Last Friday afternoon, despite my deep dismay at the inauguration, I was feeling pretty okay. I had been successfully avoiding media coverage, and I was few minutes ahead of schedule in rainy weather heading to school to pick Wyatt and his friend up at school. That feeling vanished while I waited at a stoplight, heard a crash behind me, and then a split-second later, heard and felt another thudding jolt to the back of my car. I yelled, thumped the steering wheel, and then called Wyatt's school to let them know I'd be late for pick-up.
The three of us drivers were rattled, but unhurt. I had steeled myself for unpleasantness with the rear-enders, but I needn't have bothered. This was probably the most kind and pleasant car accident anyone could ever experience. The only vaguely angry interaction in the entire situation was a grumpy driver who shook his fist out the window and told us that the van driver who had started everything REALLY should turn his hazard lights on. But not even he uttered an expletive. The van driver, who was quivering, apologized profusely for confusing his accelerator with his brake. The poor woman in the middle looked at him, unable to steady her own hands, and said generously, "Well, accidents happen. Let's exchange information." Pretty much all that was left for me to do was to empathize and compliment these two drivers' legitimately attractive license photos, so I did. While we were standing by our cars snapping photos of each others' documents (remember when you had to carry a pen and paper for such things?), one guy came out of a cafe, into the rain and without a jacket or umbrella, to make sure we were all okay. Shopkeepers shouted to us to make sure no one was hurt. And all the passers-by on foot stopped to say how sorry they were that the accident had happened. I blame the inauguration for the van driver's pedal confusion. And while car repair is a giant pain, I am so grateful to know I live in a city that was ready to be so incredibly kind on Friday, January 20, 2017.
And then? Saturday was a busy day: art, hair appointments, and the Women's March rally.
For months, I have had on our calendar the opening of the Recology Art Exhibition. I was so excited to go, and it was even better than I had imagined it would be. "Make Art, Not Landfill," as the t-shirts I bought for us say, doesn't even begin to convey the astounding effort and astonishing artwork the three artists created during their 4-month residencies.
Jinmei Chi's Dizz Mall experience, complete with mall music playing and a sales circular (my copy of which I told her I couldn't possibly give back because it is just so good), was so captivating that Wyatt insisted we go back so he could ask her if he could buy one of her products. She kindly told him that she wasn't permitted to sell anything, but she was glad to know how much the show had affected him.
Ramekon O'Arwisters connected with every single person who wanted to participate in his crochet jam, or talk about his art, or ask him questions about himself or his process. As he explained to Wyatt while teaching him to crochet in about two minutes, "It's not complicated, just unfamiliar." And yes, I've been repeating that inspired saying to myself several times a day ever since. Ramekon talked about how his current art projects invite participation, how there are no rules, and how important those aspects are to art. He also mentioned that the shards of pottery in his sculptures are sharp, just like us, until we start to rub up against each other.
Anja Ulfeldt's kinetic sculptures had a "magical attic" feel to them. Air and sound brought everything to life. I was so pleased to tell her how much we had loved her work at the Museum of Craft and Design. She told me the most challenging and best part of this show was not being able to plan anything when she started. You just have to see and collect what you find in the dump, and go from there.
That afternoon, Marc, Wyatt and I made our way downtown with our homemade signs and rain gear. Traffic was basically at a standstill, partly in anticipation of the Women's March, and partly because of the annual anti-abortion march that took place earlier in the afternoon. Once coiffed, we walked to Civic Center, with our friend (and supremely talented stylist), Susan, to participate in the rally. I have never been in such a large crowd before, and people were as energized as they were kind. It was a wonderfully inspiring and encouraging warm-up for more activism. (If you're looking for a bite-sized, easy, organized way to take action daily, I encourage you to sign up with Daily Action for their text alerts).
In other more mundane news, we are still eating dinner! You probably are, too. A new recipe I tried this week is for Spaghetti Squash Casserole. As my aunt promised me, it's terrific. And this endorsement is coming from me, a person who finds spaghetti squash decidedly unappealing because of it's tendency to be watery and/or prepared with spices that remind me of dessert. I made two versions of the casserole, one with mushrooms and one with mushrooms and ground buffalo (because, weirdly, I had that and not ground beef in the fridge). All three of us loved it. The recipe took longer than most weeknight dinners to prepare, but we ate it for three days as leftovers, and good leftovers are basically like a mini-vacation, so to me that's winning.
My changes to the recipe were: make two casseroles in two glass pie dishes, sautée about a pound of sliced mushrooms, use a whole jar of Rao's Basil Marinara sauce plus the crushed tomatoes (we needed more sauce), skip the stevia and chicken broth (because WHY would you use those), and put an extra layer of mozzarella in the middle of the casserole (mostly because the name of the recipe's website made me feel contrary). Also? Dry that spaghetti squash as much as you can. I literally squeezed it in my hands (although twisting it in cheese cloth would have worked great, come to think of it) to extract as much of the water as I could. It was worth the effort.