Showing posts with label Michigan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michigan. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 15, 2020


The start of Week Four of the semester, and here I am getting home (while it's still light out even!) like some freakin' pandemic champion. School and class feel more manageable. I got corrected on ableist language by a student while lecturing, and responded without (too much) defensiveness, and consequently feel like a good person.

Back in the before times while we were hosting 4Fs (Fun Friday Film Fests) BS used to say that turning into our driveway made her feel like she was in a Studio Ghibli movie. I see bunnies, butterflies, deer, turkeys, geese, groundhogs, and chipmunks all the time, so--same girl, same!

Also, the kids find it hilarious that in some low-key way, I'm always expecting a pony to pop its head over the slatted side gate to say hello when I get home. (I've never had a pony in my life.)

Monday, September 14, 2020

Six Months; Six Words

indefinite night-day-night / no insight

(Six months since our stay-at-home order and a six-word memoir inspired by the NYT pandemic poetry piece.)

Sunday, September 13, 2020


Nu had a social hang in our backyard, I had a few, Big A finished a grueling two-week set of shifts, we FaceTimed for an age with At, Nu and I flopped out companionably in various places around the house, we got caught up with laundry and homework (Nu) or laundry and grading (me), checked in with friends, pet all the new pandemic puppies on cousin chat, made tentative plans for a December reunion, and I made some pretty, pretty dinner plates.

The weekend was the warm embrace/calm space I needed it to be. 


<Once more through the Sunday evening blues>

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Portraits of the day


Morn                                  Noon                             Afternoon                 
Morning (LB)Noon  (RM)Afternoon (BS)               
                     (Baker Woodlot with LB)            (Our driveway with RM)            (Nemoke Trail with BS and C Bear)           

Friday, September 11, 2020

A Lot

There's been a lot of this all week--gray, grainy, grimy weather and consequently there's been a lot of basic, blah moodiness. 

I'm pretty proud of how we've managed to come through three weeks of in-person classes with no spikes in our Covid numbers; of my students who are journaling like champions; my Nu who seems quite businesslike in handling their own online learning... 

And yet, everything is simultaneously sad and difficult--and feels like a lot to handle. 

In today's virtual faculty meeting, my colleagues were mostly on mute and off camera (by request), and it just emphasized how I never see them in the hallways anymore. And then at the end... the retirement resolution for JG--who'd shown up to my job talk, befriended me the summer I moved to MI, has been mentor and sister and friend...  and it was too, too much. I went looking for someone to give me a hug and got some from Nu, Big, A and (of course!) Scout  + Huck. "Surrogate hugs" as I explained to JG--the renowned hugger--in a call later in the evening through a third or fourth round of tears.

I'm trying to remember that when I took this picture at the end of some long day this past week, I thought I could see glimmers and shafts of light--what Pix and I and other Sacred Heart School kids used to call "heavenly blessings" when we used to try standing in these sunlit spotlights before exams. I can barely see them in this picture, yet I know they were there. 

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Badtime Story

Like siblings of yore on the landscape,

ribboned close always: rivers, railroads.

Playing--in plain sight, side-by-side, not hiding;

where you seek one--oh, look--there's the other.

Long, rowdy sibling things: one loud, one low--

now masked, now sparring--whatever--they are 

like pandemic warnings, insistent--more forlorn by the day:

I think I'm meant to mourn, and--following them--get away.


Note 1: We live between the river and the railroad, so I have lived experience of course; but this insight is from Krueger's This Tender Land.

Note 2: Toddler Nu used to pronounce the open e almost as a schwa eg. "Natflix" (for Netflix), "grat" (for great, which we still emulate for cuteness on family chat). 

Note 3: Things seem much quieter along the railroad these days--fewer goods traversing the continent or whatever--I don't know.

Note 4: I took this picture of the Red Cedar River last week; L claimed to be able to see hints of Fall.

Monday, September 07, 2020


When tongues tip to farewell

--fare well, fare wonderfully.

Like strangers, like heartbeat:

"Thank you for my childhood."

"Thank you for being my child."

* I tried to tell Scout this isn't yoga, but he just pouted.

Saturday, September 05, 2020



Today's quiet beginning--the Red Cedar River, someone's rock cairns, a blue heron waiting by the rapids, the solid comfort of L's footfall, patience, and advice by my side...

The rest of the day was gloriously kid-centered--only fair as I hadn't seen At all week, and actually--hadn't seen much of Nu all week between breakfast and dinner. The 21-year-old and the 12-year-old have been busy in the first weeks of school... as have I.  I did a ton of stuff before 10 am, including conferencing with a colleague about a new course. Then Nu and I drove up to Alma, bringing At's (delayed) Boss Day presents and treats with us. We met At at the MUN House and took a walk away from campus, each of us taking turns to call out which way we should head next. Then back-hugs and presents, and declarations of love. And love.

Nu and I headed to the new bookstore helmed by D whom we loved as our pastor when we used to go to Mt. Pleasant UU. And we visited, and congratulated, and browsed, and bought a pile of books. Then on to the antique store next door where I found a few bird-themed tchotchkes and Nu found old teddy bears (Big A's grandmother Louise--whom Nu never met--used to run a teddy bear hospital, so I find Nu's attention to teddies especially endearing). Then a conversation at the store with D and J  about their child K--an old student--and all three of us fittingly so happy and proud of her grad degree and the important work she's doing. One more stop to drop off a present for Nu's friend K and then finally back to Lansing. 

But wait! There's more! Nu actually has another outdoor playdate later in the evening--watching the new Mulan outdoors at a friend's place, and I drop them off. For the first time in months, Nu is not at home when I am. Next stop, I zoom to a virtual retirement party for J and M, and after an hour and half of stories and memories, I get choked up saying goodbye, although there's no way J and I won't be friends for a few more decades at least. 

And then after the nonstop social rush of the day, the absolute loneliness of the evening hits me. At is at college, Nu at M's, Big A napping before his night shift, Scout and Huck napping alongside him and not even caring about dinner time...  

Then the puppies wake up, and I feed them. And Big and I settle in with leftovers (the remains of the coconut soup and pao he'd made for my Boss Day yesterday!) to watch the first ep of Raised by Wolves--which is terrifying. I keep exclaiming about my heart thumping so hard--until Big A reaches for my wrist, counts my pulse, and tells me I'm fine. I'm so not. Doctors are so literal. Haha. 

Now to stay awake until it's time to pick up my Nu...

Friday, September 04, 2020

At politics

I haven't seen At for a few days now, so I loved being able to see him in this tongue-in-cheek "Anti-Union PSA" video he made for his YDSA's Labor Day activity. 

<happy+proud face><happy+proud face><happy+proud face><happy+proud face>

(Also, campus looks deserted!)

Thursday, September 03, 2020

From hamsters to home...

 The wishing station at Nu's old school has so many 5th and 6th grade dreams blowing in the wind. 

One dreams of hamsters, another dreams of a cure for Covid, some others for a room of their own, or a home.

I worry the enforced isolation of the pandemic has fostered--for me at least--a culture of focus on the self and family and less involvement in community building projects.

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

I Get By with a Little Help (Part 75430876)

LB and TB gave me this card and a giant vase of yellow roses at the start of the school year, and I keep the card in my office for a little pick me up. 

I AM *trying* to have a good school year despite the obvious pandemic, and so many people are helping. I can't think of a single person (work or home) who has refused me help. 

And yet, it's difficult for me to ask.

Tuesday, September 01, 2020


The card accompanying KB's sticker says I should scream inside of my heart. Haha.

All things considered, today was pretty ok...

But a scream is probably building...

Monday, August 31, 2020

Secret garden

Nu told me they loved The Secret Garden at the beginning of our pandemic spring (the modest India references and the secretive Mary as much as the garden itself, I suspect). That has had me planning and planting in our semi-courtyard for months now. At not only built that little bench, but helped with much of the hard landscaping as well.

Today, on the last day of August, it was time to get a picture. 

Nu is in it--way, way back in the corner. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Growing Up

Today's picture (snapped just outside the Japanese Garden at MSU) is a giggle and reminds me of a baby version of a medieval penis tree.  I haven't grown up, clearly.

Nu had agreed to participate in the UU youth group's year-long 'Coming of Age' program, and yesterday's welcome ceremony was poignant.  There was a particular moment in the ceremony where the facilitator went around the Zoom screen family by family--with the child saying "Thank you for my childhood" and the parent(s) saying "Thank you for being my child." Gulp. 

Nu will be a teenager in less than two months.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

My reminder

(Today's picture is from Baker Woodlot. The skinny sapling with the pink tree tag reminded me of Aunt P who would make a knot in her sari or tie something to her wrist as a reminder to complete a task she was afraid of forgetting.)

An early morning hike with B (we hit Radiology Gardens, Baker Woodlot, MSU Arboretum, the Children's Garden, AND the Horticultural Gardens) and then a ramble with L and TB (on the campus river path); EM's birthday Zoom charades party; phone dates with SD and cousin P; a long multi-person call with the Bangalore part of the family (dad's birthday is tomorrow). 

Also, monitoring student responses to online assignments online; different kinds of advising emergencies; making peace between student groups; and updating files.  

And that doesn't begin the chronicle of other weekly tasks (plants! cleaning! garden! food prep!) that have piled up.

If I'm not careful, I can see weekends becoming overcrowded and unrestful. I must find a way to coral the work stuff and spread out the housekeeping over the week.

Friday, August 28, 2020

No more sunshine

The relief of having survived the first week of classes (has there ever been a semester when 'survived' had such literal significance?) is clouded by today's relentless rain.  It means no hike with L, whom I haven't seen all week. Also, there's still a lot of catch up and online prep to accomplish before weekend mode.

As I get busy, a picture of last week's 'sunflower with three busy bees' for motivation. 


Thursday, August 27, 2020

Got that look

I'm fine, I'm fine. I'm fine.

Feeling like everything from 2 through 12 is normal. Right?

(Full teaching day; have to talk really loudly through my mask; feel bad about having to remind students about masks sometimes; but I think we're beginning to get to know each other, yay; dropped off At's kettle bells and got a hug; went home to dinner already on the table thanks to Big A; Nu seemed to have managed the first full day of online school okay; kiddie cuddles from Nu and puppies; a binge of Indian Matchmaking with Big A; and so to bed.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

First School Day

I mean to write of pomegranates 

and roses in fairytales, how even

the pierce of your stare is a star.

You my child, have been puppies, tigers,

bees, snakes, and a praying mantis. You

say, today's animal: "sickly Victorian boy."

So pearlescent with scattered energy

stay stationed in understories of care 

and humming to the surface, beyond

yes--the press of your face on my shoulder

but holding fast like the ink-paint-print-stain 

koans growing on your arms for years. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Today's (s)log

Yesterday's picture, and a tiny today update. 

Met all my classes; my students seem lovely! My international students patched in via video, and that went ok too. I am grieving the loss of classroom intimacy--video, masks, distancing, and having to sit in rows instead of a circle are all messy. But I get it--and I think we'll get through it. 

Got to meet At before afternoon classes to pass on some freezer staples, I and was chuffed to see he had two masks and long sleeves on. Yay! I walked him back to his house and got a "back hug" as he turned to get the stairs. Seeing At made me so happy.

My last class ended late and then I headed to a socially distant picnic at the president's house for our new MFA director. Both of them have worked really hard on the program even through the strangeness of the summer, and I was happy to celebrate with them. But the sun had set by the time I drove home--another reminder this summer is ending. Luckily, I had a long conversation with JG to keep me company in the car. 

Back home, I discovered that L had dropped off some of Nu's favorite brownies and a ton of snacks as a back-to-school treat for Nu (they start tomorrow). My Nu was already in bed, but I was told they lovvvvvvvved me when I snuck in for a goodnight kiss. And then Big A woke up, and we had a teensy dessert-date chit-chat (me with Nu's brownies, Big A with the leftovers of the Culver's from his and Nu's dinner) before he headed off to work. I'll be sleeping with Scout and Huck tonight.