Showing posts with label Commute. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Commute. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

onwards

Not justice and not even accountability--but a gruff reminder from the universe that progress is possible when we participate in all the ways we can witnessing, filming, challenging, protesting, sacrificing, mourning, writing, reliving, watching, feeling, waiting.... 

I was on my way home, but had to pull over to the side of the road when the verdict was read out. 

Later, driving past Ithaca, I watched a police car speeding down a side road parallel to the highway until it disappeared. 

Felt surreal.

[Mural: Aziz Asmar in Idlib, Syria]

Friday, April 16, 2021

a nothing burger

 


A big day and I'm drained--I have nothing left in me to share. 

But this picture on family chat made me chuckle. 

These three had headed out to bring back some Impossible Burgers (there was an ad on tv), but the Burger King on Grand River Ave was just not there. How did we not notice? 

Apparently, it has been gone since August?

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

simmer

I'm stopped at the traffic light at on my way home and it turns into a wait for the slowest train in the world to pass.

There's a rap on the window and At's face beaming down at me. I unlock the doors, he pops in, I hug him so hard. He takes off his mask; I tell him to keep it on; he's all "but we're vaccinated;" and I'm all "you haven't had the second shot yet." Then he's referencing something about Bill Gates and vaccines--maybe this? 

I begin laughing because it's so random--and as I told him, in a couple of days I'm going to think I dreamt this whole sequence of things.

And I'm laughing because I'm so relieved to see and hold him on yet another day when to be the mother of a brown-skinned man is a day for a slow simmering fear.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Mid-March Madness


One of those days where things seem wonderful one moment: electric class discussions; a chance encounter with a colleague where you both come up with so many new ideas; a guest lecture that is both enlightening and offers students self-care; a lovely thank-you note... And then in the next moment things are so awful and shaky that you can be driving up 127N, see the usual signs on Bigotry Farm, and instead of making you chuckle ruefully, it makes you start crying; or you're discussing Junot Diaz and choke up from thinking about all the 'allies' who are also oppressors.

I know the pandemic still has us in thrall, but having to deal with all the things that were right and wrong in the world on top of it seems a bit much.

Had to block off a two-hour slot tomorrow to draft a statement about the Atlanta shootings with the usual crew since no one else here has said or done anything... thus far.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Ordinal

The view from my "classroom" (previously the yoga/zumba room) in the rec center. There's something mesmerizing about that speckled sky and the in-between-classes emptiness of the walkways. 

I sat in a pool of sunshine during group discussions as I didn't know if the sunshine would last until I was out of class. (Reader, it did not.)

But... I'm all caught up in class, fit in about seven different student meetings (everything from honor societies, to MacCurdy, DEI, and Honors Day), got in a quick visit and hugs with At, drove home listening to the impeachment case, ate the egg sammies Big A made for me (the rest got Culvers per Nu's Boss Day request), celebrated Nu, hung out with Scout and Huck, ate a ton of chocolate... all of it satisfying different points of my soul. 

A full day of meetings tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

50/50

 


Yesterday's Vijaya Dashami offering was an almond and apricot honey cake. (All gone!)

Dussehra is one of the many opportunities to renew and reset in the Hindu annual calendar. And I spent yesterday hopeful for all kinds of pandemic and election magic.

Today I quietly panicked in the car on my way home from teaching and made a list of things we'll need to stock up on. (Not because I anticipate shortages, but I DO NOT WANT to be out there.)

Thursday, October 15, 2020

These shoes weren't meant for walking

My shoes; At's socks
But as I put my lunchbox, and my briefcase, and my purse into the passenger side of the car and as I was beginning to take off my jacket before walking around to the driver's side to get in and finally get home, the car door shut on me and beeped like Knight Rider. My purse with the key was right there on the passenger seat, so I didn't think I could be locked out. But... Oh, I was. I tried the trunk, thinking I could crawl in, but it wouldn't open either. I couldn't go back to my office (my keys were in the car); I couldn't call AAA or Big A (my phone was in the car); It was nearly 8 and I was hungry and tired and couldn't get a snack (my wallet was in the car). 

So I walked over to At's (I'd just been thinking I hadn't seen him since Nu's birthday... and writing that I realize it's been less than a week, but it has been a long week!). He tried the door too, but nothing. So we made the call, and Big A got on the road to bring me the spare key, Nu in tow since it was dark and I didn't want Nu to be home by themselves. (Big A initially demurred about having to drive all the way, and I was instantly mad thinking about all the times I drove into NYC with little At and Baby Nu to get him after a late shift at Bellevue. But he quickly did the right thing, and no one got yelled at. Ha.)

So an hour till reinforcements arrived, and my sweet At offered to feed and water me and sit with me on the MUN House porch (outsiders aren't allowed into student housing to minimize Covid exposure) to keep me company. But I was too keyed up, so I asked if we could walk around, and borrowed some socks from At, and we did. I kept telling him he should go back to work on the delayed deadlines and midterm extensions, but we kept walking and talking, and then Nu and Big A were there, and there was a teensy family reunion in the Heritage Parking Lot. 

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

King, Chavez, Parks... and Penrose

When I heard Sir Roger Penrose won the Physics Nobel today, the first thing that came to mind was that At had had some playdates with RP's son Maxwell (named for the mathematician) back in Oxford. Was it 2001? 2002? We knew Penrose on the fringes of JSA's work with him so I googled "Penrose and JSA," and sure enough--tons of collabs. Gosh--that feels like such a lifetime ago.

Today, I received logo-ed masks from the KCP program (King-Chavez-Parks, baby!) and will wear them everywhere with pride.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

On my way home


A long teaching day, classroom observations, many small fires, a handful of delayed deadlines, tired to the bone (two hours of sleep!), and hungry...

But I got to see At for a bit--both of us masked--and give him a 'backhug' and a (new to him) Du Bois for his Boss Day (tomorrow); a small but affectionate pre-class chat with my mom; knowing I will see NuScoutHuck in minutes...

Then a leg of this rainbow (such an intense VIOLET!) and a go-go-go green light--and there's a definite feeling of "yes" in the air.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

A Day

 

Another day, another week of classes done, another Covid test in one of these tents with a very gentle health tech who thinks small colleges are doing better than the bigger ones around us. 

Another set of dinners delivered to new parents, two new babies met from a great distance, a chat in the sunshine with JG (it had gotten chilly and my coat was in the car, so she stood me in a spotlight of sunshine to warm me up), and a very hungry drive home. 

Got home, collected my household around me for hugs and leftovers for dinner.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Homing

The start of Week Four of the semester, and here I am getting home (while it's still light out even!) like some freakin' pandemic champion. School and class feel more manageable. I got corrected on ableist language by a student while lecturing, and responded without (too much) defensiveness, and consequently feel like a good person.

Back in the before times while we were hosting 4Fs (Fun Friday Film Fests) BS used to say that turning into our driveway made her feel like she was in a Studio Ghibli movie. I see bunnies, butterflies, deer, turkeys, geese, groundhogs, and chipmunks all the time, so--same girl, same!

Also, the kids find it hilarious that in some low-key way, I'm always expecting a pony to pop its head over the slatted side gate to say hello when I get home. (I've never had a pony in my life.)

Friday, September 11, 2020

A Lot

There's been a lot of this all week--gray, grainy, grimy weather and consequently there's been a lot of basic, blah moodiness. 

I'm pretty proud of how we've managed to come through three weeks of in-person classes with no spikes in our Covid numbers; of my students who are journaling like champions; my Nu who seems quite businesslike in handling their own online learning... 

And yet, everything is simultaneously sad and difficult--and feels like a lot to handle. 

In today's virtual faculty meeting, my colleagues were mostly on mute and off camera (by request), and it just emphasized how I never see them in the hallways anymore. And then at the end... the retirement resolution for JG--who'd shown up to my job talk, befriended me the summer I moved to MI, has been mentor and sister and friend...  and it was too, too much. I went looking for someone to give me a hug and got some from Nu, Big, A and (of course!) Scout  + Huck. "Surrogate hugs" as I explained to JG--the renowned hugger--in a call later in the evening through a third or fourth round of tears.

I'm trying to remember that when I took this picture at the end of some long day this past week, I thought I could see glimmers and shafts of light--what Pix and I and other Sacred Heart School kids used to call "heavenly blessings" when we used to try standing in these sunlit spotlights before exams. I can barely see them in this picture, yet I know they were there. 

Saturday, September 05, 2020

Beginning

 

Today's quiet beginning--the Red Cedar River, someone's rock cairns, a blue heron waiting by the rapids, the solid comfort of L's footfall, patience, and advice by my side...

The rest of the day was gloriously kid-centered--only fair as I hadn't seen At all week, and actually--hadn't seen much of Nu all week between breakfast and dinner. The 21-year-old and the 12-year-old have been busy in the first weeks of school... as have I.  I did a ton of stuff before 10 am, including conferencing with a colleague about a new course. Then Nu and I drove up to Alma, bringing At's (delayed) Boss Day presents and treats with us. We met At at the MUN House and took a walk away from campus, each of us taking turns to call out which way we should head next. Then back-hugs and presents, and declarations of love. And love.

Nu and I headed to the new bookstore helmed by D whom we loved as our pastor when we used to go to Mt. Pleasant UU. And we visited, and congratulated, and browsed, and bought a pile of books. Then on to the antique store next door where I found a few bird-themed tchotchkes and Nu found old teddy bears (Big A's grandmother Louise--whom Nu never met--used to run a teddy bear hospital, so I find Nu's attention to teddies especially endearing). Then a conversation at the store with D and J  about their child K--an old student--and all three of us fittingly so happy and proud of her grad degree and the important work she's doing. One more stop to drop off a present for Nu's friend K and then finally back to Lansing. 

But wait! There's more! Nu actually has another outdoor playdate later in the evening--watching the new Mulan outdoors at a friend's place, and I drop them off. For the first time in months, Nu is not at home when I am. Next stop, I zoom to a virtual retirement party for J and M, and after an hour and half of stories and memories, I get choked up saying goodbye, although there's no way J and I won't be friends for a few more decades at least. 

And then after the nonstop social rush of the day, the absolute loneliness of the evening hits me. At is at college, Nu at M's, Big A napping before his night shift, Scout and Huck napping alongside him and not even caring about dinner time...  

Then the puppies wake up, and I feed them. And Big and I settle in with leftovers (the remains of the coconut soup and pao he'd made for my Boss Day yesterday!) to watch the first ep of Raised by Wolves--which is terrifying. I keep exclaiming about my heart thumping so hard--until Big A reaches for my wrist, counts my pulse, and tells me I'm fine. I'm so not. Doctors are so literal. Haha. 

Now to stay awake until it's time to pick up my Nu...

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Today's (s)log

Yesterday's picture, and a tiny today update. 

Met all my classes; my students seem lovely! My international students patched in via video, and that went ok too. I am grieving the loss of classroom intimacy--video, masks, distancing, and having to sit in rows instead of a circle are all messy. But I get it--and I think we'll get through it. 

Got to meet At before afternoon classes to pass on some freezer staples, I and was chuffed to see he had two masks and long sleeves on. Yay! I walked him back to his house and got a "back hug" as he turned to get the stairs. Seeing At made me so happy.

My last class ended late and then I headed to a socially distant picnic at the president's house for our new MFA director. Both of them have worked really hard on the program even through the strangeness of the summer, and I was happy to celebrate with them. But the sun had set by the time I drove home--another reminder this summer is ending. Luckily, I had a long conversation with JG to keep me company in the car. 

Back home, I discovered that L had dropped off some of Nu's favorite brownies and a ton of snacks as a back-to-school treat for Nu (they start tomorrow). My Nu was already in bed, but I was told they lovvvvvvvved me when I snuck in for a goodnight kiss. And then Big A woke up, and we had a teensy dessert-date chit-chat (me with Nu's brownies, Big A with the leftovers of the Culver's from his and Nu's dinner) before he headed off to work. I'll be sleeping with Scout and Huck tonight.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Alright; Back to school

Lots of chronologically fixed and geographically immovable chores today--as in I had to show up at precise times to specific places and do stuff (pick up Nu's school supplies, check out my classroom tech, get COVID-tested, and lots of etc.). I felt so much anxiety driving to work (and every Trump sign spiked it/spooked me). 

Anyway, I had lots of new cuttings and plants with me since it had been months since I was last in my office, and I assumed my office plants wouldn't have made it. But they had all taken advantage of my overwatering the last time, and  although they looked so sad, they had survived. Yay! I supplemented some of the emptier looking planters, and then I had plenty left to make a nice welcome gift for a new colleague.

I picked up the college-issued safety kit from my mailbox and it had some very useful supplies (Alma plaid mask, thermometer for our mandatory daily health reporting, etc.) though obviously, the hand sani and anti-bac wipes aren't going to last very long. 

The COVID testing was weird, uncomfortable, overly intimate, and ugh. Earlier today, L had said that if she had to get tested every day as the White House staff supposedly does, she'd turn in her resignation. I chortled at that--"Yeah, L;" I teased: "THAT would be the reason YOU wouldn't work with this administration."

Friday, July 17, 2020

Beautiful Ordinary 1, 2, 3



1. Compared to yesterday,  today's headcount was easier 😊.*

2. Pandemic realization #87654: I've always loved our big, communal family study, but it's a challenge when the foreseeable future holds a lot of overlapping meeting schedules.

3. I was SO proud of bestie KB at our final meeting today as she worked, spoke up, and fought for everyone's wellbeing. We voted on an important resolution that will hopefully make it a bit easier for people to work online without jumping through HR-related hoops.

* A note on how much I love these four and how much I love to see them hanging out together and how blessed I am that At (21) and Nu (12) will find things and shows and games to share across the generational and gender gaps. 

But as a reminder of the real here--the togetherness of this week is brought to you by Big A confiscating the kids' phones into next Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Two Months +

I was hit with an intense wave of nostalgia for things the way they used to be a few months ago when I stopped by college to water my plants and pick up some books.

Plants are doing fine;
i need to tidy some shelves.
I didn't see ANYONE--it made me yearn for colleagues or students and prompted me to wonder if the somewhat outdated model of faculty offices would be another casualty of the pandemic.

Will all the years of shared office space through grad school and adjuncting, yearning for an office of my own, and then finally earning an office with a tiny window have been for nothing?

At read me his thesis on John Brown as we drove north, and we were both surprised how quickly we seemed to get to the Maple River.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Love in the time of Corona

I couldn't completely give up on family dinners, so this is how it is now with Big A on one side and the rest of us clustered on the other side.

It was a strange day that felt like the beginning of a war. The email cancelling in-person classes after today had come in at midnight, so I knew driving in that it was the last day. Then I got stuck in a convoy of military trucks on the highway, and it felt like being in the middle of a post-apocalyptic movie. I hammered out an asynchronous schedule for next week; had Big A order At to come home asap; attended a service at the chapel for graduating seniors who are absolutely crushed that commencement is "postponed," and teared up a few times myself; met with my Friday class and let them vent about having to go home/their dashed hopes for choir-band-track/fears about the virus itself; followed the senior playing bagpipes around campus for a while; heard singers practicing "Loch Lomond" on the steps of the library; and then made my way home. I have the feeling all the sweet details of campus life are going to come back to haunt me as this disruption intensifies.



Thursday, March 12, 2020

M-m-m-my Corona

Increasingly panicky and fiddly at work with mounting Corona virus news and news of school closures all around us (MSU, CMU, U of M). In fact, I fiddled so much with my birthday necklace (Nakamol!) that I tied it into knots and spent what seemed like hours trying to unkink it again. By the time I got to class, I was a mess. Luckily, pivoting to student research topics helped me focus.

As I wrote to H.R., what is my script if Big A is exposed (only a matter of time since he has E.R. shifts multiple times a week)? It terrifies me to think of him and all of us in danger. In case he is exposed, we've staked out a way he can self-isolate at home using the front staircase, guest room, and bath + entering/exiting through the front door rather than the rumpus room.


Saturday, February 29, 2020

Intergenerational Birthday Road Trip

In Detroit for the women's suffrage centennial art exhibit and lunch from many stalls inside Eastern Market. Lots of talks about the democratic candidates as animals (Warren is a dolphin), advice for the next decade in our lives, our best lessons in this one, and famous people born on my birthday (Vivaldi!).

Back home for pizza, and then off to the Wharton Center for My Fair Lady. The kids kept snoozing off, and after the show ended, we walked around in circles trying to find where we'd parked--thankfully, At spotted Bluey after about 20 minutes, just before Nu fell asleep on me again.