading list

Continuing on the theme of books from my last post, I wanted to talk about some nonfiction books that I’m excited to read. I’ve seen these books recommended repeatedly over the last couple of weeks, so they seem like the right place to start my anti-racist reading.

I’m going to have to break my longstanding trend of not buying new books (usually opting for the library instead, which is sadly still closed) so I can pick up some of these titles. And when I do break that trend, I’ll be buying from a black-owned bookstore. Check out this list for a rundown of black-owned bookstores around the US where you can place online orders.

What’s on your to-read list right now?

SYWTTAR

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

“In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.”

HTBAA

How To Be An Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

“Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America–but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.”

TNJC

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander

The New Jim Crow is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement.”

MAWS

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad

“This eye-opening book challenges you to do the essential work of unpacking your biases, and helps white people take action and dismantle the privilege within themselves. Based on the viral Instagram challenge that captivated participants worldwide, Me and White Supremacy takes readers on a 28-day journey, complete with journal prompts, to do the necessary and vital work that can ultimately lead to improving race relations.”

WF

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, PhD

“Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.”

My favorite books by black authors

Broken-Earth-books

The Broken Earth Series by N.K. Jemisin

This series is so good and so well-written. Jemisin combines sci-fi and fantasy to create a richly detailed world where ecological disaster and racially-based genocide have built a future in which apocalypse is a regular occurrence. It’s bleak, beautiful, and unforgettable.

 

Orisha-series

The Legacy of Orïsha Trilogy by Tomi Adeyemi

So far, only the first two books have been released, but I CANNOT wait for the last installment. Set in an alternate, fantasy version of Africa where the magically gifted, who have been hunted and oppressed by a cruel king, fight for the promise of a return to their power. It’s a thrilling adventure all the way through.

 

boysnowbird

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

This book makes everything feel off-kilter while dealing with real issues of race, identity, and family secrets. Oyeyemi places you in a darkly whimsical world where reality and fantasy brush up against each other enough to make you lose your bearings a little. It’ll make you question what you think is real.

 

Thick

Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom

This book of essays is a heavy read, but so valuable. Cottom has a singular way of narrating her experiences that is ruthlessly honest, moving, and smart. I didn’t expect this book to challenge me so much, but I’m really pleased that it did. It’s a book to take in slowly and probably read more than once.

 

bluesteye

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

If this book doesn’t break your heart and open it up to a new perspective, I simply can’t help you. It’s a very heavy read that follows the life of a young black girl and the inherent trauma she and her family experience simply from being black in the 1940s. It should be required reading, especially for anyone who is not black.