Monday, July 15, 2024

hanging in there/hanging by a thread: a week of random things I thought about with A in the hospital

Wednesday, July 10: Big A's healthcare team doesn't have a clear way forward, so neither do we. But I found the buttons to move his bed up and down, and that was a solid two minutes of good giggles. 

When I can't be with A, I feel more alone than I can ever remember being. Usually, even when he's away working nights, I can fire off a text, chat a bit, compare Wordle scores, joke about something, share something I dreamt. Not this time.

Thursday, July 11: We decided not to tell our elderly parents until we had something to report, but that means I've told very few people IRL, and as a consequence do not have my usual posse to help me through. A is very private and doesn't care, but it's proving super tough for me. 

The people I did tell have surrounded me with special dropoffs and cards and care and prayers and love. And I can't thank my lovely blog friends enough for the kind messages and Care Bear stares 💗. And At and Nu have been simply amazing, taking care of themselves and the puppy sibs and being so loving... they even tried extra hard on family chat.

Friday, July 12: It still feels like being insulated from "real life"--like I'm living in a bubble. There's a sense of unreality about the rest of the world--like how are people just going to the farmers' market, or the pool or walks, and binging TV, and reading novels, and other stuff? This is all stuff I usually do too--but it seems impossible and unreal just now. 

Also: I have all the time in the world, just sitting around and waiting (has any other room been so aptly named as the waiting room?). And yet, there's no time to do things I'd like to do.

Saturday, July 13: We finally have a new protocol to try that's not just emergency management of symptoms, so I'm hopeful things will improve. They have to.

Obviously, everything makes me cry, including this dancing toddlerAnd obviously, I've imagined the worst over and over again. In fact, I imagined it before we even got to the hospital. 

Sunday, July 14: A seems better (I hope it's not just wishful thinking).

And I catch myself thinking about all the ways life is bound to change after this: I've always thought of A as the stronger partner--I'm going to really step up now. And I wonder what this will mean for trips we've planned together... 

Monday, July 15: A *is* better. OMG. Tests confirm this, but we still have a few more days of monitoring before we're home. 

Things I want to do when we get back to a more normal. 

                       1) Teach the kids to cook. I love hearing how Steph Love's kids make amazing meals (kinda like the kids in Catherine Newman's books) and I want At and Nu to be able to do that too. We could spend all sorts of quality time together.

                      2) Make time for dance. When we went out together the last time, it was so fun to dance at the concert (was that just a couple of weeks ago?!) and I don't know why we don't do it more often. Even if it's ONE song, I want dance in my life everyday. 

                      3) Try dry needling for my shoulder pain.

                     4) Plant taller deer-resistant flowers in the garden.

I'm behind on so much and wish I had more goal-driven to-dos, but I guess escapism is key right about now. 

Tuesday, July 09, 2024

strange new world

Weird how a day can begin like every other and then end up as something unknown. A is sick and in the hospital. It feels like being in a parallel world. 

Monday, July 08, 2024


I turned into a mom-taxi today taking Nu to job interviews and Max to his vet appointment. And while I was out and about, I saw things that terrified me:

* random red and gold leaves on the ground

* all the summer stuff at Target is 50% off and they're stocking the back-to-school displays

* an email reminding me that our opening convocation is on August 21

It's still so bright and lovely out and I haven't done all the summer things and don't want to think of summer ending already. 

(Also despite the four-leaved clovers, the bad luck hits keep coming.) 

I'm going to cover my ears and go la-la-la-la for a while.

Pic: The Red Cedar under a beautiful sky yesterday.

Sunday, July 07, 2024

the news... and nourishment

Heartbreaking news about Alice Munro... and tragically one reminiscent of the world she evoked in her fiction where children are betrayed and damaged by adults (plural!) who were supposed to care for and protect them. I hope Andrea Robin Skinner finds peace and experiences continued healing.


Unfathomably soul-crushing news from The Lancet (medical journal of record) warning that conservatively, "the true death toll in the Gaza genocide could be 186,000 or more." And that this "staggering figure amounts to 8 percent of the population of Gaza. A similar percentage of the US population would be 26 million people." I'm coping through a cocktail of hope (there has been an increase in public support for Gaza including from the French left--the surprise election winners), drugs (including OTC Ashwagandha), busy-ness (deadline after deadline), and the loving support of family and friends.

Pic: Some of my farmers' market haul from this weekend. I used the summer abundance for dinner today--ratatouille, which I served with focaccia (also from the market) and tzatziki. Our meal was already solidly Mediterranean, repping French, Italian, and Greek foods, so I cut up some Valencia oranges to add Spain to our dinner mix.

Saturday, July 06, 2024

in which my mom schools me on how to use my phone

Sometimes when Nu and I are comfort-watching a show from the '90s (Friends or Dawson's Creek or Felicity--ok, the last two are mostly me), I'm amazed at how all those characters are just walking around without cellphones hoping to bump into their pals randomly and with no way to check in on people if they're late to a rendezvous. I say "they," but I did that too back then, obviously. Sometimes it seems like another lifetime! I wonder if Nu can really even imagine how it used to be. 

And I'm not even a person who uses their phone that much. I was reminded of that today when my mom made a request. She wanted me to record myself singing a handful of Thyagaraja kritis because she said she wanted to hear them right now. (It was so sweet. "I can't wait until June to hear you sing them to me again," she said.) When I told her I didn't know how to record, she gave me such specific directions starting with: "look for the "mic" symbol..." Seriously, I was so impressed. She said that she'd previously taught her aunts to make recordings when they found it difficult to type. Nu, who is of the digital-native generation, is my usual go-to person when I need to figure out something on my phone... but now I can ask my mom too.

Pic: Huck and Max keeping me company; I was putting dinner together while I practiced "Marukela Ra," one of the songs my mom had requested. This version I found is by the superb Maharajapuram Santhanam (incidentally, the grandfather of one of my school friends who's recently become a wonderful advocate and carer for the many street dogs in Chennai).

Friday, July 05, 2024

naming our vineyard

Another quiet day here today. All I had in my pictures folder was this reminder that we have volunteer grapevines (with tight clusters of unripe grapes) in the driveway. It reminded me of Nicole living on a vineyard and I amused myself by wondering what we might name our "vineyard". (Because, as I don't know much about wine, clever names and fun labels are the most important part of the wine business for me.) 

I think it would have to be something with "Doggie" in it. I mean, that was the main contender when we changed our family name 17 years ago... Doggie Tales? Domaine d' Doggie? Woof Woof Winery?

(As it turned out, when we finally changed our name, we knit together one of my family names and part of Big A's. I love that he changed his name as well, and always think about how he had to petition the courts and pay a fee to do that--our current patriarchal system is not set up for men to change their names when they get married.)

Pic: One of our volunteer grapevines. I don't know how the vineyards further north do it, because our grapes aren't at all ripe by the time Fall rolls around...

Thursday, July 04, 2024


no doors will open 
only borders
and they are
the preludes
to resentment

but think if only you
could be very
quiet, become 
very small you 
could slip through

to sit liminal as a god 
at the crossroads
agonize, organize
infinite as the sun...
falls down 

Note: Not much of a July 4th celebration this year. On a logistical level, LB, my usual Independence Day date is off at a wedding. Plus it was rainy, so I felt less inclined to seek out parades and outdoor concerts, and Nu and Big A like a low-key evening anyway. On a critical level, the past week of Supreme Court rulings (esp. criminalizing homeless people while giving presidents almost monarchial immunity) has shaken me. "America doesn't deserve a birthday party this year" is a theme/mood on my socials. Also: a lot of anticipatory dread and anxiety about the upcoming elections (esp. as I foresee a lot of in-fighting on the left). I wonder--and worry--about where we'll be as a nation next year this time.

Pic: A red-white-and-blue pic of Lansing fireworks SJ shared.

hanging in there/hanging by a thread: a week of random things I thought about with A in the hospital

Wednesday, July 10:  Big A's healthcare team doesn't have a clear way forward, so neither do we. But I found the buttons to move his...