More Quotes from Hood Feminism

Some powerful thoughts:

1. Feminism that encompasses all the issues that impact women, from poverty to criminal justice reform to living wages to better protections for immigrants to LGBTQIA issues, is feminism that ensures voting rights for all as a foundational issue.

2. For marginalized people, feminism is failing them by being so focused on whether middle-class white women have what they need and want, but not on protecting voting rights for everyone else.

3. Because institutions are not designed to help parents raise high-needs children, it becomes much easier to argue that children with disabilities are a burden to be avoided instead of addressing the paucity of resources.

4. Anger can be cathartic, motivating, and above all else an expression of the innate humanity of any community. Demands that the oppressed be calm and polite and that forgiveness come before all else are fundamentally dehumanizing.

Please read Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot, by Mikki Kendall. Straightforward, practical; applies ideas to real actions for including everyone in building feminist momentum for all marginalized communities.

A Letter I Sent

Subject: General Praise for Your Content

Hi Michael,

I am one of many, many, many people who found a ton of spare time during the pandemic and dusted off their clarinets. Getting reacquainted with my clarinet over the past year has been super fun, and since I peaked in 9th grade (I’m old enough to be in 39th grade now), I’ve often reflected on how I reached high notes or tackled a difficult passage so many years ago. I don’t know: maybe I was a better instrumentalist then, but maybe I’m a better musician now? Just cuz life and stuff has reformed my perspective and how I approach goals. And practice. You know?

I hate to say I stumbled upon your YouTube channel, because I try to be deliberate in most of my choices, but you were a significant part of a journey down a clarinet rabbit hole. I found Michelle Anderson, and she mentioned you, and I’ve enjoyed your performances as well as your tutorials.

It’s not much of a leap to say I’m a better player-musician now than I was a year ago. And that’s due to listening to excellent musicians like you. And learning how to REALLY take care of my instrument (I’ve since upgraded from my student model to an intermediate). And adjusting my own reeds. Your content is an invaluable resource, and I hope you keep all of it up.

Anyway, you’ve been incredibly generous sharing as much as you do. Just want to say thanks.

If you’ve wondered while filling orders who you’re shipping to in [City], Utah, that’s me. I’ve loved supporting your business in my little way.

Thanks again, and happy summer!

May

This is Michael Lowenstern’s YouTube channel.

Here is his shop.

This is Michelle Anderson’s YouTube channel.

Here is her website.

These have been my main resources for clarinet advice in the past year. They’re fun and informative and incredibly encouraging. If you relate to the clarinet at all, check out these amazing folks. I’m still contemplating lessons and masterclasses from Michelle. I do know that I need lessons if I want to get better.

That is all.

Readers

Today my readers returned after their lenses had been changed. I was wondering if they would ever be fixed. And I was wondering if I would ever read anything up close again. I was worrying that I’d be resigned to reading billboards or anything else from a distance. A life without reading doesn’t sound awesome. Thankfully they came, and here I am without and with them. (Yes, I’m singing U2’s “With or Without You” to myself right now.)

Reilly had an all-day training for his work today, so I got to look after Z. I had a hard time remembering how I managed watching her, teaching her, and doing my job during the pandemic. It seriously blows my mind. I worked for a few hours, then we took a break at a park she likes, then we picked up some groceries, then we picked up my glasses. When we came home I worked a little more, then I prepared dinner while Z had therapy. After that we ate dinner, then I came down to the basement and worked for a little while longer before calling it a day.

We tucked our girl in, I took my allergy medicine, and now I’m about to eat some cheesecake the neighbors made for us. I’m very excited.

Rough day, indeed.

Sunday Sundries

Today my brother told me about how he was on a walk earlier today and got stopped by some missionaries. He told them he grew up Mormon, so he knows their angle.

They asked why he stopped going to church.

They asked him if he still believes in God.

Those are not topics he’s going to talk to just anybody about.

Those are topics even I can barely broach with him.

I mean, people exercise their faith/philosophies very differently. And it sounded like those missionaries were trying pretty hard to get my brother to open up. And it would be one thing if he actually wanted to talk, but it sounded like one those situations that, no matter their efforts, because he didn’t want to talk, they weren’t getting further in that conversation. You know?


Today I only rinsed some of the conditioner from my hair during my shower. And now? My hair feels so silky! I just worry it’ll look and feel greasy tomorrow.


A few weeks ago I got my pixie cut cleaned up at a chain salon. As the stylist snipped, hair rained on the black cape. Not just my dark-brown-almost-black hair, but a bunch of grey, too. The question is: Do I call those lighter hairs grey (definitely with an E) or silver? I mean, I’ve dyed my hair silver in the past, and it has looked rad. And I’ve definitely earned mine, so.


I’ve started a nightly face cleansing routine. Pores and wrinkles and age spots in my face; the slightest crèping in my neck and décolletage. In my 20s and through my 30s I didn’t really wash my face at night. I guess I let the oils in my skin do all the work, and only occasionally my skin would break out and I’d call it yet another puberty. But now, it seems my skin is actually starting to dry out. If I can’t control my silvering hair, then I should be able to regularly clean my face, right? Besides, after washing and moisturizing, I like how soft my face feels.

So, there’s that.

Camping, Sort Of

This past Wednesday through Friday we had a reservation at a campground near a lake. It had been somewhat of a summer tradition to go there. Last summer we obviously didn’t do it, and I was excited to plan another camping trip when the world got a little safer.

Except our state is in the middle of a drought. And the lake at the campsite was all but dried out. Whatever water remains has developed an algal bloom, so it’s definitely not safe. And Z would still have eyed the lake and asked to go swimming, and she’d be upset that we wouldn’t let her.

It did rain Thursday, but not enough to compensate for all the dryness. The earth was still grateful, though.

So last week I canceled the campsite reservation. And yesterday evening, after the hike, I pitched the tent in the back yard. Z loves the tent.

The three of us and one of the dogs slept in the tent last night. The temperature was neither too hot nor cold, and because Z wore herself out with hiking, she went to sleep relatively quickly.

She woke up and continued to play inside the tent.

I love our back yard.

Oops

I forgot to post yesterday, June 25. It was on my mind to do it. You bet I’m gonna backdate this. (June 25, 2021, 10pm)

We went on a hike to Stewart Falls. It’s an out-and-back hike, totaling four miles. There are some moderately steep parts and some rocky areas, but mostly the trail gently rolls, and it’s shaded with a few sunny parts. I mean, you still have to watch not to trip on roots and tumble down the mountain. All in all, it’s a really pleasant hike with some amazing vistas. One of my favorites.

It’s a little bit steep but relatively short descent past the plungepool, and that’s where we usually go on this hike before turning around.

My brother came along with us, and I think he really liked it, too.

Z especially loves being near the waterfall, and she calls this area, “Good Dinosaur water.”

Have you seen Disney Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur? You should.

Look at this awesome family.

Good Reeds

There ought to be an app that keeps track of reeds. And it should be called Good Reeds.

There probably is. But maybe Goodreads told them to change their name.

I currently use a little notebook documenting the date I open new reeds, the amount of time in subsequent days I play them (usually five minutes), the temperature, and the humidity of each day I play on them as I break the reeds in. And I rate them on a scale from 1 to 5 according to how the feel as I play them. It usually takes about a week to break a reed in to my liking.

It’s been a decent system so far, and I’m currently using some real winners. But I’m also trying to be patient with what seem to be duds. And since I’ve learned how to sand duds into sounding better, I can’t say that very many reeds would go to waste.

I did purchase a synthetic reed today, Legère brand. Opened the package, placed the reed on the mouthpiece. It was immediately ready to go. And the strength of the reed felt really good. Great response and projection. One of those almost cost as much as a box of Vandoren V12s, 3.5 strength, but one of those should last as long as an entire box of bamboo reeds.

I tested the reed on my student clarinet. I can’t wait to get my intermediate clarinet back from the shop. I can’t believe it took a reed to get me extremely excited again about playing.

—–

It rained today, giving some relief to the land after a pretty intense drought. We hope to get more rain throughout the summer. We hope more people are thinking about water conservation more than they are trying to keep their lawns green.

Working in the Yard

Today Reilly borrowed his dad’s truck and some chainsaws. He and my brother cut down some ugly trees from our yard. Trees that were rotting. And not providing useful shade. And blocking sunlight from plants we actually like. We’ve been meaning do this for years now, but we’ve finally got around to doing something about it. After cutting down the trees, Reilly and my brother made a couple of trips to the dump to dispose of them. The yard looks much better, which improves the facade of our house.

One of the trees exposed one side of a bush that desperately needs water and sunlight. The bush also needed trimming, which is what I worked on. I wish I’d taken a before photo, but here’s what the bush looks like now. I still need to take off another inch or two. By the way, it’s the other side of this bush that looks horrible and needs nurturing. Maybe once it grows back I can sculpt the whole bush into a family selfie or something:

Speaking of sculpting, handling those shears gave my shoulders a workout.

My arms are going to be sore tomorrow.

Progressive Lenses as Metaphor

Not obsessing, I promise.

Just wanted to show you what my glasses do.

See how the text in the top half of the lens is smaller, and in the bottom the text is bigger? My eyeballs need these adjustments. I have contacts that behave like the top half of these lenses, and I’m waiting on my readers to have the correct lenses put in so that I can see up close.

This book is called World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments, by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. It’s lovely so far. She discusses different species–flora and fauna–and how they relate to her life and humanity in general. I love her perspective. I love how different people can help us see life in so many different ways.

Aren’t axolotls cute?