Friends, food and fun

The last two days— when not paying bills, shoveling snow, fighting pain and surviving work at the Bizzy Hizzy— has been a blend of chores and silliness.

I took Teenager #1 for a drive yesterday to navigate city streets made narrow by snow and drive in whatever slop we could find so she could experience driving on snow and ice in a controlled manner.

She asked for something from McDonalds so I got her an iced coffee, and I wanted to go to Dunkin across the street for my iced coffee.

I ordered the coffee on the McDonalds app and no lie— it took 45 minutes to make it through the drive through. At Dunkin, I got a cold brew with cream, the coconut flavor shot and one pump of the pink velvet syrup.

Yes, they have the pink velvet syrup in things other than the pricey pink velvet macchiato.

At work in the Stitch Fix warehouse, I tried to get a picture of the inflatable Valentine’s dinosaur…

And I got assigned to QC. I assembled 89 fixes and was very grateful when my Tylenol and ibuprofen managed to numb the pain in my spine. I listed to two IT innovation podcasts featuring data science, algorithms and Stitch Fix.

After taking Minerva of the Roman Pride to FURR’s cat adoption event at Petsmart, teenager #1 and I went to Wegmans across the street. Now, we are expecting snow again tomorrow AND it’s the Super Bowl so of course, it was crazy.

But it sure made this generic bologna sandwich taste amazing.

A social worker friend and I discussed budget tactics, loan amortization and the influence of white privilege in the disability sphere.

Then our neighbor and our favorite little dog stopped by. We finalized dinner plans to go to our favorite local diner— and wow was it lively tonight.

Not only did we have the brand new waiter (whom they hired instead of teenager #1), but there was one guy who looked like his mask came out of a BDSM scene and a sweet little old lady wearing fingerless gloves who sent back her omelette so many times they ran out of egg whites.

The poor new waiter dropped food on the floor and broke at least one plate, didn’t have any grasp of the menu, was slow as molasses, and could not keep track of the condiments. But don’t worry, we were patient.

Apparently my request for a tuna melt on rye confused him, because he had to return to the table to confirm that I didn’t want a tuna melt and an order of rye toast.

And during one of our trips today, we fished the Yuengling out of the yard that teenager #1 tried to throw to the neighbor as he was snow-blowing.

After all that, and much trademark cackling, we finally did the soda taste test video we’ve had planned: Weird Sodas (Ramuné in melon and strawberry, Major Melon Mountain Dew and A-Treat Pumpkin.

That’s some real pandemic excitement.

A night contemplating white privilege

Last night I stayed up late and joined a Zoom call at 10 pm Eastern Time sponsored by the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center in Seattle. The theme for this social justice “cafe” was “white privilege.”

I love to see what other nonprofits are doing to promote racial and social justice, and more importantly, how they foster discussion on important topics.

So, I picked this Zoom, in part, because the facilitator is the sister of the matriarch of The Velez Family, dear dear friends of mine. It’s so amazing to attend an event where you know the people running it have something impactful to say and come from a diverse background.

And I got to socialize with folks from the West Coast!

Sam opening the session

The really, really neat part of this discussion wasn’t the fact that it covered a very important topic—oh no! The wonderful part of this discussion is that the host organization has designed the materials as a “kit” to allow meaningful conversations that can be reproduced among various groups.

The reflections, questions and materials promote open dialogue of various perspectives and hopefully will challenge the participants to have a better understanding of how race-based privilege, unintentional/ socially ingrained bias and ancient laws/codes all still exist and prevent society from truly “moving on” or working together.

I encourage you if you need resources to launch discussions of social justice, explore this nonprofit’s web site: International Peace & Justice Center. They are a faith-based group, but they recognize that everyone has a different spirituality.

Their web site opens with calling racism a sin. And even though I am not a Christian, I will be the first to agree that racism is a sin. Especially now. It’s 2020. Humanity should be ashamed at how we treat one another.

Your First World Privilege Is Ending

Today was my first day of working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Dining Room/Grant Command Central

I haven’t worked from home since my daughter turned 18 months old.

It felt liberating. Roll out of bed, have a cup of coffee, toast a bagel, and head to the dining room table to fire up the borrowed laptop.

In my pajamas.

This whole COVID-19 illness has had a profound impact on communities and on families. The economy and job security are threatened. We will all survive— but as someone working in non-profits, I see this crisis from multiple angles.

But when I first saw empty shelves in grocery stores I thought, “Wow, this is like shopping in Africa.”

You see, in my travels in Africa, shopping is a different experience than here. Shops usually only have one version of any item. And they might not have any of some items. And they are small.

People in less developed countries have less choice than we do. They have less resources. They have less opportunities. They have less corporate businesses. They have unpredictable utilities.

This virus has proven a great equalizer— because suddenly ordinary Americans no longer have access to all the stuff and businesses that they traditionally frequent.

No longer do you have 15 varieties of toilet paper to chose from.

No longer can you just find when you want at the exact moment you want it.

Let this remind you that this is what some people in the world face everyday either due to living in the wrong country or due to poverty.

Privilege is redefined now.

Be humble.