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

Sunday, September 10, 2023

take it easy

Already slowing down as I promised myself. And taking it easy. Theme sound tracks courtesy The Eagles; and also from Kadhalan (I'm always trying to translate this song and its references for my kids).

UU this morning after many weeks... Big A came with me, Nu didn't. I guess that at nearly 16, they get to decide if they want to go services or not. I always swore I would let my kids decide what religious practices they wanted to adopt, and I guess I get to show I meant it. I'm grateful that they're happy to do all the culturally relevant stuff like rakhis or Diwali... for now, anyway.

Nia at UU was water-themed and lovely. Also lovely was being able to add drops from the sea at Pondycherry to the communal column of water. The quiet moments brought a lot of thoughts of Scout and tears. I wonder if being away from UU was less about Nu wanting to sleep in and more about me not being ready to sit in silence with my thoughts.

After months of forgoing massages, I think l've got a schedule set up with RR who can make house visits. I hope I honor this commitment of wellbeing, time, and $$ to myself. I'm remarkably low maintenance with hair (Supercuts) and products (drugstore) so splurging on massage makes sense in my head. 

 Pic: Max, Huck, Big A, Nu, and At. Dinner with the fam! I miss At the burly labor organizer, but love the new look too. I pulled my chair away from the table this time to get Huck and Max in the frame.

Saturday, September 09, 2023

game on

Saturday is chore day around here, so after I watered and tended to the zillion (rough estimate) indoor plants, vacuumed, put away laundry, and cleaned, Big A and I set off for what we thought would be a long, chatty walk. 

If we'd been the least bit interested in American football, we'd have known that MSU had a home game today. After a summer of basically having all of campus to ourselves, we were startled to see a football stadium's worth of people pouring out of every street and building. I mean, it's their campus, not ours--but it didn't stop us from feeling somewhat affronted. Ha. 

And then I decamped to go do things with friends. As Nu hugged me goodbye as I was leaving, they dolefully asked if they were having dinner without me again (I got home late after student activities yesterday too). I felt momentarily guilty, but Nu and Big A take any evening I'm gone as a mandate to order junk food they love, so I know they actually have a great time. 

I had a great time with two sets of girlfriends too. 

Pic: We're pretending to be mannequins because we were all dressed up and there was this empty storefront. It's too bad the glare ruined the concept a bit, but I still love how fabulous the voluminous salwar suit my aunt gave me when I was in India looks. 

Friday, September 08, 2023

cool summer

Things I love RN:

* IYKYK: Current tube of mascara that's at the perfect level of sticky (not fresh-out-of-packaging watery or time-to-retire dry).

* FTW: Big bags of brussel sprouts--they're just mini cabbages, aren't they? They seem to never go moldy and that means I can find something fresh to slice into stir-fries or salads even the day before I absolutely need to grocery shop.

* JIC: This weird hack--lace undies about two sizes up. They look cool and are cooling--I loved post-partum mesh undies, and I love these. 

* TBH: The easy grading options on Canvas. I'm so current with grading right now. (And also so much love for my FYS students who are being real champs about transitioning to college.)

* FTW: Lavender oil--I'm using it for hands, face, hair, laundry, and bathroom counters. Also cookies.

* OMG: Officially, there're still two weeks of summer left!

Pic: Smores with students after the faculty meeting that went on until 5:30 today.

Monday, September 04, 2023

Ugh! Anyway! Onward!

Yesterday, as I packed my toiletries for this trip, I was congratulating myself on my foolproof method (a dedicated travel case with sample sizes, adding stuff like medication, foundation, etc. in as I used it the morning of travel). While getting ready for bed last night, I discovered that I didn't have a single tube of toothpaste or sunscreen or anything as I'd left the whole thing sitting on the bathroom counter.  Pride goeth before a fall, indeed. (I was able to borrow generic toothpaste and blindingly white sunscreen from the fairer-skinned members of my family.)

I got a very nice walk in the early dark with Huck and Max and some lovely pictures at sunrise this morning. Then I woke up Nu and Big A and we got showers and breakfasts and got on the ferry and then on the road before things got too crowded. 

I kept seeing puppies in the clouds on our way home--someone told me that when that happened it was Scout coming to visit... it was certainly a sky full of Scout and his friends today. It's my Boss Day, and Scout always got so excited when people sang the Boss Day song, so it seems apropos. 

When we made the reservations for this trip back in March, we expected to travel with Scout. When I had that t-shirt made with Scout and Huck's pictures on it for Big A last Christmas, little did I know we wouldn't have Scout with us for the next one... How unpredictable life is... it's no wonder I've been having more anxiety attacks lately. Ugh! Anyway! Onward! (I should embroider this somewhere as my motto.)

Pic: On the ferry back from Mackinac Island. I like this picture, because I can see Big A and Nu and me... and also Huck and Max on the floor and Scout's picture on the edge of Big A's t-shirt. (Also, I feel like a shiny insect in these sunglasses. And also, I cut my hair myself just before school started and think I did a good job.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Ok, half-full

If yesterday was being amused about colleagues coaxing me to eat more food, today was indignation.

If yesterday was perfect picnic weather, today was the sudden rain right as we had to move to another building.

If yesterday was the magic of shaving seven minutes off the commute, today was the delay brought on by tens of thousands of MSU students moving into the dorms across our house.

If yesterday was the euphoria of seeing my people, today was the reality of budget cuts, missing colleagues, metrics of the market, defunding of programs, polarization of higher ed, marginalization of the humanities, potential terminations, and so many new people hired as adjuncts. StephLove was right to remind me in the comments yesterday.

I'm on the Educational Policy Committee and just got elected to the Faculty Tenure and Promotion Committee. Let's see what I can do to make this a place that works for students and makes my colleagues want to stay. Once more into the fray to do the best I can.

Pic: MSU flower bed from last week. I haven't hiked or walked in days.

Monday, August 21, 2023


Such a full day! I was on the road for sunrise, sunset, and sickle-moon-rise.

We're officially back at work as Fall Conference started today. And I'm so full and excited from seeing everyone after summer break and catching up and being introduced to new people and talked into new committees and and and... It hasn't been quite like this since the start of the pandemic... Being with colleagues and friends is not something I take for granted anymore. I may have sardonically shared The Chronicle's "First Faculty Meeting of the Year Bingo card" on the group chat, but I sincerely and nerdily love my work.

A lot of the socializing took place over three meals on campus, so I'm feeling pretty full on that count too. 

Pic: Walking back to my car after the all-campus picnic.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

family stories

1) Burr (not brr) 

Nu spent a lot of time outside with the puppies and when they all came in, Max was covered in burrs. Nu started to brush them out of his fur when they noticed that Max seemed to be nibbling at their clothes... Nu thinks Max was trying to get burrs off of them

What a sweet story! I love so much about this story including Nu being up early enough to catch the sunrise with Max, spending time outside, taking care of Max without being prompted, building a story about Max... Max adores Nu and that has been so, so good for Nu. 

2) Hair today (gone tomorrow)

At some point last year, I may have said in passing that a ponytail would look cool on Big A or maybe I just thought someone's ponytail looked cool. However it started, the next thing I knew Big A was growing one. And then I kept saying how cool it was, so he kept growing it out. Turns out neither of us really liked it that much and now he's relieved to be getting it cut tomorrow. 

I would never change my hair for Big A or anyone, just saying. I do think it's kinda sweet that he'd do that for me though. Being adored by Big A is so, so good for me.

Pic: Huck, Max, and Big A. This is why we call Max the Kool Aid pup--the floofball'll just flop all over people with no warning and in the strangest of postures. Don't miss his eyes!   

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

a day to rest and recover

I thought I was going to have to 'force' myself to take the day off to rest and recover properly. But as it turns out, I was so feverish, all I could do was lie on the couch and have my family take care of me. They're so good at that. I got soup and toast and tea and blankets... and entertainment as pictured. I think I'm getting better.

Pic: Huck, Max, and Big A rumpus-ing in the rumpus room.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

so it's like that

India's Independence Day! 

This afternoon, after working diligently on syllabuses and stuff, I took a second SUV-load of stuff to the donation center--all the stuff from Big A's Milwaukee apartment. I hope someone else enjoys the nice toaster and placemats and towels and sheets and Apple TV stuff. Big A started his Michigan job while we were in India, and I'm so glad for us to be under the same roof now. And to be able to give away this stuff that was sitting in the garage.

I made a big pot of soup with turmeric, ginger, garlic, and tons of veggies because I wasn't feeling so good. In fact, I felt like I had when I was sick last week. Big A who had been incredulous that no one had given us a Covid test, gave me one... and... that MF-er lit right up. 

So we had Covid and gave it to other people. I feel so gross about that. We've been masking everywhere, since we got sick, so hopefully we've been able to limit the spread. I don't feel too sick, but I've been too upset about my public health fail to work. Have been watching Made in Heaven, my mom recommended it after we saw an ad for it on a billboard on our way to the airport.

And the Crumbl cookies I picked up because I was on that side of town gave Nu an allergic reaction. Whomp, whomp. Not a complete winner of a day, for sure. 

Sunday, August 13, 2023

a recording

I can't claim K.L. Saigal as a favorite--in fact I remember laughing about his face on this precise album cover with my sister (rude, I know). He's of my grandparents' generation, but my parents grew up on his music and loved him. This is an LP, they listened to him on old Gramaphone records--one song to a side. He's considered to be a bit of a bridge between hindustani classical and film music.

I don't know why I'm blabbing so much instead of just saying that I played this album and in the cool night air with a cricket chorus, it took me right back to nights in my childhood--being in bed and hearing snatches of my parents post-bedtime life as they played music and chatted in the living room.

I thought I'd just play a few songs, but I'm on the second side now enjoying the absolute romanticism of Urdu lyrics: Jab dil hi toot gaya, hum jeeke kya karenge? (Now that my heart is broken what could I accomplish even if I continued to live?)  

This was such a prized possession for my mom... I'm sad thinking why she's in a season of giving her favorite things away. I'm so unready for anything to happen. I burst into tears last week when my dad tried to have an end-of-life talk with me. And then I kept going back to it my head on the plane yesterday where I unknowingly picked two dad-centered movies (Atrangi Re and Aftersun, both recommended) and cried some more.

Pic: In the solarium at night playing old records.

Monday, August 07, 2023

how could I live so far away?

how could I live so
far away?
I guess I didn't know 
I could
life is such a hard thing 
to chance
you can leave a place
and then find
it always stays on you 
like fine sand

And Ten Notes From Today: 
  1. Mom, aunt, sis, and brother-in-law are sick; At and Nu appear to be recovering. I feel so conscience-stricken about my germy kids and worried about everyone else with a side of I told you guys to mask up when we were in the car together!
  2. I may be developing misophonia... and also the bands of howling street dogs were... interesting the first couple of nights, but not anymore.
  3. Big A has already neglected my flowering plants to death. But Huckie and Max are well loved, so I'll keep him.
  4. Had to say goodbye to family who came up from Coimbatore and Chennai to hang out with us... I miss them already. 
  5. Esp. VM and AA--seeing them wrap At and Nu in the same kind of unconditional love that saved me when I was a teen has been such a joy.
  6. It's Monday, so we've had to stop partying all night. I haven't left the house all day.
  7. I got so much cash on Amazon India gift cards, which I cannot use from the US, so I've ordered a ton of stuff and it remains to be seen if we'll receive it before our departure date.
  8. A realization that I have a very special position in the family as the oldest grandchild/nibling--it's nothing about me, any ol' baby landing into this family just waiting to love on their big sister's baby would have done. I just happened to luck out big time.
  9. The class I picked up as an overload due to a colleague's sudden departure was cancelled. Alleluia. I did it mostly out of a sense of duty--the extra cash would have been nice, but the extra time will be sweeter.
  10. I had a Zoom meeting with my editor in NZ this morning. It was a fairly routine meeting, except when they sweetly said "you get to weave the web," I was taken aback because I heard it as "you get to wave the whip." Umm, no.
Pic: At's picture of me by the sea last week. (Pondycherry)

Sunday, August 06, 2023

"my so-called vacation"

The title for today's post comes from At, who knows Nu and I have been watching My So-Called LifeTBH, for reasons I haven't yet unpacked, I never actually thought of this trip as a vacation at all. 

At is still sick and now (as of this evening) Nu is sick too with similar symptoms. My sis was able to order the antivirals for Nu online and it was delivered to our door in less than an hour. That part was impressive.

Two sick kids and two vulnerable grandparents in the same house = not so impressive. 

There was a get together for us at another aunt's house earlier today. At was unable to get out of bed, but Nu still seemed well at that point and I didn't want my aunt to feel totally disappointed, so Nu and I showed up with the rest of the family. But then we made our excuses to return home early so we could be with At. 

Nu really wanted to ride in an  auto-rickshaw, so we took one home by ourselves. And despite all the dire warnings, nothing terrible happened to us. TBH, one uncle, two aunts, two cousins, and my sister came to see us into the auto though. I love them all so, so much, but it's also a bit much.*

Pic: Nu and me in the auto-rickshaw being bratty and hamming it up. When I look back on this pic, I can kind of tell Nu is about to get sick too. (Bangalore)

 *I'd kind of forgotten how over-protective my family can be. I'm still getting frequent earfuls about how--on Friday--I took an auto-rickshaw someplace instead of calling home to let them know to send a car and driver for me. Like what? I'm so old and I've been out on my own in the world for so long! And I take public transport or drive myself. Anyway, I'm a fan of auto-rickshaws, especially because they're smaller than cars and can weave their way through Bangalore traffic better. 

Friday, August 04, 2023

here we are...

We always talk late into the night and wake up at dawn; there's always jokes, and teasing, and stories we've all heard a ton of times and laughing a lot for no good reason. 

And it's about being so looked after that people will do things that might seem silly. My aunt was worried that the cooks would absent-mindedly use mustard (At is allergic) that she took all the mustard out of the kitchen and put it all in her bedroom! Of course, we kept teasing her about it all day.

Pic: Dad, At, me, AA, VM, Nu, mom, and sis. 
I'm in a formal saree because I'm headed off to give a talk at Stella Maris, my undergraduate college in Chennai!  At is a bit under the weather today (hence the mask).

Wednesday, August 02, 2023

Home is where...

Home is where they take candid pics of you after you've been traveling for two days and are unwashed and puffy and texting your husband while your human kids loll on you.

Pic: At, me and Nu in a huddle. I actually love this pic of us. (Bangalore)


Friday, July 28, 2023

Think pink

Barbie this evening with an intergenerational group including Nu.

It was a fun romp and definitely worth watching. Even for me (who didn't grow up with Barbies) or my kids (who didn't play with Barbie because I was worried second-wave-feminism style that it would inculcate unrealistic body expectations). 

The movie does a lot of work: the brief glimpses of what a less patriarchal world might look like made me a bit teary and there were lots of LOL moments for sure. Have to marvel at the delicate balance between its appeal to kids/adults, implications/recuperations  of Mattel, awareness/promotion of consumerism, feminism, femmephobia, and so on. 

Pic: Our group in pink.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Random (with emphases)

*      Always loved Sinead O' Connor for her voice and speaking up for all people. In the wake of her death, I'm realizing she was also all things socialist, feminist, Marxist, eco-socialist, anti-racist, pro-abortion, pro-trans, anti-colonial, pro-refugees, and pro-Palestine. What an immense loss to the world. Her use of the J. Krishnamurti quote "It is No Measure of Health to be Well Adjusted to a Profoundly Sick Society" randomly pops up in my head as a mantra.

*    Went to a 'celebration of life' for JS's husband who died two months ago. JS was so regal and wise and lovely, and it still broke my heart. But also, this is what I want for myself instead of a funeral. Poor Big A, he's really going to hate having to throw a party without me.

*     I was up all night talking to Big A about his job move and then panicking and  breaking out into hives--first arms, then legs, then my whole body. I had to Claritin and calamine myself to calm down.

*     I had four meetings this morning and then homework on that ACUE course. I must be smart about taking on summer responsibilities next year.

*    I rarely buy myself cut flowers in the summer when everything seems to be blooming outside, but DM brought me stalks of stargazer lilies on Saturday... nearly all the buds are open now, and OMG, it smells so wonderful.

Pic: DM's lilies in full bloom.

Friday, July 14, 2023

show (and tell)

Pictured: Me, headed home from the Refashion show after walking for JN's line--the one she's calling "Ex-Boyfriend's Shirts: He Deserved It." (LOLOL). All the clothes JN showed today are made from men's shirts and are so comfortable + a bit cheeky. I loved being in this show--unlike shows twenty years ago, it seemed rich and diverse with people of all sizes, genders, body mods, etc. This is the way it should have been to start with?

Not pictured: All the work I did on that one writing project today. I keep thinking I just need one more day to complete it... and it's felt like that way for the past two weeks... I can't wait to be truly done!

Monday, July 03, 2023

aunts, talk, and tacos

Cousin N, the kids' aunt and godmother, brought my aunt (mom's sister) and uncle to visit. We're all in touch via text and phone nearly every day, and Cousin N and I have hung out at academic conferences. But it's still magical when you get together in person after years. Years. And nothing seems to have changed. 

I'm the oldest grandchild and my mom's three sisters apparently doted on me when I was a baby. But it's still so sweet/funny/comforting to hear my aunt describe, as she does every time, how besotted they were and how I was such-a-very-special-beautiful baby with all that hair and deep dimples. My kids and her kid are extremely indulgent and patient when this happens.

And too, it was so touching and comforting to notice my aunt use Nu's new formal name a few times and (as they told me after the visit) so did Nu.We are lucky. We know too many kids whose extended family will not validate them. Isn't it lovely when people can make love look so easy?

I made a taco bar and it turned out delicious (and it was good practice run for the upcoming party on Saturday). I think the trick was making/gussying up the accompaniments with fresh ingredients. And putting out pomegranate arils and slivers of pineapple along with the sliced serranos and limes made the lineup look fancy and interesting.

Pic: Our 'ussie'! At, Cousin N, Nu, Aunt, Uncle, and me. (I don't know why I decided I needed to put my hands in the air like I just don't care, but here we are.)

Wednesday, June 28, 2023


Today, I am marvelous with waiting 
it barges in, changes everything
it becomes the answer
I'm like a Keats caught in the moment
or like a Cavafy lost inside it
it's almost an afterlife
there is rest, room, reason to believe 
there will be a rendezvous
with the still sky
with the whiteness of paper and screen 
and I will be mostly alone 
ecstatic with choice

Pic: Nu, Huck, and Max. Nu described this moment as "being *swarmed* with puppies."

Monday, June 26, 2023

"in the middle"

NGS celebrated the beginning of summer like a proper grown up at the summer solstice. I realized I've been celebrating summer since Memorial Day--when the public pools open--as the unofficial start of summer. The Solstice gave me a bit of a pang actually: the days are getting a bit shorter, it marks midsummer, and is a reminder that we're halfway through summer vacation.

In any case, we're certainly right in the middle of things--summer projects, deadlines, delays... all of it! 

Started the day with a work meeting on Teams and ditched the last fifteen minutes to take Max to his first vet appointment. This champion baby has doubled in weight and didn't whimper or even wince when he got his shots or his microchip. He also barfed like a champion in the car both ways though, and I was glad to have Big A so I could just cuddle Max while A did the gross clean up. Also: I was crying all day since it's the first time I've been back at the vet since Scout. There was a candle in the reception area (to request silence--when it's lit it means someone is saying goodbye to a pet) and Big A sweetly tried to block what I could see with his body, and get me to just go to the car, but I still caught a glimpse as I exited.

I locked my sad and grumpy self up for some deep work and then my last meeting of the day was a fitting. Who knew when I stopped modeling 20+ years ago that I'd have a chance at picking it up in someplace not New York again? Ha. It's for a friend who's designing for a local charity event called 'Refashion' where old materials are repurposed, and I'm honored to be helping. Nicole had warned about menopausal gains, and I realized when JN did my measurements that my "middle" measurements were different. Ha ha ha and c'est sera, sera.

Pic: A cardinal in the garden. I saw a hummingbird the other day too. Aren't both supposed to be visitors from the the other world? 

Note: Jimmy Eats World's "In the Middle" is not a song I particularly enjoy and yet it follows me around on every radio station I enjoy. 

"praying for peace/living with love"

The world is so beautiful and the world is so terrifying. Over 17,000 people have been killed by bombs and gunfire in the past eight weeks.....