Day 28: RGB

It wasn’t until I awoke this morning that I learned of the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Absolutely NOT a delight. However it (and any mention of her previously) brought to mind a true delight from about 30 years ago when my friend Rosanne invited me to join a group of women who’d been members of the Women’s Equity Action League (WEAL)* present Justice Ginsburg with an award (or something — it’s a little confusing to me now because by the time they gave her the award — at least 1991 because I was either pregnant with Clare or she was just an infant — WEAL was dissolved — 1989 according to Wikipedia — but I had to join WEAL** to participate).

Anyway, all that doesn’t matter because about 30 years ago I shook hands with the Notorious RBG.

In the photo above, I am second from the left (white blouse, black dress). The seated woman between RBG and Sandra Day O’Connor is Elizabeth M. Boyer, founder and first president of WEAL.

*If you’ve never heard of WEAL, I’m not surprised. I’d not either and knew nothing about it when I joined for this one event. It was a group that broke off from the National Organization of Women over NOW’s pro-choice stance.

**Would I still have joined WEAL had I known that in 1991? Yeah, probably — I got to meet RGB (and SDO) — but it left me feeling a little guilty when I learned that fact.

Day 14: Internet Issues Solved (and a Bonus Film)

What a lazy day I had. I blame it on getting up at 2 am and not getting back to sleep until 6 am. The only remotely productive thing I did today was partially fix my computer WiFi problem.

My company provided my computer and a docking station that I connected to a couple large monitors. When I sent those back I needed something else to connect my laptop to my monitor and found a reasonably priced docking station on Amazon — since Dell also sold it, I figured it would work with my personal laptop. I could have just plugged my monitor cord into my laptop, but then I’d have to disconnect and reconnect it more than I wanted to. I didn’t want the port to wear out.

The docking station was not exactly what I had in mind, but I was able to connect the laptop to the monitor with a USB cable and hide the dock under a monitor stand that matches my desk. I’d hoped it would also charge my computer like the one from work did.

The night of the Zoom meeting on racism I kept being disconnected from Zoom. I ended up having to use my phone for the meeting. Later that night I tried to connect to the Internet on my laptop and was unable. The next day, same thing.

This morning I looked again at the specs of the docking station and realized that by plugging the cable from the dock into my computer, the computer assumed that I’d be using an Ethernet connection — which I do not have in my office. I contacted the company, but, being Saturday, they were not around.

So I asked professor Google whose answers were not exactly clear, but I figured out I needed to disable my Ethernet adapter. It turned out delightfully easy, but I still don’t understand why I am only connected via a 2.4 GHz connection and not the 5.0 that other devices are connected through.

The other memorable delight today was watching Woman at War an Icelandic film about a 50-year-old woman who secretly wages a one-woman-war on the local aluminum industry. We’d hoped to show it to our film group in March, but the pandemic happened. We’re streaming it to our patrons next week, then will have a Zoom discussion next Sunday.

If you get a chance to see it, do.

Day 13: Mostly the Protest

Something I was unaware of before somewhere in the middle of the night when I got up because I could not sleep is the fact that a section of Bethesda was once a thriving Black community. This section is now full of shopping centers, fast food restaurants, gas stations and other businesses. The only building left from that time is the Macedonia Baptist Church. There are also a few cemeteries where Black bodies were buried. One was paved over and is now a parking lot and another is the future site of self-storage units.

Today Bethesda is mostly white. According the U.S. Census bureau Whites comprise 81.5% of the Bethesda population and Blacks only comprise 4.0%. That was one thing I felt guilty about when we moved to Bethesda — it was so homogeneous. It is also something my kids feel bad about, having few African American friends in school.

Today’s featured delight was the protest/memorial service for the bodies buried under the construction site. I actually tried to convince myself to not go, that there would be plenty of people there — after all it was featured on the Kojo Nnamdi show the day before — and I didn’t need to be one of them. But I had absolutely no reason, other than my slight social anxiety, to not show up. I found some black clothes, cut several zinnias from the garden and grabbed my most somber-looking mask.

I parked in the parking lot of a shopping center I used to shop at when the kids were young and I was too afraid to try to park in down town Bethesda or drive up Rockville Pike. The McDonald’s where we were supposed to meet was about 7 minutes walk. I thought the McDonald’s was on the far side of River Road, so had to cross in a crosswalk instead of at a light to get to the meeting place. Halfway across the street two other protesters told me we were meeting at the church instead, so I joined them and walked a few more minutes to Macedonia Baptist Church.

After chatting with other protesters (all masked of course) and introducing myself to my friend’s daughter (from last night’s Zoom meeting) we all walked back to the McDonald’s.

The reason we marched to McDonald’s is because its parking lot is the only place to view the cemetery. Once there we sang protest songs, heard the names of the dead read aloud and prayed African prayers for them. Then we walked to where we could view the cemetery and wove our flowers into the fence separating the McDonald’s parking lot from the construction site cemetery.

It really was beautiful. Well, except for the cops and security guards.

Other delights today were:

Negroni cocktail

Day 12: Zooming about Racism

Several years ago our neighborhood along with surrounding neighborhoods started a age-in-place initiative called a “Village”. While I am not a true (paying) member (yet), I do receive, and occasionally read, emails from the group. I’d not read the most recent email, but, because of my BLM sign in my yard someone put a flyer in my through-door mailbox, inviting me to join a Zoom meeting to discuss racism.

I assumed it would be a one-time thing, maybe with a speaker, or maybe we’d get a list of things we could do to help stop racism, but it seems to be something that will be ongoing.

Tonight* was the meeting and it was a delight. The agenda was long and we did not get very far into it. We introduced ourselves and told the others why we were interested in the topic and set up some ground rules (rule number 1: you can talk about the BHV anti-racist group, but not about who said what). We also talked about how often to meet and when to meet next (next week, same time, same place).

One of the participants mentioned a protest planned for tomorrow in support of stopping the desecration of an historical Black cemetery in Bethesda [PDF]. I’d heard about this cemetery, but had not heard anything about it recently.

I’m planning on going. We’re to wear black and bring flowers to honor the souls buried there and being disturbed by construction of self-storage units.

*In case you have not figured it out by now, I am not actually writing these the day they happened, but am writing about delights that happened that day.