Showing posts with label Body. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Body. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 02, 2024

"Together Again"

A dear friend gave me tickets to the Janet Jackson "Together Again" show, so Big A and I went. It was a trip. (Also a trip: how much Janet Jackson there has been in my week!)

Oh, how I adored "That's the Way Love Goes" as a young 'un. It used to be a whole mood. And being at the show felt like being in the 1990s again. I could kinda see the crowd as the teenagers they were years ago. And though we're all very different (I lived on a completely different continent back then), the music gave us all a shared context.

Anyway--it was a terrific show: four costume changes, lots of medleys, updated lyrics and riffs, cool dancers... and the opening act was Nelly (he of the "It's Getting Hot in Heeeere" track so beloved by my mom)! 😂🤣

Pic: A pre-show ussie of me and Big A.

Sunday, June 30, 2024


We didn't want to say goodbye, but we did. TJA was going to leave after breakfast, but we kept putting it off and it was lunchtime before we packed up her car for the drive back. On today's walk, while I was telling her about the four-leaved clovers I'd found... we found two more! 

Pic: The Red Cedar on the other side of the Spartan Stadium. Right after I passed this point, my phone was playing a Janet Jackson song and I got a text from TJA which was just... another Janet Jackson song. In retrospect, I guess it's not such a big deal--we're both from that generation--but I was so delighted by what seemed like a magical coincidence when it happened. Like the way we'd burst into goosebumps randomly because of something one of us had said.

Saturday, June 29, 2024

holding on to love

Spent all day with TJA, who's visiting for the weekend. And it was like having the perfect visit (beer garden, walks, talks, puppy times, thrifting, falafel stand, book store, massages, Thai food).

We were young mamas together, and now our youngest ones are nearly grown, and our sisterhood has held. My only worry before TJA arrived was about holding my tongue about Dave Chappelle to whom she's very close and about whom I have opinions. But even that came up at dinner and we both said our earnest pieces and then we just held each other tight for a long time.

I'm afraid I've neglected my little family though. Nu had plans with a friend, so they were ok. But when I texted Big asking when he'd be ready for dinner, he texted back "Two hours ago" with a tongue-out emoji. (There were leftovers from Friday's dinner and he's a grown-up in a house with a stocked pantry and freezer so no real harm done though.)

Pic: TJA and me in the tea garden; pic by Nu.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

a handful of summer things

It feels like I just got home from a fun family beach vacation on Cape Cod because I just finished Catherine Newman's Sandwich. I'd picked it up on Nicole's recommendation. Actually, the whole novel felt like it was being narrated by Nicole with that characteristic sense of warmth, humor, personal history, and integrity. I snorted and chuckled and laughed out loud so much while reading this on the cloud reader, that everyone knew I wasn't working on my laptop. Also: Was there a character called Maya? (Yes, there was.) Was she the same age, and at the same stage in her PhD, as when I used to go up to Truro for a week every summer as a guest of a dear friend's family? (Yes, she was.) 

And inspired by something Jenny did a couple of weeks back, I treated myself to a trip to the bookstore. I browsed and browsed but didn't buy anything although I still have my birthday bookstore money to spend.

Also: I got a massage after months off.  Wonderful R, who used to make house calls, has moved away. I had bought myself some massage gift certs around the holidays, but the person was flaky about scheduling and then sent a group text that they couldn't honor the certs because they had been diagnosed with cancer. (They're being sued by a bunch of people who say they have proof this is a ploy. But I keep thinking what if they really do have cancer--how shitty would that be to have to fight these BBB claims while also fighting cancer and being impoverished by having to pay for treatments under our horrible healthcare system?) Anyway, I'd already spent half a year's budget on massages, so I had to wait until now. I got an acupressure session today, and it feels hurts so good right now.

Pic: Eating my colors. This is the poké bowl I made for Big A's Boss Day: Miso rice, shaved sprouts, grated carrots, chopped cucumber, avocado, cherry tomatoes, mango, and tiny peppers + broiled salmon/tofu. I was going to add arugula before plating, but I forgot.

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Summer Solstice: Full of Pride

Early morning date with a sweet delicious baby-- DVA's grandkid was visiting, and I got to play and feed the baby as DVA got showered and dressed for the bridal shower they were going to. It was truly lovely. I'd forgotten the way babies make noises of contentment as they're on their bottles--their bodies calm, their fingers curling and uncurling in delight. So precious. All sustenance should be so enjoyable.

I hung out with my own babies for the rest of the day at the Pride festival. We started by the river where the feminist coalition and DSA had set up a radical reading library with zines, books, and community events under the banner "The first Pride was a protest." They had a lot of materials and quotes by queer Palestinians on hand-lettered posters. After we'd helped with repositioning their tent and tying down some of the posters (At knew them from DSA), we went over to the "rainbow capitalism" side, seeing more people we knew, getting freebies and treats and then stopped for cold drinks and pizza at the pub before heading home. At headed off to work, Nu headed back of to Pride with friends. They joked that they were so full of Pride.

Pic: BOL holding a polaroid of us at Pride today. BOL, Nu, At, and me.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

an adult marriage

Somehow, it has been 18 years since we were married! Our marriage is officially an adult now. On some days it feels like it has been 40 years and perhaps just 5-6 years at other times? 

IDK. Math is tough for me.

(I usually don't specify how long we've been married because we have a 25-year-old, and I don't want to get into the inevitable mathy-judgy questions about that. But essentially, IDC.)

The morning was deadline-fueled editing, the afternoon was interviews with candidates for a faculty position. But I took a couple of hours off for a drive and dinner with Big A, reminiscing about our top favorite things about the last 18 years. 

Pic: Wedding afternoon. My tiara is off, A's coat buttons are undone. We're in my MIL's house in Ohio. I have a photo like this on the nightstand, and it always makes me laugh because the kids once said it looks like I went and married a teenager. 

Monday, June 17, 2024

the time I need

My deadline was this past Sunday. I got an extension until Wednesday, because I wanted to spend a few more days fine-tuning things. When I asked for the extension, the editor good-naturedly said I should "take the time I need." I think about how they (could have but) did not say I should take "all the time I need." I'm using it as a kind of rubric--does the tweak I envision fit in the "time I need?" If it doesn't, I'm making a note and passing on it/passing it on. 

I lugged my laptop to the sports bar where Big A was watching the Dallas-Boston NBA game tonight. While there, he tried quite valiantly to tell me all the "subplots" and rivalries beyond the score. His description of someone looking like a cream cheese was very apt--I recognized them as soon as they showed up on screen. Anyway, the Celtics won, everyone was happy, and we're home.

(That's two sports-themed events in the space of a week... who am I these days?!)

Pic: Big A in this year's Father's Day tee. It's Star-Wars themed and has all the kids' names on it. Huck and Max just got a treat from the treat jar. 

Sunday, June 16, 2024

have loved him my whole darn life

I posted a short tribute on FB for Father's Day. I wrote, "My dad was the first feminist I knew. (He loved the poet Bharathiar deeply, and perhaps that's where *he* got it from...) I am so lucky to have had his fierce love and support in all things big and small all my life. I know he's loved me since I was born, but I've actually loved him my whole darn life."

But there's so much more to say... How he came from a family of six brothers, and mourned the baby sister who died as an infant for decades. How he'd tuck my sister and me into bed like it was a military operation--even lifting our feet to tuck the sheets under them. How he teared up when I got my first period, because he was so sad for my future lifetime of cramps and discomfort. How when I said he loved fiercely, I meant fierce in all its senses--sometimes he'd be so moved kissing us, his face would be like a grimace. How he made a rule that my mom could not compare us to other kids. How he'd find something good about even our failures or frame them in the most generous light. How he'd had secretaries to "take dictation" at work, but would painstakingly write notes to us in his (truly) terrible handwriting.

My mom is right--good dads get more kudos than good moms because good dads are rarer than good moms. But as the years go by and he gets older, I cherish every day and every conversation with my dad even more. I'm hoping to take all my A's--Big, Little, and Baby--to go visit him in India next year.

Pic: My dad and me on Elliot's Beach; I'm sure my favorite uncle took this one. I look so much like dad in this one.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

"Let's Go Nuts"

Took a break from writing (and housework) today to take myself out to the ball game. Friends had won a private box in a charity auction and invited me to go. The view was pretty nice from the top (of the stadium).

After I texted Big A to apologize about being wrong about something (I'm getting better at this!), I was able to relax and had a great time.

It was Star Wars night, so all the kids had light sabers and characters visited us periodically to remind us to have fun. The cheer for the Lansing Lugnuts is "Let's go nuts!" I think we did a bit. 

Pic: Fireworks at the end of the night, with little light sabers aglow in the stands.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

people to be joyous about:

* a colleague on a committee who took a gentle, but necessary, suggestion like a champ and acted on it. No pique, no passive-aggressive resentment, no defensiveness. Just beautiful.

* a kid who asked for something non-phone related on our "Buy Nothing" group... not just for themselves but for their two siblings as well.

* three students who want to do summer projects. I may bristle about committee work over the summer since we have no summer salary, but I love, love, love working with students. It all seems so pure: my students aren't doing it for the grades, I'm not doing it for pay.

* all the friends at the sleepovers Nu has been having. I'm glad to be that mom with the locked liquor cabinet and pallets of (Costco) snacks if it means I can hear Nu and their friends, two rooms over, laughing into the wee hours. 

*Pic: Nu. Who doesn't always look like this :) (and with whom I have the most amazing two-hour long discussions about Plath, Whitman, and life). Happy June 13th, I guess. I gave the teenagers something to laugh about when I walked in to say goodnight and visibly jumped at the sight of Nu's made up face.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Things I rescued today:

* a groundhog. Max is swift and silent when he gives chase. Nothing but the jingle of his tags gives him away. I rescued the groundhog by repeatedly panic-screaming Max's name and grabbing his collar and giving the groundhog room and time to waddle away. I didn't realize how ridiculously slow groundhogs are (and almost cartoonishly silly looking with their overbite and all). It's not Nicole's bear adventure, but it was already too much for me. 

* a volunteer oak sapling that had grown almost as tall as the house but had come unrooted in the high winds... I'm rooting for it, I hope it will root too.

* a chapter that almost died from all the cuts I made last week. I'm hoping I can stitch it together tomorrow.

* my office plants, who were happy to see me despite not having been watered in two weeks.

* some bland black bean burgers with a splash of Bitchin' Sauce. So much protein, and my family didn't even realize dinner was vegan. 

* myself from the slow burn of anxiety. It was almost grad-school level anxiety... I realized it was because the book I randomly picked via Kindle Unlimited (Ruth Ware's The It Girl) is set in one of my grad school locations. The murder's not helping, that's for sure.

Pic: Big A, Max, Huck (and me) on our evening walk. Huck just trots along happily. Max wants to chase everything that moves (and that includes falling leaves).

Monday, June 10, 2024

an early start

I don't want to die
I want to keep on

wide as a song
wide as a wound

someday I'll learn
to tell the difference

my quiet body
my silenced body

know the future meant 
to be for me--I'll get 
there yet
Note: I'm not sick, just thinking about death because of last week's losses.
Pic: The deer are out there eating all my flowers, so I planted some annuals in these birdbaths, tugged some moss over the shallow roots like a blankie, clipped some craft birds onto the chains, and hung these constructions up in the tea garden to enjoy.

Sunday, June 09, 2024

mama's beach day

The girlfriends and I took off to Saugatuck for the day. I was so excited about this trip to the beach that I didn't get a wink of sleep last night!

I guess I hadn't been to the beach "by myself" since grade school--it has always been with family and kids. And I'll do that again this summer, because I love that... But there was something very freeing about heading out by myself. I didn't have to check on anyone or their water bottles, sunscreen, Epi-Pens, or pack extras of anything, prep meals and allergen-free snacks. I had my sunglasses and hat... and I was gone.

It was lovely. We talked all the way to the beach, had brunch, did a couple of garden tours, blissed out in the sand for hours, wandered the little boutiques for hours (we picked up a little present for BOL who couldn't go at the last moment), and had dinner before we headed home.

This next week is the one with deadlines and work meetings, and today was the perfect way to prepare for it. 

Pic: Lake Michigan is beautiful and fierce. 

Saturday, June 08, 2024

contentment, panic, alarm, and a chuckle

Nu headed off to a friend's graduation open house, Big A took off for the Cow Pie Classic (what a weird concatenation of words), and my girlfriends' hang got postponed due to rain. So I contentedly puttered around the house, watered the zillion plants, and cleaned everything.

Then I wandered into a discussion about the rising cases of bird flu and how a bird flu pandemic could make Covid look like "a walk in the park." It made me panic a bit, so I took myself off for a long walk. I think I will order some masks and stockpile some beans and bleach though. Just in case. 

Alarmingly, Noam Chomsky's health is reportedly in sharp decline. Also, the U.S. disguised its participating troops as a humanitarian aid convoy (a war crime) instead of actually pursuing meaningful diplomacy for hostages. Why do we favor this kind of military charlatanism over rapprochement? 

Pic: Our flipsy-flopsy Maxie. This puppy makes me chuckle. He's snuggled into my side, his head and front legs are completely hanging off the sofa, his back legs and paws are torpedoed into our long-suffering Huck. And somehow he's fast asleep in this weird position. 

Friday, June 07, 2024

a longer table

At some point in the early Trump presidency years, I came across the saying: "build a longer table, not a higher wall." It really spoke to me, and I took it to heart. 

An intergenerational mix of loved ones to dinner tonight and we found plenty to celebrate and laugh about. 

(And the prep conveniently kept me too busy to brood. Yes, I know I have a deadline coming up, but I really needed this.)

Pic: We scooted a card table to our regular table and scrounged chairs from other rooms to accommodate all of us. Max and Huck are by my feet.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

a few ways of looking at a headache

I had a headache this morning and thought it might be 

because of the pressure of an approaching deadline (maybe)

because the A/C tech was here and the quotes for repair were so high (maybe)

because of crying over the soul-crushing news out of Rafah (maybe)

because I'm worried about the kids (At and Huck in particular) and have been missing Scout extra (maybe)

and then I realized that I was actually a bit hungover from yesterday's watermelon margaritas.


Pic: I took an Ibuprofen and a long walk along the Red Cedar by myself to clear my head.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

M.U.M. Day 2024

M.U.M. (MakeUp Mother's Day) was scheduled for today; we celebrated and my heart is so happy and very full.

The kids and I did a ton of work together on the veggie plots, which were overgrown with weeds. We cleared the beds, laid down netting (last time underground animals ate a lot of the veggies), added new soil, and planted peppers, tomatoes, kale, a variety of herbs, and some marigolds.

Nu finished fixing up the small drink tables for the outdoor seating area and then headed off to a birthday swim party while At and I finished up the veggies. We quaffed some lemonade while we admired our hard work and headed indoors for lunch over Atrangi Re, which was on my mind since the songs had come up on my playlist. It's fun (great songs!) and funny (the new pandemic is called "David" and rhymes with "Covid").

And then in the evening, we headed to see Furiosa. At had texted me around 1:00 am to say they were so excited they couldn't sleep--and don't ask me how I know, but it was this movie and not the vegetable gardening they were excited about. 😄 One of my favorite pre-movie moments was clustering in my bathroom with Nu and At putting on "chrome" makeup like the warboys. The movie was solid, and our theater-catered food dinner was ok. After we dropped At off, Nu and I settled in with ice cream and watched Fury Road, which I will love forever. At and I saw Fury Road NINE times IN THE THEATRE, dragging different people along with us each time (Big A, K.B., Nu, my mom) and multiple times at home--it remains to be seen if Furiosa will achieve that same status.

(Mourning Rafah and Scout in my mind throughout this day while celebrating my other kids, harvests, futurity, and hope for a better world.)

Pic: As the kids got to work on the veggie plots this morning. Max's ears!!!

Thursday, May 23, 2024

crossed lines

A long chat with my mom who is back home from staying with her newly bereaved sister for a week and everything is Just. So Sad. 

My aunt wants to stay in her house because she has memories (I used to fall asleep watching TV and he would settle my head on his shoulder, she said. SOB). But people are worried about her living on her own. Last year, the family had a collective meltdown when I, a grownass woman, took public transport by myself, so I know a bit about how that feels. 

My aunt is increasingly estranged from her only child who seems to be treating her badly. Plus her in laws and kid seem to be more into how the property is going to be divvied up etc. instead of consoling her.

I also heard my dad CRIED when he tried to console my aunt. This is my mom's BABY sister, and she was eight when my parents got married, so he's been there all along, and he's so sad for her. 

Naturally, this made my mom worry about my dad's heart and health.

And then I got a play by play of several family members sniping at each other, a video of the accident someone recorded and only my mom and her brother have seen, the sweets she took to one of the rituals, plans for the ashes, how amazing my sister has been ordering food for dozens of people at my aunt's, the CONSISTENCY of my uncle's corpse... etc. I hadn't talked to my mom in a week and it was a VERY LONG catch up, is what I'm saying.

My favorite story about my aunt is when she was eight and starry-eyed about her new brother-in-law (my dad) and excited about her oldest sister's wedding in general and managed to insert herself in nearly every wedding photo frame until the photographer had to give her candy and plead with her to allow him to take some pictures of the bridal couple by themselves. I've seen my parents' wedding album; this appears to not be apocryphal at all. (smile)

(And I'm struck again by what is time? That eight-year-old with her crossed arms and sassy stare... how does life take us from there to this sad and lonely place?) 

Pic: This one makes me chuckle ruefully. It's from last week's hike when I wore bike shorts and now I have a tan line halfway up my leg so it looks like I'm walking around in thigh-highs all the time. Is there anything I can do about it?

Wednesday, May 22, 2024


for LVK

Of summer plans, my friend says 
"Maybe we can make it a point 
to get arrested for a good cause."
I demur for I fear brute hands on 
my body--but eff it--ok, I'd do it
it would be "good trouble"

my body is but a prayer; my hopes only loud songs
flowing to the river, its hairline starting summer
I know it would be to follow love
and not the law--to hold the hands 
of those beloved children again, 
to fold food and kindness 
and safety into them--
it would be good
Pic: Wild Phlox all the way to the river in LB's backyard. 
We walked along the river for a long while.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Six for Saturday

1) Drama in the morning! Nu and Max discovered some grey, eyeless, blobby newborns by the picnic table on their morning walk. We googled to learn that they were rabbit kits. We're not sure where the mama is, so we did as the article suggested and covered the kits in a tic-tac-toe pattern of sticks. If the pattern remains undisturbed in 24 hours, it means the mama did not/could not return to them and they'll need to be taken to an animal clinic. I hope these babies survive the next 24 hours--they seem so vulnerable and exposed. 

2) Another delivery: the new side gate arrived! Not only is it not made of rotting wood, but it is also bright red and looks so good against our blueberry-colored house. 

3) LB and I had a date in Old Town for some thrifting, boutique browsing, a stroll on the river walk, and brunch. I got some cheeky stickers and had dinner for brunch. 

4) It's the day of the MSU horticultural plant sale. We thought we were too late for it, realized we weren't, turned around, and brought back two cartloads of plants. I planted all afternoon long.

5) The neighbors are starting a community garden at the end of our cul-de-sac. I took some lilies from my MSU horticultural haul. I went in the dress and sandals I wore to brunch with LB, so I just stood there decoratively for a while taking pictures and airily suggesting where people could plant things. LOL.

6) I looked for tickets to the musical Six online to find they were all sold out. And then miraculously BOL called to pass on their tickets as they didn't feel well. But I was bone weary, had just taken a leisurely bath, and was looking forward to eating leftovers and relaxing--so sadly, I decided to pass them up. I wonder if I will kick myself for this decision tomorrow. 

Pic: Neighbors are hard at work while I was on my phone.

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 par...