We kicked this past week off with a 16 hour drive Michigan. While we started out strong…after popping into a rest stop in Western PA (‘COVID country’ says Mike) and finding it packed with un-masked people…we decided that we’d just try to drive straight through, only stopping for gas.
My city boys were not impressed with peeing on the side of the road. I don’t know how kids decide this stuff, but this was the trip they both decided to become major prudes.
This was also the trip we ran out of water, soooo…that helped things somewhat.
Eventually — like once we were safely over the bridge in the Upper Peninsula — we stopped for the night, with water and bathrooms and a hotel with all sorts of comforting, COVID precautions. Our room also had a sliding glass door with a direct view of the lake, which we kept open all night, and the smell of home almost overwhelmed me completely.
It’s funny how deeply embedded the concept of home really is. The smells, the sounds, the look of it — it’s in my blood, my bones, my DNA. I grew up wanting to escape into the big, wide world…and yet, whenever I come back home…there I am, whole, my missing pieces falling back into place.
It was good to be here this week in particular. This was the week that many cities — including Philly — announced their back-to-school “plan”. In Philadelphia, our choices are either a virtual-only school that will be run at the district level….or some sort of A/B plan, that involves kids going back to school two days a week, and then having virtual learning the other three days per week.
The details of the plan were…vague. There was some language about “limiting class sizes to 25 where feasible” and dropping plexiglass partitions onto tables if there aren’t any desks.
25 is still a big number.
I think about the classrooms that don’t have windows, and how Pax would run up to his favorite teachers on the playground, getting scooped up into the biggest hugs. I try to imagine his classmates all wearing masks for hours at a time, and resisting the urge to touch each other. I wonder if Raines, almost 13, is even included in the “child” risk numbers for coronavirus, or if he is too old.
I am baffled by this plan. There is nothing that sounds safe — or sane — about this plan. It’s not even a plan that helps working parents: two days per week? It sounds, like one of my friends so succinctly put it, “like we are all being forced to walk the plank”.
I spent most of Tuesday crying. I think…after months of attempting to take this pandemic stuff one day at a time…I think I finally started to mourn. I suspect our old ways of living have irrevocably changed, and while I am hopeful for the future…there is both so much at stake and so much we have lost.
So on Tuesday, I cried. Some of the tears were quiet tears, as I looked up online charter schools and learned about PA’s homeshooling requirements. Some of the tears were Dynasty-worthy tears where Mike got up from his laptop and Raines and Pax came running over and my three guys literally held onto me — held me up — as I sobbed.
I still don’t know what we’re going to do.
I’ve been texting with my girls and having Zoom call meetings with our friends…and we are all at a loss. We are all walking this plank.
I find myself reading Charter school charters and hating myself — I’m a public school girl, thanks. I’m the daughter of educators!! My Dad would roll in his grave if I send my kids to a freaking charter school. Equal education for everyone is what we ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Charter schools go against everything I believe in.
I read the IG posts by @jillianstarrteaching, a 2nd grade teacher who is able to better verbalize all of the things I am thinking about schools re-opening. At a minimum, I would hope that any re-opening plans address the questions she has laid out here.
Philadelphia’s plan does not.
Her follow-up post, here, addresses a few options that could be used going forward. “It’s clear NO plan is desirable” she starts, and then makes a solid case for virtual learning — with additional resources strategically deployed. I can’t stop thinking about it.
The NYTimes also came out with an article I can’t stop thinking about: Schools Beat Earlier Plagues with Outdoor Classes. We Should, Too. Even a recent coronavirus study in China has only one documented case of outdoor air transmission…out of 7,000 kids.
It is so clear that we need innovation, we need creativity, we need our out-of-the-box thinkers.
Instead, I’m afraid we just have Tricia, our public-school airline flight attendant.
Yup. We’re all just walking the plank.
Snake Print Mule-Espadrilles, A Secret Sale, Blackstar Film Fest & Good Trouble
Um. I like these. Normally a shoe that pulls in three trends at once does NOT make it to the top of my wish list…but these Kelsi Dagger – just go with me here — Snakeprint Mule-Espadrilles are cuuuuuute. I like that the espadrille bottom is almost striped (is that a fourth trend?) and that the snake print upper is comfy, stretchy canvas.
The sweetest dreams. I’m more than a little obsessed with these pointelle Madewell PJs. Wow.
The sale I’m shopping right now? J.Crew. This denim dress looks like a designer one I left behind a few years back (and regretted ever since), this silk top is cute and wayyyy more affordable than my beloved Cami NYCs, and I don’t know why I love this t-shirt dress so much but I do. Also, if you haven’t yet snapped up this linen tee, it’s one of my favs.
A fresh twist on hoops. A reader turned us on to Black-owned business Cindy Liebel, and now I can’t stop thinking about these geometric, rectangular hoops. You can pick your color and size (I’m thinking tall, yellow gold) and they’re both beautiful and edgy.
Secret Sale. Adidas just sent over a special code to take an extra 25% off these Stan Smiths (with pink trim), this swingy pink hoodie, this classic track jacket, or these neon red Ultraboost 20s with code ‘EXTRA25’.
Cute new swimwear brand. Anyone heard of Frankie’s Bikinis? I just discovered them, and am obsessed with the cuts — so much more interesting and the bottoms look really flattering. Reviews say to size up one size.
Perfect for family photos. I just came across these Pendelton beach towels (sized large for two people) and swooned. If you are thinking about family photos this summer (and you should — most photographers are hurting right now) these would be a great addition.
It’s Fashun, Brenda. What if I told you…that you, too, could be the proud owner of a white, eyelet parka, complete with beaded cuffs and ruffled balaclava? Sign me up, you say? That’s what I thought. And the best part? It’s only $3665. My work here is done.
Pop some popcorn, Aug 20-26th. Blackstar Film, an arts organization that celebrates the storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and global communities of color, is having an online film festival Aug 20 – 26th. I’ve heard Blackstar Films described as a “source of unbelievable joy, community and creation” and I’m picking up my tickets here. Included in this year’s lineup is a documentary that originally came out in 1970, but was quickly banned. It’s an examination of the colonization of African Art in the British Museum, and the film-maker had gained some seriously unprecedented access to the secret vaults in the museum. The entire lineup looks amazing — and it’s not ALL documentaries, but I am looking forward to seeing Coded Bias, a documentary that follows the MIT researcher who realized that facial recognition software does not see dark-skinned faces accurately. You can read more about the film festival (and see the full line-up) here.
‘Good trouble.’ John Lewis, an absolute giant among men, died on Friday. The NYT ran a piece on his life, and it is an amazing read. I especially love his description of ‘good trouble’ — that’s a phrase that I’m now going to make a common one in our household. Watch Good Trouble, the documentary, here.
More on defunding the police. We’ve been talking for weeks now about what this really means, and I can’t stop thinking about the NYT’s recent article, I’m a Black Police Officer. Here’s How To Change the System. It’s a thought-provoking read.
Coming up next week….it’s a big week, Gang. Next Friday, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale preview drops — which means we get to see EVERYTHING in this year’s Anni Sale (it’s not yet shoppable, tho) and we’ll be putting together wishlists and outfit collages to help get you guys get ready for the sale. We’re also launching the rest of our collection with Voloshin…and it’s all prints. You can see a sneak peek on our IG, here. Lastly, we’re dropping Our Guide to Summer Essentials — a collection of the pieces and products each of our contributing editors swears by to make the most of summer…but only to newsletter subscribers.
Like fun emails? Per usual, our newsletter subscribers will be the first to know…everything. They’ll have first access to the Voloshin prints, first looks at our Nordstrom Anniversary Sale coverage, and they’re the only ones to get our Guide to Summer Essentials.
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Ok Gang — I’m off my newsletter soapbox. Happy weekend.