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

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

404

 


Full day: 10+ hours of teaching and grading and meetings and approx. 2 hours of commuting...

And it's now 3:18 am and I can't stop reading Anthony Doerr's Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Help.

(I liked his All the Light We Cannot See too although its very eurocentric depiction of WWII irked me. This one, OMG, is incredibly lush and includes wide swathes of humanity and historical times.)

Friday, October 01, 2021

Parkinsonian expansion

I guess Parkinson and his insight about work expansion remains valid. 

But in a more neutral way, now that I'm on campus so much, a lot of work gets done at work instead of after dinner. Time feels a bit less scramble-y because home/work demarcations feel more natural. Plus I get to see and be around more people, which is me at my happiest.

I still do work things after dinner, on the weekend, in the middle of the night, etc., but it's freeing to know that I spent 8/10 hours working already, so if it doesn't get done, it ought to be perfectly acceptable.

Being at work lets me get at all the stuff that gets shoved aside--like the graduation gift I'd gotten for a colleague in financial services and was finally able to hand deliver yesterday (months late...).

Pic: I thought I was taking a picture of flying geese as I walked across campus... but look, guys: No geese! Lovely blue sky, anyway. 

Thursday, September 09, 2021

sonnet on a commute

the road is a ribbon feeding on itself 
a dream snake

the car is an empty room but for me
the sun glares back 

sultry beyond windows and stealthy  
in the soupy day

I'm wondering if radios will play on 
at the end of the world

as I watch my future burning like fuel 
past lonely road kill

the road keeps coming, a stream of poison
being sucked out of me

my family knows my day from my absence
I pick up the distance and go 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

a loss

 



<<This snarky joke was made by a person I admired when they got Covid a week ago. This in itself was surprising as they were vaccinated, advocated for masks, and seemed so careful. 

I am in major shock from hearing that they succumbed to Covid yesterday. State lines seemed distance enough... not sure how to handle this eternal distance. 

RIP, amazing one

Monday, August 02, 2021

bits of the day


Out early today to Alma for a seminar/workshop and it was so good to see and be with people--many of whom I haven't seen or been with for a while.  A few people were wearing masks indoors and although we're nearly 100% vaccinated as a college community, I wore mine too out of respect. 

Work, work, work, and then I headed home with JG on the phone to keep me company on the commute home. 

Low: Heart heavy with the looming eviction of millions of families in the middle of a pandemic.

High: Hearing The Foo Fighters' cover of The Beegees' "You Should be Dancing" live from Lollapalooza on the radio. Apparently it's something they've been doing for a while? Anyway, it was the bit of disco silliness that helped me get through the day.

Pic: An early bird posing for me with their accessory worm (yesterday at the Horticultural Gardens).

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

long day's journey...

L and I were absolutely transfixed by how different Baker Woods looks in just a week. The last time we were there, we saw a mess of ramps and lots of wildflowers, but the trees hadn't greened yet. I was excited for L to see it because I'd hiked at Baker with BS this weekend and was storing this up as a surprise to savor all over again with L. 

Headed up to Alma afterwards for meetings and things with At. He DJ-ed a podcast he wanted me to listen to about the Cuban revolution and and hearing about Meyer Lansky aligned nicely with segments of The Godfather Part II, which I'm watching bit by bit with Big A. 

Back home, we made dinner (last week's leftover rice, +beans, +a bag of 'power blend' veggies in a stirfry, a big green salad, and a mango-blueberry-orange fruit salad), set the table, ate, talked over music, and cleared up in just under 90 minutes--At called it "efficient." Nu headed to bed early after a few rounds of cards and the puppies and I napped together for a bit until it was time to send Big A off to work.

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.