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

Sunday, May 08, 2022

on Mother's Day (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Woke up to a bonus kid (Nu had had a sleepover). Over breakfast, we put together a vase of flowers for the sleepover kid to take home to their mom from all the flowers people had brought to the party yesterday. Spent the rest of the morning at UU. It was nice to see the small bidding war over my UU auction item ("An Evening in India"), then some fun at the food truck, and back home to read in the sun. 

Over lunch, Big A and I watched the final episode of Mrs. America and the epilogue summarizing the slow death of the ERA made me sob. This is my THIRD time watching the mini series (I previously watched it with Nu and At separately), but this week felt "too soon" after the SCOTUS Roe opinion leak.

At came by after his shift, and he looked so tired, I didn't have the heart to ask the kids to help with the garden plots like they usually do. Instead, we took a small walk before settling in to dinner where all of us just lingered at the table forever talking and admiring their card and present. The kids usually pick me dandelions for Mother's Day (as a cutesy reminder of how they used to pick them for me when they were toddlers), but we have none in our yard. We don't use pesticides, so I suppose they're delayed this year... like so many things... like most of us. 

Pic: Me and the kids outside; Huckie is airborne in excitement.

Saturday, May 07, 2022

"celebrate good times, come on"

 

I felt like I did get something done today--CF's retirement party. I love when you can prep for two hours and have four+ hours of fun--that ratio seems very fair. 

Looking forward to having all the kids around for Mother's Day tomorrow!

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!


Thursday, May 05, 2022

moment of zen


Both our cherry trees are blossoming and I wanted to get a picture with the fam under them--like I usually do.

As it turns out, Big A is the only one dutifully posing for me this year.

If he's smiling somewhat smugly in this picture, it's probably because he's thinking of what he said to me this afternoon. He asked me where I'd been and then answered his own question. "Most people," (he said) "would assume you'd had some torrid affair because your hair's all messy and you look glassy-eyed and blissed out, but I'm going to guess you got a massage." 

He was right.



 

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. 

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

a Birthday Baby



So happy to celebrate At's 23rd! He'd celebrated yesterday with friends, and today was our turn.

I woke up a 4 am, landed in MI around noon, napped in the car after Big A picked me up, cooked till 4 pm (biriyani and sides)  while Big A made the cupcakes (red velvet) and Nu made a birthday card (My Little Pony) and wrapped presents, and then... At was here!

No big presents this year, but we got him some pre-revolution short story collections (Chekov, Gorky, Gogol, and Tolstoy) and a small bookshelf Big A and I found for his growing library. 

Scout and Huck were delirious with happiness (and so were we).

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).

Friday, April 29, 2022

maybe like the earth



ask me what makes a good day
as the heart hammers away
nailing today's sum of green

applauding how the light falls
all the way to the ground
exploding into green joy 

I know I too am someone
a body not just an accident 
 pronouns greening like weeds

everywhere like my prepositions
across and between and within
--little words louder than we think
------------------------------------------------------


Pic: Scout posing (as awkwardly as one of the human kids) by the cherry blossom trees.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

the day of "no"

I'm ordering these "Saying No To Things Punch Cards" for friends. The idea is that you reward yourself for saying no to things by treating yourself to an ice cream after ten "noes." There's a version with cocktail reward as well, and they're available here

Anyway, I would have earned that icecream/cocktail today. I evaluated everything against back pain and let most things go. A missing submission could wait, family could make their own dinner, someone else should give Scout his meds, Big A thinks we should go for a walk? I think not. My planner looks bereft. I researched elaborate menus for upcoming parties, read for hours, soaked forever, spent time with the fam, and fed myself what I wanted.*

*What I wanted ranged across continents and was delicious: an English muffin with hummus, jalapenos + sliced avocado, sprinkled liberally with furikake. 


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

back in pain

My back pain has gotten progressively worse since the start of the week... I can't ignore it anymore and I don't have to wonder if I'm imagining the twinges.

In the midst of the slowdown and the disruption, a few insights: 

My general humor is greatly impacted by pain. I have so much less patience and do so much less for people. I wonder who I would be if I had had a history of chronic physical pain.

I'm more likely to take medication for the pain if I remind myself that it'll help reduce the inflammation--apparently, I don't think I deserve to take it just for the pain alone.

Nu and Big A are really good at waiting on me hand and foot and I should ask them more often.

I should try to get my treadmill desk up again so I can move as I work tomorrow--sitting and getting up from sitting are the worst.

Pic: Daffodil Hill (we think at its peak) with L this morning.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

"thank you for being a friend"

I started this random Tuesday with the present JL left on the porch for me, a poem JG sent via email, talked with the women's community circle after lunch, and ended it with DV who came over to drink tea and talk after Nu headed off to bed after dinner... I'm feeling really blessed in women friends, right now.

Apropos of all this, I love the title of the book JL gave me--Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship. It seems to be a sociologist's happy validation of female friendships from besties and cliques to squads and posses. 

For a while now, I've expected my elderly years to be lived in the communal company of women. Whether that's from watching too much Golden Girls (or more recently Grace and Frankie), growing up in all-girls "convent" schools, or radical feminist envisioning, I don't know... yet.

Monday, April 25, 2022

bedtime story

I mean at some point we're going to have to talk about why I'm awake at 2:22 AM, goofing off like a goof... when I know I have an alarm set for 5:30 AM so I can do my green tea and meditation time before the high-schooler wakes up at 6:00 AM for their morning cuddle and breakfast.  

And this is not at all unusual--I've been averaging between 3-6 hours of sleep for years now... and put like that, I'm worried there's going to be some spectacular comeuppance for this. 

In some ways I'm a perfect candidate for fractured sleep because I have family from other continents and time zones--so no matter what the time, I have people on hand to have heart-to-hearts and to text links to hilarious songs like Rowdy Baby (no babies were harmed in the making of this video). 

But also Big A works nights, so we're usually texting and chatting about stuff and keeping in touch and being silly as well. And if he's home, his sleep schedule is messed up by working nights, so I'm hanging out with him then too. And tonight At seems to be up and feeling chatty and is sending me Langston Hughes poems about Lenin and I sent him that clip of Paul Robeson singing to Scottish miners (cross cultural solidarity is my favorite and my boy knows me). 

Anyway, this will all work itself out, or won't. If I'm going to be up all night anyway, I feel like there ought to be a cuddly baby to keep me company at least 😁. 

Pic: The Red Cedar was flooding its banks on our walk yesterday.

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.

 

Friday, April 22, 2022

there's no sadness in spring

this is how it is some times
the edges so sharp they cut 
through inertia and errands
the days passing like hours

how green aches into limbs 
darkness detailing the edges 
tight with herds of budding 
water cold, crunchy as glass 

I'm the only one here alone 
and I think I spy on myself: 
What will I do next? What
if I make a sudden move?

Pic: Red Cedar River seen from MSU's campus.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

a reminder that "doing the most" is not an accolade

April showers, check; April flowers, check.

I'm excited my favorite part of the year (the warm part) is almost here. I'm not even sad/mad that my sabbatical is now officially over (as this is finals week). I think I've garnered a few professional responsibilities and established some working/writing habits I can continue over the summer. 

In the meantime (just) today: I helped lead a WIAB meeting, joined an AC shared governance team, drafted a SLSA proposal with EM, and wrote up a panel and roundtable for the SA caucus.

OFC. 

SMH.

Pic: Daffodil Hill near the Radiology Gardens

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

mantras of discernment

When I told JG that At was taking a gap year, she told me it was a good thing--"a time of discernment" is how she phrased it. And it helped me so much--I would it mutter this mantra to myself when other people like Big A or my mom were frustrated by At's plans. 

A few weeks ago a friend's kid said something disrespectful about At's job. We don't disparage people based on their jobs in our family, so I was really taken aback. And then I was really sad about it for a while--At is a kind, funny, and brilliant person and the comment made me see that none of that would matter to some people. When I shared this with Nu, Nu gave me the best mantra of all: "That's not on him! That's on them!"

"That's on them!" is the perfect riposte to so many things now. I'm sure that At's decision to postpone grad school is scary for me because of my immigrant trust in education--where would I be without my degrees? But as my Nu taught me, that's on me

I had a long car ride with At as we were out on an errand yesterday, and I have so much clarity about what he's doing and I think he's absolutely making the decisions that work for him right now.

Pic: Early morning hike with L at Baker Woods.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Monday dun-day

Yes, it's still pretty dun and uninteresting out, and it even snowed all day today although it didn't stick... but the hellebores (lenten roses) are coming up in a nice reminder that even in Michigan, spring is here. 

Theres a lot of birdsong so it sounds like spring and it even smells like spring.

Wow, I sound like I'm trying to convince myself. 🙃  

Also that's Huck in the picture, Scout stayed by my side. I hope we get to do this again this spring.

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.

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 ...