Trees and Bees

This evening I went outside to take a picture of our apple tree, which currently has 77 billion little apples on it, and just before took the photo, a friend texted me, saying that the National Spelling Bee was on.

YES.

I did take a picture, then I ran inside and talked into my remote control to turn the tv to the spelling bee. The first result was on ESPN3, a Zoom type situation with 16 boxes with a different kid in each of them. I couldn’t tell if they were watching the bee or this was an earlier stage of the bee or whatever. I finally asked my friend which channel it was on, and she said ESPN2.

When I got to that channel, they had declared a winner, but I got to see the confetti explosion and the immediate post-bee interview.

It was amazing. The young lady was incredible. Made history. From the five minutes I saw her it was easy to see how cool she was. A bright personality. I’ll have to catch a rebroadcast of the bee soon.

I’m glad they had it, even if it was six weeks later than usual. And that they were safe during the event. And it was good they didn’t have it last year.

What a fun night.

A Comment I Made on YouTube, then Deleted

Last Wednesday I watched this panel, previously recorded:

They discussed Black activism and broader inclusion in the arts. These 90 minutes are well worth your time.

As soon as the discussion finished, I left these remarks in the comment section:

This discussion was so insightful, and so necessary. This is the day after riding on the cautious optimism of the Chauvin verdicts, then going to bed with the news of Ma’Kiah Bryant and waking up this morning angry. I’ve been trying to learn how to support Black people, to empathize deeply, to unlearn the ingrained racism that I grew up with while – as an Asian American, in this past year particularly – feeling unsafe as I read headlines of Asian hate. Navigating all these human paths, all the nuance, is so important. Listening to the wisdom of all the artists on this panel was encouraging. I loved how you all supported each other and acknowledged the process of becoming better, being intentional and uncomfortable, chipping away slowly at racism in the arts, making small, deliberate yet significant efforts to be more inclusive, to create belonging in lesser represented groups. I wish I knew about this series sooner, but I will go back and watch the previous episodes. Thanks so much for this.

I let the comment sit there, not knowing what to expect. There weren’t a ton of views at the time. Mine was the first and only comment. After a whole day with no other engagement with the video, I began to feel self-conscious about my comment. Did I say something wrong? Did I offend anyone? Was this video not for me? Should I have pointed out how vulnerable and willing to learn Hilary Hahn was by expressing to this all-black panel how much she didn’t know yet? Perhaps, to all these questions.

By Friday morning I decided to delete the comment. I felt that it wasn’t my place to say anything. And I’m perfectly fine working behind the scenes. (Obviously in my own blog space I feel more comfortable.)

Anyway, that’s all I have. I do want to see more diversity and representation in the arts. More access to opportunities. Better funding for access. An eventual unwinding of privilege to allow for truly equal opportunity for all.

I don’t know if this makes any sense. Just sorting through thoughts, I guess.

But I do want to donate to organizations, like Project 440, whose mission centers around opportunities in the arts for youth in minority groups.

If you have the resources, you should donate, too.

Some Old Time Religion

A young man referred to this song during his talk today in church. It’s one of my favorite old gospel tunes.

The young man’s talk was about gratitude, and throughout his remarks he expressed sincere thanks and appreciation for many blessings in his life. He demonstrated a positive attitude, and he inspired me to be more grateful more often.

The Eva Cassidy recording of this song is one of my favorites because she brings out a lot of the inherent emotion in the song. Like she truly can’t help singing about the Lord in her life. That’s an admirable condition to have, involuntary proclamations of gratitude.

Thankfulness seems such a conscious state of mind or being, but I imagine many of us develop an awareness of behaviors that become second nature. Can someone be grateful and not know it?

I haven’t blogged in a month. It’s time to catch up on a few things.

  • Vacation
  • Hikes
  • Hanging out with friends
  • Paula Deen
  • DOMA, possibly
  • Games
  • Weather
  • Art of conversation
  • Movie/Song/Book reviews

This week I have to prepare a Relief Society lesson to give next Sunday. Just thinking about it gives me butterflies. I have been thinking about the lesson the whole month, so it’s a matter of organizing my thoughts and hopefully teaching a few things my fellow sisters need to hear.

Flooding My Inbox

Tuesday morning, I sent my seminary class a letter:

Dear Class,

Two days into the summer break from seminary, it’s strange. Especially this time of year, I miss the sunrise on my way to the subway. I miss our classroom. I wonder if “gullible” is still on the ceiling. I miss all of you.

What a year, y’all. What a roller coaster, with its loops and twists and other weird momentum shifts. I’ve appreciated every single moment. The tangents, the abounding cognitive dissonance. I’ve learned much. I have to thank you.

I woke up at 6:30 this morning. Slept in. That’s about 90 minutes “extra” sleep. I still can’t believe the school year is over. What does one do?

I can close my eyes and see your faces and hear your voices, especially your laughter. I may close my eyes a lot this summer, but not while biking or during concerts or movies. Well, maybe during boring movies.

Continue doing what you do to have the Spirit in your lives. Please be in touch.

Me, I’m just going to keep closing my eyes. Just to get through the summer.

Get out and have fun.

Love, may

I received a few responses from parents (I copy them whenever I write the students), and some replies from students. I miss them terribly. Memories of class flash in my mind: happy scenes, funny scenes, powerful scenes. Their voices and personalities are so palpable. So substantial. Maybe that’s why my heart is so full.

This message arrived today:

May,

I just wanted to thank you again for a great year. As you said, it had its ups and downs, twists and turns, but I always felt somehow that you acted as a kind of glue for the group, balancing so many crazy people J I’m thankful that you got up every morning for us, but you put much more into it than that. You could make us laugh. You gave us your quiet, moving testimony. And you always listened when we had something to say. We could trust you.

Well there you go. In bullet form, that’s a bit of why I’m thanking you. I hope you have a great summer. If you teach seminary again next year, I’m sure I’ll see you there some time; otherwise, I’ll see you around some place.

Sincerely,
[Student]

In An Hour

I’ll be heading to the Hudson River at 42nd Street to board a boat that will circle the south half of Manhattan, and that will take three hours. Good thing I’ll be with friends, because if the music is bad, I’m gonna sue. True, I had the chance to request some songs, but if you’re a decent DJ, you have to have a constant finger on the pulse of people’s preferences for dance music. 

Maybe they’ll have good drinks and snacks.

Today I wrote my talk for tomorrow. I hope it’s okay.

Today I attended a block party/tag sale our church threw at 87th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. Quite a few people passed through, and hopefully our youth raised enough money for camp this summer. It’s great to see people come together that want to help one another and love each other.

I have a feeling the vibe on the boat tonight might be a little different. Just sayin’.