Showing posts with label Can/Did. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Can/Did. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

how CAN the kids be alright?

Nu had just raised their hand to answer a question in Spanish class; I'd just landed in my office and poured myself my first cup of tea. And then both of us got the news that Nu's school was on lockdown due to an active shooter. 

I've lived in fear of this since Sandy Hook, but there's no preparing for this kind of call from the school. Thankfully, it turned out to be a hoax. And everyone's okay.

But as I canceled my classes via email and sped to the church where families were supposed to pick up their kids, I kept thinking of this morning when we'd run a little late and Nu had to sprint to make the it on to the school bus... I kept wondering if I'd be wishing they hadn't made it on to the school bus. 

I guess there's always a low-key anticipation of this happening if you live in the U.S.. I remember not sending the kids back to school until well into the new year after Sandy Hook, although I didn't seem too bothered by a gun incident in a neighboring school district last month. The other time I had to pick up the kids due to a gun threat was when they were at ecocamp together.

This is a messed up way to live. I couldn't bear to be apart from Nu for the rest of the day after I picked them up... and I got absolutely no work done... Tomorrow, I'll make up for it tomorrow.

Pic: Students gathered in the football field from a news article.

Monday, February 06, 2023

un-Monday

It felt a bit like I was playing hooky today. 

After I dropped Big A off at the train station and my precious Bluey car off at the dealership for battery updates, L picked me up and we headed to Ted Black Woods for a hike. It was beautiful but super icy, so I was glad L had brought trekking poles for us to use... they saved me from wiping out so many times and made me feel like an all-weather champ. I'm wondering if I should put trekking poles on my otherwise empty birthday list...

I was back by 10:30 to hold meetings and work online for the day, so I got some stuff done. But I did spend nearly two hours stressing that the courtesy shuttle wouldn't pick me up in time for me to pick up Nu and then panicking when it didn't, so there was wasted time. The driver who finally picked me up in the nick of time was third-generation Lebanese and I enjoyed our talk about diasporas. (I asked him about the audio book he'd turned off when I got in--books are such a passport to conversation!)

Back home things fell into dinner, kid time, and class prep mode, but it still feels like an atypical Monday and a bit unsettling. It's not helping that I can't stop humming Young the Giant's "The Walk Home" with its lonely heartbreak and its messy homage to the wind telephone.

Pic: L's sneak pic of me using her poles at Ted Black Woods.

 

Sunday, February 05, 2023

tall portents

trees make me feel small 
and immense all at once
each connecting me to all
--the rich darkness of roots

under my breath I'll call
for a spring into existence
from extinction in leaf fall
--secretly yearning to be lost 

_______________________

Pic: Baker Woods with Big A.
 

Saturday, February 04, 2023

a time for ice hockey



Into the woven silence--shouts
--like applause in the quiet 
of song just ended 

O these joyful, prayerful wars 
--ice in the curve of a river
smiles up at the sky






Pic: The Red Cedar is frozen solid; when we rounded the corner, MSU students were playing ice hockey on it.

Friday, February 03, 2023

and so we abide

I've so crossed so many rivers this day
some over and over as night falls 
clouds scattering like children 
to a preferred rendezvous 

with you I mark the present of now 
rippling like the joy shining 
from syllables of a song 
just half recalled

and above all, the shock of welcome 
the glacial startle of kindnesses
that engulf what I've become
on this other side 
--------------------------------------------------------------
Pic: Red Cedar River/Beal St. Bridge

Thursday, February 02, 2023

"I could have danced all night"

I woke up feeling so light and unburdened because of Big A's job moving back to Michigan. And I've been dancing on air all day.

Big A started doing the budget and has been very gloom and doom, but nothing will bring me down. Financially speaking, we were not where we're expected to be before, and we won't be there now... or for a long time--but those precise details won't really impinge on our daily life and happiness. 

Pic: Scout and Huck super excited to see Nu off at the school bus stop. I feel like this too (about the move back to MI, not the school bus).

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

"a good-good day"

We've had such a grey start to the year, so when I saw the sun come up this morning, it already felt like the start of a good day...

Then... I acted on my impulse (and the lovely Nicole's encouragement) and auditioned for Sistrum, the Lansing Women's Chorus today. I'm in! (I think they take everyone who wants to sing 🙂.) 

And then... Big A signed the contract with a Michigan-based hospital! It'll take him until the next academic year (July) to transition out of Medical College of Wisconsin, but he'll be back at home full-time after that! Huge pay-cut and all, I'm so ready for this!

Pic: Sunrise through our only eastern window. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

blooms, fumes, and news

Yesterday when I was making an offering plate to take to the temple with At, I couldn't find a single bloom. The paperwhites and hyacinths that were so heady a couple of weeks ago were all past their prime. A new batch of paperwhites I'd started had grown very tall and then very floppy, but haven't produced any blooms. I ended up taking silk flowers and fruit to the temple... Today, my Christmas amaryllis (from LB and TB) is blooming in the tea garden! Long may it bloom.

I must remember to ask Nu if they want me to listen or problem solve when they start fuming. Nu has an ambitious essay project, whose working title is, "the undersupply of creativity in alternative music cultures under capitalism." It's a wonderful topic and I've listened to Nu share ideas about it for months now, but it may also be a bit too much for a fifteen-year-old who's struggling at school to accomplish on a timetable and according to a rubric. They're currently mad at their teacher, and I didn't help matters by intervening to say that actually, the structure and strategies their teacher proposed seem relevant and reasonable.

A long teaching day with bits of sparkly news: AH, a student from last term, stopped by to say they'd taken the Howard Zinn quote in my email signature to frame their senior dance presentation; KS, my independent thesis student, was named as a Fulbright finalist; students I nominated for the Barlow award have been shortlisted. (Those students have turned around and asked for me to write their reference letters, which I'm honored to do... But of course it does mean more to do.)

And--TA-DA--at the end of the day, I got to pick Big A up from the train station! Nu had already gone to bed, but Scout and Huck are thrilled he's back from Wisconsin (or "Piss-consin" as the puppies call it disrespectfully because they resent that he has to be there so much). 

Monday, January 30, 2023

Last (of) Christmas

We'd missed At two weekends in a row--the first because there was camping with college friends and then the rest of us went to Yellow Springs for Christmas #2. So it was really nice to have At visit twice this weekend.

There was dinner and chatting and watching the first episodes of The Last of Us, which both Nu and I remember watching At play as a game in a different mode of life. I remember how excited At was to show me how in that particular post-apocalypse vines took over the insides of buildings, thinking it would be an aesthetic I'd enjoy. How hard that child had tried to share something they enjoyed (video games) with me! I wish I'd spent longer slung out in those chairs in that childhood bedroom taking it in instead of rushing on to whatever else I'd thought was important. 

Today there was a temple visit, red envelopes from Lunar New Year, and grandparents' Christmas presents to pass on. Someday, no doubt, even this fleeting drop-in will seem a highlight of past life. 

Pic: Scout helping At open his presents from the Grandma S and Grandpa J.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

"Hello? Is it me you're looking for?"



Hello, dear deer... I'm sorry there isn't a lot of tasty stuff outside right now, but I noticed you were grazing on something, and you're welcome to whatever you found.

Friday, January 27, 2023

"Overseas Citizen"

I opened the envelope very carefully, sending up prayers, knowing I'd done my best with the documentation, trying not to carried away by the hard shape I could feel through the envelope...

And I now have my "Overseas Citizen of India" card! It looks like a passport, and it means I don't have to apply for a visa to visit India--the idea that I would need a visa felt so alienating to me and had been one of the reasons I didn't apply for U.S. citizenship until I'd lived here for 20+ years.

Pic: When I opened the envelope containing my OCI card at the altar. 

Thursday, January 26, 2023

winter #76519

winds search me head to toe
volant, a waterfall of sound
their coldness is everywhere 
but also--so patient with me 

I listen: they tell me everything
dumb once upon a winter time
so loudly, intending to alert all
my personal emergency systems
-------------------------------
Pic: The backyard from the upstairs landing. It almost looks like a black-and-white picture... except for the pillows that I always fail to bring in every year...

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

So Much Snow!

A neighboring school district had a snow day (they had a gun incident yesterday, so may have taken this as a reprieve) but Nu had school and so did I.

Lots of shoveling though. Big A was prepping for his grand rounds lecture tomorrow, so I did the honors (without the benefit of the snowblower as I've never learned how to work it). We have a really nice shovel that makes things easy, but I was nevertheless sweat-soaked by the time I finished. It was so satisfying to look up the driveway and see how neat my work was.

I'm currently reading two novels, and it's a bit weird. I'm almost done with the new Kingsolver, Demon Copperhead, (which is in itself a take on Dickens' David Copperfield) but I dipped into OM's The Dream Builders and couldn't put it down, so I'm about halfway through that too. I guess I was curious if there were any versions of me in OM's novel... Ever since I found what I thought was a reference to me in an Amit Chaudhuri, I've been curious/wary. I just reread that nearly 20-years-ago post and realize many Indian girls would probably fit that description.

Pic: Trellises with scoops of snow in the back garden.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

book talk

to move out of no and never
look up to the untold 

It feels as if we've already 
lived forever

made the eternal arguments 
a hundredfold 

friend, tether me with books
cover me with pages

mix me in the breathlessness
of these mistakes

turn me to light and lightness
learn me to be courageous 
---------------------------------------
Pic: Books for reading groups at work this term. The first discussion was today at the President's house. Usually, a book that describes students as "consumers" would make me ditch it, but I had to read it so I did. Small colleges like ours are likely to go the way of the afternoon newspaper (i.e. into oblivion) if we don't innovate. Fair. We'll need to do that, however, without losing our idealistic core--our conviction that education impacts and improves lives and that learning to learn is the best form of future-proofing for our kids. 

Monday, January 23, 2023

Gong Xi! Gong Xi!

EM's cute story when she dropped off treats this evening (we got home too late yesterday with the snow delay) was that she used to think that "Gong Xi! Gong Xi!" meant "money! money!"

Nu is flush with cash, just having received some Christmas money, but was already counting the red envelopes to come.

Grateful for yet another new year, and grateful for friends who treat my kids like family. 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Christmas #2

Happy for second Christmas. Happy to be back home.

I got some special things and books I hadn't known I should want--can't wait to start reading them. The kantha quilt and ceramic stovetop cookware we took the grandparents were very appreciated. 

Also, we sang so many Christmas carols and songs, it started to snow. 

So the roads were a bit anxiety-provoking on the way back. 

But it gave us lots of time to talk about important stuff like how both books published by my friends this year (Tale of the Dreamer's Son and The Dream Builders) have "dream" in them and what does that mean?!?! In other words, a lot of jabbering away. Or we were listening to the 90s station and trying to remember what we were doing that year. In 4th grade a very young Big A tried to get cute girls to notice him by offering to draw portraits of their Cabbage Patch dolls. Oh. My. Heart.

Pic: Our goth elf delivering presents.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

so long, farewell

Yellow Springs goodbyes are always hard, but a forlorn farewell committee baying and glaring morosely when we're just going to fetch takeout is a bit too much.

We're in YS for a long overdue Christmas with Grandma Sue and Grandpa John as they had Covid at regular Christmas time. 

Pic: Scout, Huck, and Izzy wondering if they'll ever see Big A and me again.
 

Friday, January 20, 2023

road trip talk

words walk away; walk me back
tangling and untangling the past
I look to the sky; birds don't care--
they sing wordlessly anyway 

you look for proof, for guarantees
I have only sympathy, agreement--
we're now the rain's own drum beat
a storm announced on this journey 

but we're in charge of where we go,
when we stop--our talk is like a trip--
is that insight? It feels like a lightbulb
in the sudden pop of the sun overhead 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

five pups tonight

I spent many hours on the sofa in post-pizza and post-teaching lassitude this evening, accompanied by Scout (at my hip) and Huck (by my feet) and Floof (on the bannister). The fourth pup is me ("Pup," "Puppy," and "Princess Puppy Dog" have been nicknames from different loved ones--one of whom has a birthday today). 

The fifth pup is in this poem by Charles Simic (Simic died recently and I've been thinking of this poem about how we don't deserve dogs--or war--a lot). 

On this Very Street in Belgrade

Your mother carried you

Out of the smoking ruins of a building

And set you down on this sidewalk

Like a doll bundled in burnt rags,

Where you now stood years later

Talking to a homeless dog,

Half-hidden behind a parked car,

His eyes brimming with hope

As he inched forward, ready for the worst.

 

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

double bubble

The reflection of the graffiti doubled how colorful that patch of the bridge looked as L and I came around the bend, and it reminded me of Laura Gilpin's poem "Two-headed Calf." 

L hadn't heard of this amazing poem, so I found it on my phone and read it to her with my voice breaking at the end.

Then we finished up our walk and I headed into a day of meetings meetings meetings meetings.

And some good news from this week: two poems  accepted to an anthology of pandemic-era writing, and also accepted--an academic book proposal that the editor who wrote back characterized as "gentle and kind."

how CAN the kids be alright?

Nu had just raised their hand to answer a question in Spanish class; I'd just landed in my office and poured myself my first cup of tea....