August!

Mon 8/31/2020

My original goal with these posts was simply to "write more" as part of my New Year's Resolution. I now see them as a chance to keep a record of a very strange year in my life, documenting what it's like during this pandemic and all its related stress.

I was dismayed to hear in this NPR story that to only 30% of white Americans have taken steps to better understand race in America after the murder of George Floyd back in May. If you are white and have not yet engaged with the ample resources that are currently available, please step up and educate yourself about the history behind everything that's happening right now.

I linked to various enlightening books that I read in both my May and June/July posts. I'm still working my way through Stamped From the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi, which traces the formation and mutation of racist thoughts throughout America's history. It's incredibly eye-opening.

This month I also watched Ava DuVernay's documentary 13th, which examines modern day slavery in America, which still exists in the industrial prison complex because of a loophole in the 13th amendment. Netflix has made the entire documentary free to watch on YouTube. Here, please watch it:

Seeing this film helped me put Trump's current cries of "Law and Order" into their historical context of a racist dogwhistle message to white supremacist voters. As he tours around the country campaigning on hate and division, I hope as many people as possible spit in his face. If anyone deserves to catch COVID-19, it's this dirtbag who has done nothing (or worse than nothing) while 185,000+ Americans have died from the disease.

In August Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were chosen as the democratic candidates who will be running against Trump and Pence in the 2020 election. My favorite "take" on this news was from Mohamad Safa on twitter:

Are Biden and Harris my "dream" candidates? No. But the thought of having Trump in office for another four years is so abhorrent, it sidelines any concerns I have about Biden and Harris. We need to get Biden and Harris into office, and then work to hold them accountable. I still remember acutely how horrible it felt to wake up on November 9th, 2016 to find out that Trump had been elected president. Four years ago I shamefully felt that I could have done more, and I am determined to not repeat that mistake this time around. Claire and I are donating as much money as we responsibly can to the Biden Harris campaign and other organizations that help people vote.

Republicans are making every effort to sabotage the elections - gerrymandering, purging voter rolls, and various other forms of voter suppression (incarcerating black Americans at disproportionally high rates, thus stripping them of their right to vote - see "13th" above), and you know, getting as much help from Russian trolls as they can! It feels like Trump is attempting an authoritarian takeover of this country, and if he wins this might be the last free election I see in my lifetime. Please join me in doing whatever you can to make sure that does not happen.

Well, that's the stuff that has really been weighing on my mind this past month. A lot of other things have been going on too though! Below are some photos with brief captions to recap

Claire had her 37th birthday in August. I baked some cupcakes and we had a quiet celebration at home with a few small presents. I love Claire very much - she has been so supportive during this stressful time for both me and our kids. She is the glue that keeps our family together.

Claire made another monthly trek to the Santa Fe Public Library to pick up a massive stack of picture books. Here are a few of the BIPOC books that our family really enjoyed this month:

We successfully got Suzanne to wear her face mask for the first time (by scenting it with lavander). Wendy tried hers on for a moment, but then didn't like it, but Suzanne kept hers on for an entire after-dinner walk. She's not going back to preschool in the fall, but she will need to be able to wear a mask when she does head back to school, so this baby step felt like a relief after many arguments about not wanting to wear a mask.

The girls spend all day every day together. It has been a very hot, dry summer in Santa Fe, so we're outside a bit in the morning before it gets too hot and then spend the rest of the day inside. I won't pretend that they get along 100% of the time, but they're doing pretty well, considering the circumstances.

Wendy is talking more and more and is at a very cute age. She loves climbing the rainbow ladder in our backyard, and is currently obsessed with a pink Minnie Mouse dress which she has been wearing constantly. There are fewer pictures of Suzanne because she was rarely wearing clothes during August. She is still very busy filling her walls with new art.

In August I finally finished revising the next Isle of Elsi story, "Liz Tekcar in The Contested Contest." I jumped in and drew a four-page buffer before the story begins posting on September 3rd on www.isleofelsi.com

My beloved soccer coach, Mr. Innes, suddenly passed away at the end of August, which came as a gut-wrenching shock. You can read the comic I drew for him / about him in Phase 7 #022 for free on the Phase Seven Comics website. I'm so glad we connected one last time after I sent him that comic, so we could catch up before he was gone. Mr. Innes was a remarkable guy who had a profound impact on my life. He is sorely missed by all that knew him.

My job at CCS has continued to be very intense and stressful this month, while we wrapped up summer workshops and began preparing for the fall semester. I earmarked a few days off on the calendar to try and prevent burnout, but then an emergency popped up at the Graphic Storytelling department at The Animation Workshop in Denmark. Their first instructor's partner came down with COVID-19 and had to cancel, so I quickly updated a bunch of lectures and handouts about digital coloring and jumped in to teach for a week. An alumni teaching assistant helped the students through morning work blocks and then I met the students online in the afternoons (4:30am - 7:30am my time!). It all went pretty well, but I am still recovering from the lack of sleep and additional stress.

I managed to put a new roof on the girls' playhouse (using leftover roofing materials from the shed I built with my father-in-law to house the Isle of Elsi books). It felt good to accomplish something tangible, especially something that's been on my to-do list for so many months. Claire also added some curtains, so it is feeling pretty homey in there. We might try to chip away at a few other house projects in September. I need to fix some stuff on our stupid flat roof.

Well, that's what's going on out here in Santa Fe! I hope that wherever you're reading this, you are safe and healthy and taking care of yourself and helping others in whatever ways are available to you. Together we can all make it through this!

3 comments on this entry

You and Claire are doing a great job!

Don't know if this will help, but our kid has been very into masks since Elmo wore one- https://youtu.be/ilgSyLzQL5g

Colleen Sep02

Thanks for the tip, Colleen!

Alec Sep02

Hey Alec, it has indeed been a very strange year! I really enjoyed reading your post. My sincere condolences for your soccer coach.

It’s good to hear what you are all up to, and sending my best to the family.

-Michelle (your animation student from a few miles away)

Michelle Sep02

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