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

Friday, May 06, 2022

here and there

 

Look! It's my baby sibling and my ole parents looking extra cute in matching baby pink outfits to celebrate their first visit to a mall since the pandemic started. #TwoYears #Bangalore

It's Mothers' Day AND my mom's actual birthday on Sunday, and I wish I could be there for that!

Over here, I spent most of the day on camera and yet felt like I accomplished very little. Having to be ON so much meant I couldn't read/write/run/snack/clean and that's usually what keeps me feeling balanced/happy/healthy/content/okay-ish.

Anyway... onward!


Wednesday, May 04, 2022

"work it real good"

A working lunch--which I couldn't eat. Shouldn't people serving a set lunch make meat, croutons, nuts, and other things people cannot/might-not-want-to eat add-ons rather than plate it all together? (Sorry this is a bit of a pet peeve; I don't eat meat and my kids are allergic to nuts.) 

But I got some oars in at lunch. And I shared this article about faculty exhaustion, which is important because everything about the last three pandemic years has been additive and nothing has been moved or withdrawn to make room for the extra stuff we've taken on.

Got some other campus work done, delivered flowers and cards to two young admin colleagues who finished their M. Eds, took flowers and card to MB who'd had shoulder surgery, and then set off for a long walk-and-talk with JG. It was the perfect, fluffy-cloud day for it--and as always, my mind is clearer after I get some JG time.

At various points I also got to collaborate on an NWSA statement on the Roe opinion and then I really got into Lauren Groff's Matrix. This is a book that kept showing up in my recommendations, and I kept resisting because nothing about the title or the book cover indicated it was about MARIE DE FRANCE and a HISTORICAL NOVEL--I'd thought it was sci-fi!!! Loving it, BTW.

Pic: The bike trail in Alma with JG. 

Monday, May 02, 2022

"the sense of an ending"


It was such a solid workday. The six of us worked from 7 am figuring out and finalizing conference details with no breaks except getting up to stretch on the hour. Even lunch was making notes and sharing docs over sandwiches. 

At lunch, one of the servers asked what we were up to and when I told her we were arranging a huge women's studies conference, she said she wished she'd taken a class when she was in college... in the 70s. She remembers the fight over ERA and how it laid the "foundation for everything." So I was telling her about the Mrs. America show on Hulu, and her name was Sally--so we sang a bit of "Ride, Sally, Ride."

At the end of the meeting I was so tired, especially as there was a lot of new (to me) software and platform-ware. I went back to my room caught up with the fam, and napped for a bit. 

Those of us from the meeting still in town met up for a great dinner at a small Somali restaurant where they gave us a private booth because we were the only women there. This was my first time meeting in person (all of our other meetings had been on Zoom) so there was a strange mixture of familiarity and the excitement of sharing some of our favorite stories about ourselves. 

We were still joking and laughing at something and calling goodbye to our servers as we were walking out of the restaurant, and then we started to fall silent as we passed the TV on the counter and each of us silently read the blithe chyron stating there was a leaked "Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade." 

___________________________

Pic: Sharing on family chat the fancy welcome swag bag the hotel gave me when I checked in and the uninspiring view from my room.

Sunday, May 01, 2022

"Paisley Park is in your heart"

I have a two-night trip to Minneapolis coming up. It's work--we need to finalize plans for the November NWSA conference. 

But yes, I've pulled at least three purple-y, paisley things in my wardrobe to pack...

and I've already booked my solo ticket to visit the Prince Museum.

Squeeing (and not just in my heart).

Sunday, April 24, 2022

my kind of therapy


"For young people experiencing grief, he suggests Bridge to Terabithia, a novel about two children who create a magical land that allows them to escape a personal tragedy. For people dealing with indecision, he recommends “Eveline,” a short story by James Joyce about a young woman who plans to leave Dublin with her lover and is forced to decide whether to abandon her family. Cheu prompts clients by asking them, “If you were Eveline, what would you do?” Turning the question on the reader, he says, uses the story to ease them into sharing more about themselves. “That is how you allow the discussion to move away from a very personal direct confrontation to an imaginary alternative,” he says, “which allows them to imagine a different life for themselves.” Literature essentially helps clients be seen without being exposed."

Pic: Scout giving us high-fives for the week that was. (I think Big A and I may have taught our baby a new trick!)




Saturday, April 23, 2022

commencement day

The amazing Robert Pinsky, our commencement speaker today, gave a talk he'd titled "A good idea, a bad idea, and a joke." The joke, he warned us, was unfunny but would save everyone thousands of dollars and many hours of psychotherapy. Here's a paraphrase. Patient tells the doctor: "it hurts when I do this..." Doctor replies: "Then don't do it."

But an unscripted funny moment was when Pinsky was describing how hair sprouts on the human body, using his fingers to mime sprouting at his head, then his armpits, and then the whole auditorium kind of held their breath wondering if he would go further. (He didn't). 

It was bittersweet saying goodbye to advisees and students who graduated today. I went in early to finish writing congratulation cards in my office and was touched to find cards students had crammed into the doorjamb or slid under the door. I thought I knew whom they might be from as I collected them, but I was wrong. None were from advisees or people I had done big, important things with/for. For the most part, these cards referenced small conversations and interactions. I kind of sat with that for a while. The idea that small things had been so important in someone's life made me feel... TBH... a bit anxious, actually. It's easier to do a finite number of big things than it would be to be open and supportive all the time. 

Pic: A screengrab of me doing the faculty marshal thing with the staff/mace and all. I kind of like the extra shoulder width and overall height academic regalia gives me.

And I couldn't help remembering that this happened at last year's graduation.

 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

the sun rises

A sunny Easter day. It started with a meaningful and mindful heart-to-heart with Nu, and it got better when we got to sit and sing together at UU. Big A returned; At stopped by for dinner (the puppies and I got really excited).

We had our usual Easter egg hunt in the backyard with rhyming clues. (I rhymed "elm that fell" with "morel"--and they didn't get that one easily--oh, well.) Then a very early dinner together, and a very short round of Coup.  I even got a nice walk-and-talk with At before sending him off. Tried to watch Severance, which people seem to love, with Big A but didn't make it past the 20-minute mark. 

I'm grateful for the quiet, quality time with loved ones this weekend.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

lunar halo

 I'm taking this hazy lunar halo to bed with me. A long day: long hike, long hours in the garden prepping, long international phone calls with my mom and a friend. 

But it's nearly 3:00 am, so I'm not surprised I don't have a lot of thoughts to string together.

Sad about Covid-related drama nixing our Passover Seder with J and M this evening; but "next year"--as they say.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

in a season of dependence

over here, I'm trying to find the language we lost 
we're the canoe and and I slipped the oars
while asking questions
we're so small

strangeness crawls up my arms, nestles by my ears
little baby bugs overflowing their home 
telling me their stories
about being better

because we cannot know what we do not know
and we're flooded already with memories
we imagine how it will be 
without us 

that canoe thawed free from direction and labor
swept up in the recovery of unknowing
finding new neighbors
in sea and storm

Monday, April 11, 2022

tree fellers and friends

I was as excited as a toddler when I saw this little tree feller in the backyard. We've had four trees come down this last winter and I haven't been able to plan any outdoor events because it looked and felt inhospitable (and unsafe) with tree limbs everywhere. 

My favorite part of this picture is that when the driver saw me--with my phone out and dramatically miming taking a picture and asking if it would be ok--he very kindly paused so I could take one. As I mentioned to the kids in family chat--this is way more than they ever do for me. And the little monsters... had the gall to go "ha-ha" on that comment. 

L is back from her month-long trip, so I got a long walk with her this morning to catch up and it made me realize yes--lots of things have changed in a month: I'm more hopeful for Nu; I know what At's plans for the year are; I'm getting used to Big A's work-related absences. A lot of sadness with each of those situations, but growing acceptance too.

And then while the rest of the world was busy doing Monday things, I treated myself to a movie with KB. At her request we saw Everything Everywhere All At Once--and overall, it was clever and compassionate and I love the idea of an older woman cast as a superhero... still, the middle section and its fight scenes felt overwhelming to me. 

Sunday, April 10, 2022

some "uppy" for my heart

Into this gloriously sunshiny, blue sky day, I fit in goodbye brunch with our guests, a UU service with Nu (now with singing!), a read in the garden that turned into a snooze (with puppies!), a long walk along the Red Cedar, a full house post-guest clean, and then... At showed up for a surprise visit. 

Scout was so excited by this last development (or maybe it's the five pills he's been taking every day) he didn't wait for an "uppy" and just jumped up onto the couch by himself. 

That made my own heart very "uppy" too.

Beautiful Anne Lamott words here for more heart uppy-s. 

Saturday, April 09, 2022

din-din dinners

Nu's friend is over for a sleepover this evening and my friend/colleague SS and their Connecticut family are too. I wondered what the two highschoolers and SS's new college kid--all of whom had never met before--would have in common... But in less than 20 seconds they were talking, arguing, and enthusing about books and shows the three of them had read/watched. I guess that's what books and show do--knit us a common experience. The three of them are off in the rumpus room watching Princess Mononoke with the puppies. I needn't have wondered/worried.

I rarely take pictures of our dinner party table because it feels discourteous to my guests--the food is for them, not my camera. But SS's spouse did. I loved making them a feast (90% of it vegetarian). Just this morning, I read an article on hosting dinner parties Modern Mrs. Darcy linked to with mounting dismay. I agreed with most of the bullets (don't clean before--clean after, make a ton of food, accept help, and so on). But don't change the menu?! No desserts requiring silverware?! That seems like a recipe (ha) for monotony. And contrary to the article's advice, I already have counters cleaned/clear, boxed lunches for guests and fam, and am now off to spend more time playing board games. 

Friday, April 08, 2022

the big sigh

After Nu heads up to bed for the day, I usually spend the rest of the evening cuddling with Scout and Huck... and usually Scout'll snuggle up to me and let out a big sigh. 

The big sigh is my sign that Scout is done for the day and is feeling content and happy.

Today was my version of Scout's big sigh--after all the travel and non stop busyness of the past couple of weeks. There was some prep for our house guests this weekend, but mostly it was working with these two guys at my feet, listening to the rain.

Friday, April 01, 2022

upcoming (re)union

A short lunchtime stroll to Luckie St. and MLK Square yielded this vista of daffodils and fountains.

Bought myself chocolate and a plug with a USB port (the hotel is so old it doesn't have USB ports to charge my phone) at the CVS and headed back. Traveling with just a backpack means I never buy/pack superfluous stuff anymore.

SO READY to get home tomorrow and see my three youngest (Nu, Scout, Huck).

And SO EXCITED for the successful unionizing effort at the Amazon warehouse in Staten Island. Do other people's family chats nerd out about things like this too? This news forward was the one text that received hearts amongst all the little bickering about whose turn it was to empty the dishwasher (while I'm gone) yesterday. #Atlanta

Thursday, March 31, 2022

so much shining

Proud of students who really seem to be coming into their own in a way I've missed. It's a combination of having done a great job presenting, being in a new city, attending other panels, learning, and networking with peers--so basically why higher ed has conferences in the first place. There should be more opportunities for students to share research. That is all.

Friend and colleague LV and I have resurrected the "the ten-minute chat" from their grad school days--you think it's going to be a ten-minute chat, but it ends hours later. I didn't know this term before, but I treasure this ten-minute chat format.

While the shine of student success and renewing bonds are legitimate, the shining in the blog title is more Stanley Kubrick than anything else. The elevator at this ancient Sheraton lets us off outside Room 402, we then have to walk past 84+ room doors before we get to ours. Really not a fan of this at all. Yikes. #Atlanta.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Glory (and alleluia)

I'm headed to Atlanta with our Honors students for a convention. I'm both proud and nervous for them and mostly nervous about the cursory supervisory care I've cobbled together for Nu through family and neighbors.

Pic: I woke up from a quick plane nap and through the window I could see the shadow of our plane on the cloud bank ringed by a rainbow halo. It felt really special while it lasted. And... I looked it up on the internet, and it's called a "Glory!" At the link, they described thusly: "Glories are most commonly seen from planes and on mountain tops on misty days. The glory is always seen around the observer’s shadow." "Pilot's Glory" is an alternative name for this phenomenon. My picture doesn't quite do it justice; there are better pics at the links.

I did not know about glories, and am so glad to have learned something new while traveling (that's unrelated to how frustrating it is when people are such inconsiderate babies about masks).

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

tinker, tailor, labor organizer

Family dinner with At in attendance. I pulled together something from the freezer+pantry because today was crazy with additional tasks that misfired: tried to reconfirm details with the student convention (a couple of things still up in the air); tried to get the body shop to take the car (they say they need more time); tried to feed JL's cat while she's on vacation (the key she gave us wouldn't go in the lock, and now she's having to head home early). 

Tacos with eggs, haloumi fries, potato hash, and assorted veggie toppings can be dinner, right? There were smiles after the meal, so perhaps?

I'm so very proud of the labor organizing At's doing. My mom is quite upset that he's not in grad school yet, and is always "reminding" me that her dad was a college man and that my dad went to grad school, so At "needs" to at least get one grad degree. It's some complicated emotional math I don't quite get. 

I really do want him to go to grad school too, but I'm not sure what I could do differently to change his mind. He told me today that he got accepted to U of M (the #1 school for Social Work) and MSU (right here in town) but has declined both offers. I begged him to defer instead, but he wouldn't hear me out. I will say he seems way more relaxed now that college decisions aren't hanging over him. He's also doing some real good in the world, so maybe it's time for me to step off and try to deserve the "cool parents" status he once conferred on us.

Monday, March 28, 2022

puppies/meetings

I found this video of two puppies bopping a balloon on the beach at sunset... and I want to go to there. I've watched the little clip multiple times and my heart rate steadies and lulls... this is the funnest "guided meditation" ever! Full video here.  

Otherwise it was a pretty busy--not always successful--day.  For instance, I realized I mailed a ton of documents without the form that ought to have accompanied it. [FacePalm]. And while I'm not teaching on sabbatical, I've stayed involved with student research--about ten of those projects are going to be presented soon, so each one is a separate saga of hard work and happiness.

The work day culminated in a department-wide meeting. I love that our chair has normalized remote attendance--they don't even ask if anyone needs a remote link, they just go ahead and arrange one, and every time there are a handful of us on it. This feels like a radical shift in inclusivity.

I can't be on a sunset beach with puppies, but at least I work with some good people.

Pic: from TheWorldOfDog

Saturday, March 26, 2022

"saying the word I was not supposed to say"

Nu and I went to The Vagina Monologues performance helmed by MacCurdy, the women's house I advise. 

We got a solid two hours of talking and joint DJ-ing in the car, an electrifying performance by some fabulous people, and lots of fun and supportive chats. I got a personal shoutout in the program notes + Nu told me that they're "so proud" of the work I do... 

(Nu's comment took me to Sarabeth Maney's picture of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and the way her child was beaming at her during KBJ's historic Supreme Court confirmation hearing. I mean, Nu wasn't quite as admiring, but then I haven't exactly been nominated to the Supreme Court either 😇.)

Feeling so grateful today for all of this.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Dinner and... an essay

At the end of the evening after hosting a proper sit-down dinner party after ages, there was a sense of accomplishment. Yet even as I was getting ready to send a friend pictures of his kid petting Scout... I could read text notifications from my cousins. 

One cousin had texted that their parents had had a house fire and that aunt and uncle were ok; another cousin seems to be trying to get a family in the Ukraine to safety, but only the mom had a passport. 

How we live our lives in the presence of ongoing tragedies is rationally irreconcilable with our good intentions and thoughts. Mari Andrew's essay, which Mel at Stirrup Queens pointed me to, is a wise consolation: "Someone has always clinked a cocktail glass in one hemisphere as someone loses a home in another while someone falls in love in the same apartment building where someone grieves. The fact that suffering, mundanity, and beauty coincide is unbearable and remarkable."

Perhaps someday I will be able to reach her conclusion that "The world feels so sharp and crooked right now. I, for one, am at a complete loss, and my feelings are all over the place—as they should be. But I'm appreciating my little moments of bliss like energy bars for the road ahead, and embracing my sadness in all its wisdom."

Pic: Nu and Huck paying attention to stories about the E.R. from dad.

s/unlit

In the midst of mounting excitement about the start of the new school year, it was a shock to hear two people who'd been at the college ...