Showing posts with label Class. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Class. Show all posts

Friday, September 15, 2023

"Eventually everything happens"*

 on TV ads                                                       on TV shows
death is always a side effect                            death is always a side effect 
of every medication                                        in every condition of life
I might as well spin worlds like cocoons
shortcuts are the milestones
the void is the vision 

and I may have grown out of summer
I may have finally grown up
in a leap of breath

I say my name like it's a memory
eventually everything happens
eventually it is time
* I took the title from Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "eventually everything happens..." But I can't find the full quote right now. I'm not at my best and might be doing quite badly... I wonder if people can tell. Like I left the trunk of my car open in the parking lot until a colleague friend texted me, didn't hear back (I was in class), and just decided to shut it for me. I keep leaving my phone/bag/laptop in classrooms and people kindly bring them to me. I win, as I was telling SD, at "the spaciness" right now. 

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.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

at night when

I walk  past  our  house 
again and again... again
with  our  dogs, actually 
silent  blue  super moon 
close  enough  to  touch 

I feel a bit like... a ghost
on the outside I can feel  
only flowing and falling 
the swallowing of places 
like  I'm  not  even  here

our windows like pages 
in a picture book, maybe
a  passage  from  a novel 
this bloom in your voice 
as I finally open the door

Pic: Nu, Max, Big A, & Huck. These guys! Being so cute when I returned from a long day of teaching. 
High: seeing new and familiar faces in class. + Being able to remember the names of a hundred or so new students. 
Low: Saying goodbye to JD, a dear colleague-friend who's moving to U of M.

Monday, August 28, 2023

It's happening...

Fall and the fall semester are here whether I'm ready or not.

I'm ready.

I'm not.

I don't know! 

All my materials are ready, so I should feel ready too? Tomorrow will be here soon, anyway.

I've been excited and anxious about the first day of school since I was about five or six. It's probably the longest unbroken seasonal tradition I've got. That and sitting in the first row. The child advocacy organization we visited on Saturday posted a picture of our group on the socials... and there I am... sitting nerdily in the first row as always.

Pic: A lone maple leaf settles on our freshly redone street.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

out and about

A service day with my new first year seminar class; youth advocacy will be the focus of our semester-long project. We got started today by getting on a school bus for a tour of the public school district, which incorporates very different neighborhoods from regular homes to mansions to farms to trailers to condos to... anything you can think of.

I learned that some students ride the bus for two hours to get to school!

And I saw a handmade poster that asked "Are you an American or are you a Democrat?" I'll be musing on that one for a while. It was close to a cluster of houses displaying the confederate flag--make of that what you will, I guess.

Pic: Our school district superintendent and my FYS class on the school bus.

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.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

"back to life, back to reality"

At and Nu were lovely while Big A and I were gone: they took care of themselves and the puppy sibs, attended Pride events together, hosted DSA-related meetings here, and kept the house neat through it all. So while I did a complete vacuuming, cleaning, and restocking of the house today, I didn't have to navigate any big messes--just the little ones that no one but me notices.

But I kept vacation vibes going with two long hikes with Big A. Then we vented and backup planned about the delay in his Michigan job, I worked on the garden (deer ate our hostas and annual flowers again), and Big A worked on replacing the mailbox that someone ran into last week. 

Also: I joined a new committee at work (the invitation came from someone I want to work with), am thinking about volunteering for taking on an extra overload course at work next year (we've had a sad and surprise departure in the department), and reassured an editor that I'll have work to them by the end of next week according to our schedule (I hope it's not wishful thinking).

We got home yesterday, but today felt like we were really back!

Pic: Big A with Huckie and Max. Not a very good picture, but it makes me smile--all of it: Huckie's side eye, Max's proprietary paw, the fact that Big A is still wearing the two-dollar bead bracelet I got him...

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

bird by bird (or sheep by sheep)

Ok, it's past 3:00 am and I really should go to be in bed, but: 
  • Huck and Max are cuddling on my feet,
  • I've been working on the online course assignments that came with my service enlistment after a kind and encouraging reminder from the course facilitator, 
  • Big A is at work and texting me and I kind of really like chatting with him;
  • I need to check in on my sister who's fractured her hand and she is in a timezone that's 10 hours ahead, 
  • I have to finish writing this,
  • I want to read some more before I fall asleep. I'm currently reading the final installment of Hilary Mantel's Cromwell trilogy and love old Thomas more than any self-respecting socialist should.
  • etc. I have a lot more B.S. excuses for my sleep procrastination.

Next week, after I come back from vacation, I'm going to make sleep hygiene a priority. But one thing at a time. As the wonderful Anne Lamott says in another context, I should take it "bird by bird."

Pic: I was so delighted I got a warbling goldfinch in this shot! MSU Horticultural Gardens with L. 

Monday, June 05, 2023

not merely a reflection

Workshop on campus today... For whatever my usual BS reason(s), I got very little sleep last night. I was pretty groggy even after a strong black tea--just not enough caffeine, I guess. The adrenaline shot I got from thinking that there was a cop car behind me as I was merrily speeding along to work woke me up nicely though. Ha.

When I stopped by my office during a break, I realized it had hosted a small miracle, as my plants were mostly ok although they hadn't been watered since Friday, May 5th... before I left for the UK...  a whole month! My geraniums were even in bloom. They got a heartfelt thank you and a good soaking today.

Oh, I had to take a break in my office because I teared up a few times because of mentions of Scout, and I could feel a good cry coming. I'm glad people get it. Even the colleague who said "I don't mean to sound callous, but it is a dog" is trying, IMO.

Pic: Radiology Gardens with L last week. The orange shadows in the water are koi--not merely a reflection of the red maple in the back...

Monday, May 22, 2023

Home: In two pics

I brought my midwestern travelers home!
I love that there are some families and parents in this picture too...

Reunited with my babies! They took this selfie looming over me as I was falling asleep on the couch around 8:00 pm.


Saturday, May 20, 2023

Karl Marx, Gordon Ramsay, Farewell London

Last day in London today. I'd signed us up for a Karl Marx walking tour, but most people wanted to try to get on the London Eye, so off they went with my blessings. I took the bus to Piccadilly Sq. to meet the walking group and milled about on the fringes of a well-heeled, Boomer-ish looking group until I realized they were there for The Beatles walking tour. A few feet away a smaller, rag-tag group was beginning to gather and when I tentatively asked "Marx?" They responded "Yes!" and "Absolutely!" so enthusiastically I felt I was at a political rally.🙂

The guide has a doctorate in Marx studies, and although the sights themselves were merely the seedy front of buildings and smelly alleys, I learned A LOT. The best moment was towards the end of the tour when hearing about Eugene Pottier's travel through England, our multicultural group began to sing The Internationale in their native tongues.

So I had a super nerdy day by myself, then a farewell dinner with the group at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant recommended by a student, where we celebrated another student's birthday, and suddenly everyone seemed super sad to leave and "return to reality." I love these people. But also, I miss my babies, and am ready for my routines and grappling with the reality of a life without Scout. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

"All the world's a stage"

I'm in bed mode now, so just four more days before I head for home. I can make fake it. (Look at me with all my theater and acting references.)

I've been checking in with students and our chaperone, and basically everyone is simultaneously having a great time and also ready to go home. Good to know I'm not the only one.

Also, the last time I did this, At came along as a student and Nu came along as my companion, and I made breakfast for them in my flat every morning and we weren't apart for Mothers' Day. Guess it makes sense that this time would feel different and difficult.

Pic: A Comedy of Errors at the Globe Theatre. Not my favorite Shakespearean play, but I did enjoy it more than I thought I would because it was a different version from the one I saw in May 2019.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Hyde Park Time

In honor of being at Speakers' Corner, everyone recited a small piece from a famous Hyde Park speaker. It's always interesting what people choose--we heard a variety from Pankhurst to Orwell.

I remember specifically asking people to memorize their bit, and... some didn't. I need to sit with why I feel so irritated by this.

I don't feel well today. + I'm at that point in the trip where I'm seriously counting down how long before I get to go home. A week is the upper limit of time I can spend away before the experience begins to pall. 

Pic: Our picnic at Hyde Park. 

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Kensington Pavilion: A toast to tea

In preparation for reading the Edwardians, we sat down to a proper afternoon tea party in the Kensington Palace pavilion today. And like proper people of leisure we lingered there for nearly two hours.

It's Mothers' Day in the U.S., so lots of sweet pictures of friends with kids and moms on my feed. It made me miss At, Nu, and Huck pretty fierce. 

No reading today as it's a Sunday, but I did share this article that blows my mind every time“Tea if by Sea; Chai if by Land.”

Pic: All dressed up with pinkies out, cos we're fancy like that.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Oxford: building a longer table

I absolutely love when I can bring my old life and my current life together. 

Today we went to Oxford and my students got to meet my old profs. Lectures, Q&A, a long pub lunch at a suitably long table... my heart is full. 

A couple of students said they'd like to do graduate school at Oxford/in the U.K. I love being able to help--even a little bit--to nudge open the door from our small bubbles into the world.

What we read: papers by Robert and Will because we were meeting them. And also--thanks NGS--extracts from R.F. Kuang's Babel because it's set in Oxford and is about translation and colonialism.

Pic: Profs and students at The Royal Oak. A colleague brought their adorable 13-year-old doggie to lunch... and I had to quickly blink away tears because I started imagining Scout making it to 13.  I miss everyone at home right now, and I think some part of me thinks he'll be there when I reunite with the rest of the family in ten days.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Bloomsbury: reception

The class got a special tour through Bloomsbury with performances from Mike and Cindy. 

A person who yawned in class when I lectured on T. S. Eliot and E. M. Forster and Virginia Woolf and Rabindranath Tagore is all smiles here. My feelings aren't hurt or anything. 😉

Pic: Mike and Cindy enacting Hilda Doolittle(H.D.)'s dance of adultery.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

The British Museum: just saying no (to cultural theft)

Everyone in class is tickled by the fact that the British Museum is older than the United States. And everyone in class is outraged about much it owns and how it "loans" (ha!) stuff back to countries and communities of origin. 

We prepped for our visit by reading lots of poems linked to artifacts at the museum. Some of what we read:
W.B. Yeats “The Second Coming” 
Thomas Hardy “In the British Museum” 
Daljit Nagra "Hadrian's Wall" 
George the Poet “The Benin Bronze” 
John Keats “On Seeing the Elgin Marbles” 
Percy Bysshe Shelley “Ozymandias”
Seamus Heaney “Punishment”

Then we waded through museum studies videos and articles to work our way around themes of cultural appreciation, appropriation, colonial theft, etc. At our visit, I polled the group to see if they thought we ought to--as the museum suggests--make a donation. They went with "Hell no!" 

Pic: Under the beautiful dome of the British Museum today.

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

London: fuzzy glimmers

I, along with tons of people on the internet, learned about "glimmers," which are "the opposite of triggers" on CupOfJo (and elsewhere) this weekend. I cannot say how much I love this concept.

A bit jet-lagged and tired today, but here are a couple of glimmers.

* Made a quick trip to the local Sainsbury's and I found my favorite mango-passionfruit yogurt. Why do they not have this in the US? It's the most sublime flavor IMO and the first spoonful just took me back to uni days.  

* Someone texted me that they got a 4.0 on a test and I haven't figured out who it is--whether friend or student or advisee or kid of a friend, etc... but I'm so happy for them!

Pic: A fuzzy picture of the view from my room (we're right in the heart of Bloomsbury).

Sunday, May 07, 2023

balance sheet

Things I've done: Stocked the fridge, used up all the fridge veggies, watered all my plants, finished class prep for the next week, talked with/texted everyone, cleared brush, distributed the morels we found yesterday, read a ton, cried about Scout, spent extra time with Nu and Huck, fought with Big A, made up with Big A, took long soaks and longer walks...

Things I've not done: actually packed for the two-week trip to the UK my students and I are leaving on tomorrow. Yikes.

Pic: Walk with L in Baker Woods. Trillium in the foreground! L and I found this patch right as we were wondering if we would see some. It was like we had magically summoned them. Trillium! 

an unfolding

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