Showing posts with label COVID-Vivid. Show all posts
Showing posts with label COVID-Vivid. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 30, 2023


It's EM's birthday! It's my dad's birthday! AD is in remission! It's a blue moon! It's a blue moon and a super moon! It's raksha bandhan! 

After work, I was in and out of the house all evening taking soup to AD and pastries and presents to EM (whom we celebrated over dinner last week). Many folks do all this commuting everyday with their kids' activities and sports and... wow. It's a lot.

Our rakhi days are different from everyone else's. This year, only Nu is wearing their rakhi on their wrist; At is wearing theirs on their ankle (work doesn't allow bracelets), and Huck and Max are wearing theirs on their collars. The kids--human and canine--have been tying on rakhis and promising to protect each other for as long as I can remember. But the years are distinct. This is Max's first; we missed Scout. I looked back at last year's celebration, and it feels like a different pandemic world!

After dinner, we called my dad to serenade him with birthday songs and then went outside to look for the blue super moon. My city kids (pointing at a distant streetlight) "Is that it?" (Face palm.)

We finally found it later and higher in the sky--so, so lovely!

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Day One

I'm sharing Nu's first day of school pictures with so much hope this year, may the universe be good to this child. On FB, I wrote: The tee says "gloomy," but the smile seems to say "ready." Hopeful!

I watched from the end of our driveway as Nu chatted with bus stop friends and the bus showed up on time. When the bus doors close, Joni's always in my head singing "and a big yellow school bus took my little baby away." Mostly icebreakers and fun at school today, apparently. So far, so good.

For me: A detox/day off. I hiked with Big A this morning (eight+ miles) and we took a long soak. Then a CASA meeting, puttering around with online work, house chores, ordering stuff online for other families needing stuff for back-to school, a call with an old student, etc.; pokè delivery (Nu's choice) for dinner.

Pic: Screen-grab from my FB post. Each time someone wished Nu, it felt like a blessing.

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.

Friday, August 18, 2023

chances are

the tide seeks
greedily by the river 
it could leave us hanging

or help us lose--
then we're all swimmers
reaching away, trying to speak 

until we choose 
the suck-slide of undertow 
waves keep a beat--like trauma

go ahead, tell me
how many people we are
allowed to be before any ending

Didn't go to book club today--just didn't feel it was ok to be indoors with other people. The book was Bonnie Garmus's Lessons in Chemistry--I found it both alarming and twee and can't tell yet if I liked it. 

Also in OMG: L and T stocked us up on food--soup, pierogies, grape leaves, chicken salad... I'll not need to cook for days.

Pic: A very swollen Red Cedar with Big A. 

Thursday, August 17, 2023


Baby steps today: Just one meeting, a tiny handful of emails, a short walk, an easy meal. I keep reminding myself of my spectacular relapse after I overdid things earlier this week. 

Easy does it. 

Unrelated: I can't stop thinking about the food situation with my parents, sis, and BIL. I knew they had let some household help, including their cook, go during the early stages of the pandemic. What I didn't realize is that now everyone just orders food online and then they eat separately and at different times. So all they're eating--sometimes even at breakfast, and almost always at lunch and dinner--is restaurant food. Each one according to their own schedule and by themselves. 

The worst part is that the food is frequently limp, unappetizing, and unsatisfying by the time it arrives, so it seems people eat more than they would otherwise. My BIL won't even enter the kitchen, my sis is too busy with her job, and my parents are too old, so this isn't a problem with an obvious solution. I made soups and stir-frys while there (for the kids mainly, but there was enough for everyone) and everyone acted like it was the most amazing food in the world (although it really wasn't!). My sister takes such good care of my parents and I didn't want to be a dick; so I didn't say anything. But mealtimes were such a time of togetherness growing up and I feel so, so sad that it's not the case anymore over there. 

Pic: Look! A medieval-looking turret on our way to get Big A some coffee at Biggby! 

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. 

Friday, August 11, 2023


Somehow I didn't sleep a wink last night. I guess my sleep schedule is officially fucked in every time zone. 

Anyway, I was up because At dowloaded the new Salman Rushdie--Victory City--on my phone and it mentions people and places I'm connected to (my dad's family claim to be descendants of Krishna Deva Raya's palaiyakars/poligars). I'm finding Rushdie's alternative retelling and the female protagonist spellbinding.

I did sleep for a few hours this morning after packing. When I woke up, I walked in on my mom and Nu watching Taylor Swift videos in the living room--it was adorable. Then it was a quick trip to the temple, delivering a small present for the flower-seller friend's toddler, calling everyone to say goodbye, and the beginning of saying goodbyes at home. Mom and dad rode with us to the airport although non passengers aren't allowed to enter the airport, and it was SO tough saying goodbye. I always thought Scout looked a bit like my dad, and my confused mind is really making a mess of things.

We're now through airport security (which was long, slow, and overly thorough) and at our gate at last. I pulled out my credit card for the first time on this trip when I tried to buy the kids a snack at Starbucks, but they wouldn't accept foreign credit cards (this is an international airport, so I'm mystified). 

Pic: At and Nu: the hungry and passed out edition.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

doing better

Everyone's feeling better... 


And just in time to travel back...

My kids and parents are quick (and so sweet) to reassure me that although things didn't go according to plan, they're really happy to have had so much time together. We've spent a lot of time watching movies, swapping playlists, and telling old stories these past few days. Not as raucous as when we first arrived, but nice in its own way. 

I wish we were being safer--as a better Maya said, when we know better we should do better--but we haven't been doing that.

Pic: A pic of Nu, mom, and At from my sis. Sis and I finally got some one-on-one time together and she encouraged me to come back without the kids next time. 😆

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

got me good

We're those people now, leaving a swathe of sick people in our wake. After years of masking and being careful, I am so disappointed in myself. There are no OTC Covid tests to be had, and the doctor told me to "relax" when I asked for one (At laughed). 

Anyway. I'm sick now. Other people are, thankfully, on the mend. I suppose it's a good thing we already had such a great time, because this part sucks. 

Yesterday, before visiting the temple, I stopped at a street stall to get some flower garlands for an offering. They're made as always with fresh flowers and held together with knotted banana fiber. When I asked how much it cost (the unit of measurement is the span of the flower-seller's forearm),  she held up four fingers: I thought it was four rupees, but she meant forty. Everything is the same except for prices. We had a good laugh together.

Pic: Pushpa (her name translates as "flower") selling flower garlands by the temple. Photo with permission. (Bangalore) 

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. 

Saturday, August 05, 2023

living loud

When Big A texted at 10 past midnight to see if I was still up, I texted this picture of family waving back at him--it's only ten past midnight, everyone's still here! 

You won't find Nu in this picture because it's late and they'd had their fill of social interaction. 

And you won't find At in this picture because their fever had spiked and they're in bed after we went to the hospital earlier in the evening for a consult, tests, and antivirals. (There's a chance it could be dengue, although we haven't been bitten by a single mosquito, and of course it could be Covid--either of which could complicate things by a whole lot.)

I've had some lovely conversations with my dad on this trip thanks to his amazing new hearing aid. This morning he was telling me about a sib who died in infancy and their family dog who died from grief soon after (that's the family story, anyway), and I started to cry about Scout. My dad was upset about making me cry, but actually, it was such a relief to be able to do any of this--talk to my dad, talk about Scout, hear a story I've heard 10,000 times before, etc. 

Pic: Part of my loud and lovely family. The sheet of paper in VM's hand is a blueprint for the big family reunion being planned for next year. (Bangalore)

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).

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

the people we came to see...

The people we came to see, namely my mom and dad, look lovely and exactly the same...

Except they move so much more slowly now and take way more pills than they used to.

Pic: Amma and Dad at sunrise. (Pondycherry)


Monday, July 31, 2023

travel is tiring...

...even if all you've done is gotten boarding passes, gone through security, and found your gate...

Pic: Nu and At flopped out two hours in, even before our first flight out of Detroit. 


Saturday, July 29, 2023


In some poses, Max looks so much like Scout that I wonder if I'll have trouble telling them apart in photos when my memory dims. 

But this pic won't be confusing. 

Scout hated to be picked up and Max loves being Nu's little baby, because of course he's ok with whatever Nu does with him--Nu is like a god in Max's world. 

Max got his second set of shots earlier this week and is all ready for the real world. He seems to love visitors already. He probably needs to be around other dogs, because he can't... bark! It's cute and funny how he makes all sorts of sounds from whale whistles to mousey squeaks... and his bark sounds so silly. Huck barks very rarely and isn't much help here. It'll be something to work on when we get back from India.

Speaking of which... our houseguests couldn't come this weekend. They caught something (non Covid at last check, but still contagious) and we're going to see my elderly parents... so we're replanning for next year. With all that suddenly free time because of their absence, I packed.

And our three check-in suitcases are ready; I managed to fit all the stuff my sis had delivered here and my own gifts for everyone (I went overboard with the niblings as usual) all sorted, listed, and packed away. It's just a matter of throwing some clothes, books, and my ziplock of products into my carryon at this point. 

Less than 48 hours to go. 

Pic: Nu, Max, and Big A hanging out while I make dinner.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

summer fullness

Still frozen in the same place on the writing project--convinced that I'll be satisfied if I work on it for just another 24 hours. Perhaps it's time to send it off to the editor and let them tell me what I need to fix?  Perhaps it needs to live in someone else's brain for a while.

In the afternoon, I took myself off to HS's annual garden party, which, as always, was a treat. An unexpected treat was the live jazz band that set up in the dining room and was absolutely fantastic. 

The last time H.S. had their garden party was in the year before the pandemic... it was impossible not to reflect on how much has changed since the last time and simultaneously feel that familiar sense of return about so much else.   

I feel so replete with flowers, friends, music... and food. So full of food: The whole afternoon repast at HS's, then dumplings and stir-fry at home, and then a second dinner as Nu wanted a pizza snack but only if I would share it with them.

Pic: A partial view of HS's beautiful garden. Someday I will have a beautiful garden too and deer won't eat it.

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, March 08, 2023

one celebration at a time...

Happy International Women's Day!

Here's a pic from the annual MacCurdy House International Women's Day tea celebration today. I think it's the first one we've had in person since 2019. As always, great conversations and solid community building.

(Yes, I know it's Holi today too, but I got home so late from work... the plan is to celebrate it on Saturday when more of the family is home anyway.)

an unfolding

I have been dreaming of people invisible mountains I exhaled  into existing twisting, quickening and though  short-lived as grass, are seeds...